On the Mind-Body Connection, Part Two

I’m on the plane home from the spa and in a foul mood. The trip was perfect and I guess I’m just pissed that I have to leave. I didn’t even enjoy yesterday fully because I knew I had to leave today. The stress was pre-emptive. Reflux is back, muscles tightened, anxiety high. The difference this time around though is that I now have my evidence. Stress is evil and it has a direct line to my body.

Wednesday and Thursday were the sweet spot of this trip. I had jokingly told the spa front desk manager on Monday that it would take 3 treatments to “break through” and I was exactly right. That third treatment (the hot stone massage previously mentioned) was the key to enlightenment. The result was short-lived but memorable. I can’t remember ever feeling that good, physically or mentally. So, the question is how can I get that feeling back at will? The easy answer is constant massages I guess but that’s not practical financially or from a time-management standpoint. Also, I think that’s a reactive approach. So, what can I take away from this to incorporate into my life moving forward?

I have to manage my stress. I keep a bottle of Xanax in my purse at all times. I take one when I need one…and it helps. But, it’s also a reactive approach. I need to find strategies for proactive stress management (other than popping pills). Some say exercise is the key and I plead guilty on that one. I have been leading a very sedentary lifestyle the last year and a half since I started traveling. This, plus that food-soothing I mentioned earlier has let me to gain a whopping 70 pounds in that year and a half. That is unacceptable and is a major red flag. I’m in emergency warning mode and hopefully this week was the beginning of my turnaround. A diet isn’t going to fix this. Yes, I need to watch what I eat and exercise more of course..but I think there’s more to it than that.

Therapy is good of course but I am often resistant to it. I will go but deflect the hard stuff. I always have. Sort of a waste of money and time but it’s a reflex for me. I don’t even notice until it’s pointed out to me that I am evading. I will throw 90% of myself in your face willingly as long as you don’t go poking at that 10% that’s hiding in the corner. Maybe the relative anonymity of this blog will get me into that 10% but I doubt it. I don’t even know what lurks there most of the time. I’m not sure I want to. I have a good friend who is experiencing a lot of stress at the moment. He has had a horrid headache for weeks and I have been trying to help him with ideas to help. He has been to the doctor and cleared of anything medical but still has the relentless pain. I spoke with him about my trip and my thoughts on the mind-body stress connection and he jokingly made a comment about “being held together by stress”. I related to this. Maybe my 10% is the glue that’s holding me together. Maybe I’m afraid of what abyss I might slip into if I let go of my grip on it. That one needs more examination.

So for now I will consider my little experiment a success. As the plane wings its way closer to home (home=where my stuff lives, I don’t see it very often) and I reluctantly reemerge into my daily life, I go back into the fray a little smarter. I now know the powerful relationship between my mind and my body. I will respect this and use this knowledge as a stepping stone to a better and healthier life. Hold me to it please.

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