I hope you had a great week starting to become more ‘alive’ to your body because today we’re going to look at what science, particularly Neuroscience has to tell us about the body.
A lot of studies have been done to show in detail, what actually happens when we give our bodies what they need – taking care of the basics – movement, food, water, sleep etc.
There are some pretty spectacular results that can be tracked and analyzed. You, of course, are the best tracker of the changes in your body when you take care of it – you feel better, you look better and you are motivated to make this part of your life-long practice.
But I think you will also be interested in what the research tells us.
As a result of consistent physical Self-Care:
We move from the Old Brain to the New Brain. What does this mean? Historically, our old brain (located in our brain stem) reacted to danger through our fight, flight or freeze response. And there were plenty of dangers – life back then was mostly about survival. We still have this instinct built in to our system and sometimes we need it when an actual emergency arises. But many of us are stuck in this reaction too much of the time. Our systems get flooded with adrenalin and cortisol – we feel panicky, anxious, on high alert – a lot of the time. This depletes our immune system and is generally exhausting for the body. Self-Care moves us to our new brain in the frontal cortex where we can make reasoned decisions – where we realize we have choices. We ‘respond’ rather than simply ‘react’; we see distinctions and can decide what choice we will make when some situation presents itself. What a relief!!
- We mobilize neurotransmitters , like endorphins, which can give us a 6-8 hour high – and it’s natural! This is our own body telling us that we’re doing the right thing. You know how when you give your dog an affectionate rub, he wags his tail? He doesn’t plan to do that , it just happens. It’s the same with your body – you give it loving attention and it wags its tail 🙂
- We move our system from pessimism to optimism. Neuroscientists have ways of scanning your system to see if you have a signature for pessimism or optimism.
After Self-Care, these signatures change. It just takes a commitment to at least 15 minutes of walking per day plus these 4 daily activities:
Gratitude – spend 2 minutes writing down 3 things you feel grateful for each day. Think of different ones for each day – this expands you in a miraculous way!
Meaningful activity – write down one for each day. What happened today that had particular meaning for you? Why was it meaningful for you? Details are important.
Connect with someone. Maybe you can combine your daily walk with some companionship or maybe you just stop to have a real conversation with someone in your neighbourhood.
Meditate. Spend at least 2 minutes just following your breath. This will bring you inside to your deep wisdom as it switches you to your parasympathetic nervous system and calms you down.
These 4 simple daily activities, coupled with your exercise, will make this profound change in your system – that can be measured. You can move from pessimism to optimism. You become hard-wired in a new way.
I’m shaking my head because this information is just mind-blowing!
Is this enough to make you want to step-up your Self-Care starting today? I really hope so, because you will soon notice you are making better choices that make your life more joyful and this will spread out to impact your whole village in a positive way.