A short exercise to show how the mind can affect the body. Just remember thi .
I want you to sit comfortably and breathe slowly for a few minutes. When you are ready, close your eyes or lower and soften your gaze, continuing to breathe deeply and, slowly.
I would like you to imagine now that you are standing in your kitchen, or the kitchen of someone you know. Choose a kitchen that you are very familiar with, that is associated with happy memories.
As you see various different kitchens you’ve known go through your mind’s eye, rest on one.
Picture yourself standing at the doorway to this kitchen and glance around it, noting the walls, cabinets, worktops, the floor. Imagine the appliances that are in this kitchen -– the fridge, oven, dishwasher.
Look at the worktops, noticing things that are placed there bread maker, toaster. Over the kitchen sink, there may be a window. Imagine the window is open, and a soft warm breeze is blowing in, perhaps gently moving the curtains.
There are pleasant smells in this kitchen; perhaps cooking or baking smells linger in the air. It is a warm, inviting place.
Now bring your gaze to the worktops and notice that there is a beautiful wooden chopping board there. On top of the board sits a bright yellow lemon. You notice its color -– a vibrant yellow -– its size and shape.
You reach out and pick up the lemon, noticing how it feels to your touch. The skin is both smooth and slightly bumpy; you may see the end where it was attached to the tree.
Next to the chopping board, you see a sharp kitchen knife. Return the lemon back to the chopping board, and carefully pick up the knife in your dominant hand. Holding the lemon steady with your other hand, cut the lemon in half.
As you do this, you’re feeling the knife slicing through the fruit, and it falls open revealing beautiful jewel-like pulp in neat rows. You see the fresh white pulp and perhaps some seeds inside.
Drops of juice have spilled onto the cutting board. Now take one half of the lemon and cut it again, making it a quarter-size slice. You put the knife down, and bring the lemon quarter up to your nose.
You are aware of the sharp, fresh citrus scent filling your nose. Touch the lemon to your lips, noticing the sensations. Now, open your mouth and BITE into the lemon.
Reflect on the experience:
Ask yourself which kitchen came to mind and what sensations you felt during the exercise. This exercise shows the power of the mind to effect physical reaction in our bodies, as if it were really happening. If just thinking about a lemon can make your mouth pucker and tingle, can you imagine how thinking about other things affects the body too.
Take a minute to reflect on other ways that your mind alters your body. For example you are about to speak in public. Do you get butterflies in your stomach? Or maybe your palms feel sweaty? When you’re stressed out or upset, do you get a stomach ache? Or a headache? Or feel suddenly really tired?
Can make more connections like these, connections where even skeptics start to think fine maybe there really is a connection between my mind and my body. You can use it to your advantage at times though by using breathing techniques and practicing mindful awareness. Check out our courses if you want to learn more about the mind body connection and how to use it to improve your well-being.