In support of our monthly theme of self-awareness, Meagan Butler, Austin ISD secondary counseling coordinator, shares a brief video to help us build an understanding of how our bodies function and the importance of the mind-body connection.
Through the video, Meagan describes the role of the vagus nerve and its impact on different areas of the body when we are experiencing different emotions. For example, when we are stressed, we might noticed our stomach feeling upset or our heart rate increase. The Atlas of the Human Body article, shares maps of the body experiencing different emotional experiences. It’s no wonder we would have different bodily sensations with regard to different feelings.
Train Your Brain
Through a few simple practices, you can help your mind understand your emotions and the impact they have on your body.
A four step strategy from Dan Siegel called SIFT, encourages you to take a mindful moment to notice your sensations, images, feelings and thoughts related to a particular emotional experience.
Doing regular body scan check-ins with yourself throughout the day or during particularly high or low emotional moments are another good way to begin understanding your mind-body connection. Use Meagan’s “Recognizing Body Sensations and Checking in with your Body” checklist to begin your practice.
“Looking deeply requires courage.” –Thich Nhat Hanh
The World of Difference A Breath Can Make
Ultimately, with what we understand about our emotions and the impact they have on the sensations in our body, we can use that information to hack our brains and disrupt negative feelings in our bodies. So, when we are noticing our body react to feelings of stress or nervousness or frustration, we can take a few intentional, deep, slow breaths and introduce a sense of calm back into our bodies. Your vagus nerve will thank you!