The mind-body connection is something we hear about a lot at Wanderlust. Yoga, after all, means to yoke. But this togetherness doesn’t just apply to your mind and body, but also you connection with other people.
Dr. Paul Gannon, N.D., spoke to the Colorado crowd gathered in the Speakeasy about our health from the perspective of interconnection. He outlined four ways to cultivate, strengthen and expand our sense of connecting to ourselves and the world around us:
1) YOU are more important than your organic diet.
True health is a lot more than super foods. Yes, a wholesome diet is good for your body, but we have to remember to consider the whole self, too.
According to Dr. Paul, it all starts with self-love, which leads to positive relationships. This creates a sense of self-esteem and belonging, and in turn, an improvement in health and happiness—which you aren’t going to find in your bag of organic carrots.
2) Choose your battles wisely.
Your health is tightly bound to experiences within your relationships, Dr. Paul explained.
“When my patients report a sore throat, or a stuffy nose, I ask them, what happened three days ago?” Many times, their eyes widen as they recall a conflict a few days prior, he said, adding that negative emotions decrease our salivary immunoglobulin levels, which increases our proclivity to getting ill.
Sitting in the audience with a nasty sore throat, suddenly my own eyes were widening, as I remembered an even nastier argument I had gotten into exactly three days before. The quarrel had been exacerbated by its medium—text message—so it wasn’t yelling that had irritated my larynx, but rather, it was anger that had sent my immunity plummeting.
Dr. Paul referenced a study supporting this, in which participants’ salivary IgA levels were measured when they were upset, and when they thought about someone they leave. Those positive thoughts spiked their IgA levels for five hours, whereas the frustration sent their iGA into a nosedive.
3) Three minutes.
So maybe you struggled not to get pissed off, but, just couldn’t help yourself. It happens. As for the solution—guess what? You don’t even need one. You just need three minutes.
For times like these, Dr. Paul recommended a simple visualization. If you’re at Point A in a predicament, just imagine yourself at Point B. By visualizing a positive resolution, you’re steering every cell in your body to that point. Just like with the example of salivary IgA levels, attitudes—even ones imagined through visualization—can change the polarity of cells in a positive way.
4) Keep a gratitude journal.
A daily dose of gratitude can pick you up when you’re feeling down.
Dr. Paul suggested using a gratitude journal. This is the ideal remedy for the times when you want to see the glass half-full, but can only imagine it half-empty. Opening your journal and absorbing all your life’s beauty switches your outlook from despair to hope, in a way that is much more genuine than just putting on a happy face.
And that, Dr. Paul said, is some powerful medicine.
A digital media assistant for Wanderlust, Katie Doyle joined the team while traveling southeast Asia. A month after graduating from college, she took her journalism degree on a tour around Indonesia, Thailand, Australia and New Zealand. A writer at heart, she lives for the moments when a good story pops in her head – especially when it happens during savasana. In addition to practicing yoga, she is a ski instructor who loves sunshine just as much as she loves snow.