You can repeat “mind over matter” all you want, but your mind is made out of matter.
If you’re trying to beat addiction, you have to physically rewire your own brain.
One of the best ways to do this is to make a commitment to healing and strengthening your body.
Consider the following:
- Your gut contains over 100 million neurons that scientists have recently termed “the second brain”
- Your emotional stability depends in large part on the health of your gut and your nervous system (which in turn depends on reversing magnesium depletion)
- Knee-jerk reactions come from your spinal cord, not from your brain
- Strengthening your body through exercise stops toxic, depression-causing compounds from reaching your brain
- As if we needed scientists to confirm “strong body, strong mind,” this study found that there’s a direct correlation between leg strength and brain health
Holistic recovery methods for addiction are on the rise, and for some damn good reasons!!
How the Mind and Body are Connected
According to the Newport Academy, “…researchers have identified the actual neural networks that connect the cerebral cortex to the adrenal medulla, which actives the body’s response in stressful situations. These findings illuminate how mental states, such as stress and depression, can influence organ function.”
Fear and anxiety feel like lightning bolts in the chest, while love and happiness are pleasant vibrations that pulse through the whole body.
Depression creates an empty pit feeling in your stomach while disconnecting the limbs, which then feel like heavy burdens.
Anger and shame are like forest fires inside of your head. But anyone who works out knows that these negative emotions can be transferred into high-octane workout fuel!!
The Importance of Restoring This Connection in Recovery
From a psychological standpoint, addiction overrides our natural brain-body communication system. Essentially, through addiction, we retrain our brains. This is why it’s important to focus on these aspects during recovery!
Foods that heal the body have positive and stabilizing effects on your mood. Today I juiced 6 beets and felt good for several hours afterward, despite not eating nearly enough until dinner time.
Eat quality foods because they make you feel better. Train hard because it’s an opportunity to leave your negativity in the gym. Then see for yourself how much easier it is to relax, sleep well and feel happy outside of the gym.
Lifting weights and cardio can improve your quality of life immensely. But there’s something else I’ve discovered recently that I wanted to share…
My Transformation From Yoga Skeptic to Hip-Opener Fanatic
A few weeks ago one of my friends returned briefly from her new life in Costa Rica.
She’d quit her fast-paced New York lifestyle to surf, learn Brazilian jiu-jitsu, earn a living from her photography blog, and become a yogi.
We decided to exchange a gym workout for a yoga session. I’d done yoga a few times before, and I was a yoga skeptic. But I tried to keep an open mind.
After a few basic poses that were somewhat boring, my friend said we were going to focus on hip-openers.
She said that according to yogis, we all store stress and negative traumas in our hips. It turns out that this is common knowledge among yoga types and I’d never heard it before.
It sounded like new agey horse manure to me, but I copied her poses for about half an hour. What I discovered was that a) I’m not nearly as flexible as I thought I was and b) These “poses” actually were a cathartic experience.
My default state is on-edge on the inside while appearing stoic on the outside. Working out makes me euphoric and calm for the rest of the day. These hip-openers did not provide any euphoria, but they evaporated the stress that I’d been carrying around all day.
Since then, I’ve been practicing them almost every night before bed. They cut through tension effortlessly – like a sharp knife through butter.
After a lot of online research, I found the names of the poses we did. I won’t provide any commentary because I’m not a yoga expert and I don’t want to give any false advice.
1. Pigeon Pose
2. Lizard lower lunge
3. Thread the needle
4. Crane pose
5. Standing hip opener
Try them for yourself and you’ll see what I mean!
How to Restore Your Mind-Body Connection
There are a few ways to restore your mind-body connection while in recovery and beyond. Here are a few ideas:
- Prioritize healthy sleep habits
- Choose healthy foods
- Drink plenty of water
- Spend time outdoors
and so many more!