Your issues are in your tissues. This is a scientific fact. Whether you struggle with trauma, anxiety, depression, an eating disorder or some other mental health challenge, being fully alive means being connected with all of who you are…body, heart and mind.
By using only your thinking mind to work through challenges, you can’t fully heal or grow. Exercising only your thinking abilities to heal is like removing only the external part of a splinter, where the embedded part still remains stuck inside you and although it’s barely visible to the eye – it hurts!
Take a moment to imagine that the hidden part of the aforementioned splinter spreads to other parts of you…like a germ might. The slivers of the splinter embed themselves throughout your body. These painful shards also insert themselves into to the way you think, the way you move, the way you relate to people, and the way you respond to life circumstances. Then imagine that you try to heal all of this deeply embedded body and emotional pain by merely talking about it or thinking about it.
Mental health works similarly to the hidden part of the splinter. It’s often hidden from the naked eye, but wow can it hurt! And the longer you ignore, deny or avoid the pain, the worse it gets. The further it expands. The deeper it pierces you. What spreads, embeds and what embeds, spreads.
Or maybe you don’t ignore it, because you can’t. It’s that painful. Instead, you try to address the pain from the use of your mind. You decide to try thinking more positively, reading self-help books, or going to traditional talk therapy, which all help a little bit, but rarely get to the root of issue. Why don’t these work fully?
Because your issues are embedded in your tissues. Sound familiar? That’s because I said it above. I’m saying it again, because it’s easy to forget when you grow up as a Westerner where our standard prescription rarely (if ever) includes an integrated whole-body approach to mental health.
Your body is a huge part of you, thus it has to be part of the healing equation.
In the West, we have spent centuries relying on the “thinking mind” as our sole guide toward gaining clarity, making choices and attempting to heal our woes. Your mind is amazing. It’s a valuable resource – no doubt about it! However, increasingly, studies are showing that our bodies, not our minds, store our emotional experiences and memories. This means, you can’t think your way through splinters that are rooted in your heart. You can’t heal pain that’s spread all over your body, by accessing just your thinking mind.
Consciousness is embodied.
Learning how to listen to your body is one of the most powerful tools you can cultivate as a human being. Managing the challenges of your mental health resides in fostering your ability to tune-in to your body, decode its messages and use that information to regulate your experience of yourself and your life.
Whether you struggle with painful memories that hold you back, anxiety that has you mentally constructing a doomed future that hasn’t yet happened, depression that has you sad and lethargic, or you live in a body that has felt like your adversary…the origin of your pain lives in your body.
The key to your healing exists within your body…and all the wisdom you need to heal is within you.
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