Still not sure what the ever-present phrase Mind, Body, Spirit actually means? You’re not alone! Millions of people see the term every day without really understanding it at all.
That’s too bad, since the concepts behind Mind, Body, Spirit can change your life! People from all sectors of life use the term, so perhaps now’s the time for you to finally learn what it means when people talk about the “mind, body, spirit connection”.
“Mind, Body, Spirit” is All Around Us
It’s true: it’s everywhere. After all, it’s not just “hippy types” or “new age types” who abide by the rules of the mind-body-spirit concepts. It’s also:
- entrepreneurs & successful CEOs
- professional athletes
- doctors & other medical professionals
- school districts
In fact, evidence of an awareness of the mind-body-spirit connection is all around you, if you know what to look for:
- prayer rooms in airports
- gym membership discounts at work
- meditation in schools
- aromatherapy in doctors’ waiting rooms
- Feng Shui in public spaces or offices
See? You already have some experience with Mind, Body, Spirit and you didn’t even know it. Now, let’s get down to what it means by covering the basic definition and major concepts behind this global and ancient idea.
What Does “Mind, Body, Spirit” Mean?
Your mind is affected by your body, and vice versa. Your mind is affected by your spirit, and vice versa. Your body is affected by your mind and your spirit and vice versa.
Don’t follow? That’s OK, since when it’s written that way, the concept is quite convoluted. Let’s try a different approach!
Mind, Body, Spirit means that our well-being comes from not just physical health, but from mental health and spiritual health as well. To be “healthy”, we must pay attention to all three aspects of our nature…mind, body and spirit.
Here are a few examples:
- Ever wonder why you get a headache when you’re stressed? There’s a prime example of how your mind is affecting your body.
- Have you noticed that when you don’t exercise, you feel depressed? That’s your body affecting your mind.
- Or how about when you eat too much because you’re nervous?
- Remember that amazing feeling you had last time you went to a spa, had a massage, or practiced yoga…calm, happy, and even confident? That is your mind and your body and possibly even your spirit all working together to make you feel great.
- The same principle is at work for people who attend Church: they feel good after services….they feel “whole”, happy, and focused.
The main concept behind Mind, Body, Spirit is that we are all more than just our thoughts. We are also our bodies, our emotions, and our spirituality…all these things combine to give us identity, determine our health, and make us who we are.
Practical Applications of Mind, Body, Spirit
Our physical health is partly determined by our mental health. Even conventional doctors now ask us about stress and turmoil in our lives when we see them for physical ailments. That’s because even today’s modern medical practitioners, trained in Western medical schools, have been taught to pay attention to the mind-body-spirit concept.
Let’s look at the world of psychiatry and counseling. People who harbor negative emotions can often make themselves physically sick. It’s actually been proven that mental issues can manifest themselves in the body, making us sick.
Some even believe that long term festering of negative emotions such as hatred, fear, anger and jealousy will cause some forms of cancer. In fact, if you look hard enough, there are mind-spirit causes for just about every physical ailment you can think of. This leads back to ancient cultures…
What Ancient Cultures Have Taught Us About Mind, Body, Spirit Connections
The Greeks knew about it: they knew a sound mind worked better in a sound body.
There is Greek Medicine, which puts forth that disease results from an imbalance with nature, among other things. Holistic healing stems from this concept. The body is more than the sum of its parts…there’s an energy or “life force” that goes beyond the mere physical nature of the body. The life force contains a deep-rooted biological intelligence that gives us immunity from disease, and when it leaves our body, we begin to age and die.
The ancient Greeks also believed in the healing power of Nature, the importance of our environment (we are what we eat, that’s called pepsis) and a general approach to health as a holistic endeavor.
Traditional Chinese culture also believes in the “life force”…
…only they call it Qi.
Ancient peoples from India knew about it as far back as 5000 BC, according to some. We know their teachings today as Yoga.
In yoga and Ayurveda, the life force is called prana. Same thing, only a different culture and language.
Native American wisdom incorporates a strong sense of mind, body spirit.
Yup, same principles at work here as with the Ancient Greeks, traditional Chinese, and yogi masters from thousands of years ago in India. What all these cultures knew was that there’s a strong connection between belief systems, health, and happiness.
In one form or another, each and every one of these very ancient belief systems is still in place today. The Ancient Greeks formed the basis of modern conventional medicine, in fact. You’ve seen yoga classes in virtually every town, and there are thousands of TCM practitioners at work today all across the world.
Mind, Body, Spirit & You
What can you take away from all this? For starters, the mind-body-spirit connection is deeply rooted in all our cultures, no matter where we’re from. Secondly, it’s still going full-force today, in its many forms.
We haven’t even told you about all the types of mind-body-spirit therapies yet! We’ve only touched upon a few of the big ones:
- Ayurveda (traditional Indian medicine) used by Hindus
Chances are, if you look at your own belief system, you’ll find bits and pieces of the mind-body-spirit connection already in place! In this day and age of mix & match belief systems, home remedies and alternative medicine, it’s not required that you go “all in” with one or another. A day of yoga complements your psychoanalyst sessions, as does your morning run, your vegan diet, or even your weekly visits to the spa.