Every parent knows their children are taught about health and wellness in school. However, education tends to stop at the fundamentals and never delves into the vital link between the mind and the body.
The science and understanding of how diet can affect mood and vice versa is relatively new to the mainstream. With each new study and report, the connection becomes more evident. From toddler to teen, teaching your children can help them achieve and better comprehend their emotional and physical health, including immune system strength.
By learning how to teach your children about the mind-body connection, you can ensure they are taking away the lessons they are supposed to. However, before anyone can teach the theory, they must understand it.
What Is the Mind-Body Connection?
The mind-body connection describes the inextricable link between the psychological and physiological. Your emotions can influence how your body feels, and functions, and how your body feels can affect your emotions.
In context, heightened stress levels from anxiety can result in tense muscles, headaches, stomachaches, indigestion, gastric distress, and other physical symptoms. Similarly, if you are unwell or recovering from an injury, the pain and physical stress on the body might result in emotional anxiety, even depression.
The connection is not only true with stress and pain; happiness and excitement can result in similar connections. In a positive psychological state, your body might feel lighter, energized, and more coordinated. Similarly, when your body feels good, your mind might experience contentment or less stress.
Explaining the Role of Mind-Body Connection in Humans
A series of interconnected and complex neural pathways connect the brain to the body. These pathways allow for the transportation of signals and chemicals that can affect physical health in positive and negative ways.
The chemicals gamma-globin and endorphins play significant roles in the body's overall feeling. Gamma-globin boosts the immune system helping to stave off illness and infection. Endorphins promote relaxation and pleasure while dulling discomfort or pain.
Many studies have demonstrated that long-term stress, fear, worry, or anxiety can lead to an unhealthy and recurring fight or flight response in the body. During such reactions, the brain floods the body with hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol. The heightened state of alertness can lead to adverse physical side effects.
However, the opposite is also true. Researchers have found that a positive outlook can have positive health benefits, including:
- Faster healing and recovery from illness
- Healthier blood sugar levels
- Better heart health
- Better sleep
- Healthier body weight
- Longer life
Teaching Mind-Body Connection With Yoga & Breathwork
Yoga is an excellent way to teach children about the mind-body connection. Yoga is all about breath control and balancing the mind and the body. Children can often understand the mind-body connection when they experience an activity that requires both working in tandem.
Using yoga to help children cope with emotionally taxing situations or worries will show them how calming the mind can calm the body and vice versa. Demonstrating the effects of breathing to manage anxiety or exercise to clear the mind shows children how to cope with their emotions healthily, reducing the risks of mental health issues later in life.
Mind-Body Connection Activities
While yoga is an excellent mind-body practice, kids can get similar benefits from mindfulness, hanging out with peers, and eating well. A significant contributor to mind-body balance is diet. While it can be challenging to ensure your children get all the nutrients they need from a balanced diet, it is possible to reduce some pressure by ensuring your kids take appropriate supplements, like those found at Wellements.
The mind-body connection is real, and children must understand. Teaching your kids through word and practice is the best way to ensure lifelong health and wellness.