Minds change bodies, and bodies change minds. I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re a little skeptical about this basic principle of mindfulness meditation. Let’s do a quick visualization to see how just thinking about something can trigger a change in your body.
Try This Guided Meditation for Body and Mind
A Meditation on the Mind-Body Connection
For this practice, you can sit or you can stand, or you can lie down. Just get comfortable, with your back relatively straight, your body relaxed and your heart open.
- I want you to imagine that you’re in your kitchen, you’re standing in front of a counter, and on the counter there is a cutting board, there is a lemon and there is a knife.
- Pick up the lemon, walk over to the sink, turn on the water and wash the lemon.
- The water is cool, and feel it against your hand, turn the water off, take a paper towel, dry the lemon, really feel the towel in your hand, feel the lemon and then walk back to where the cutting board is lying on the counter.
- Put the lemon down on the cutting board, keep one hand on your lemon and pick up the knife in your other hand.
- Feel the weight of the knife in your hand, it’s a little heavy because it’s a hefty knife, and now keeping one hand on the lemon take your knife and slice the lemon in half.
- When you slice through that lemon, a little bit of lemon juice squirts out and you feel it on your hand, and its cold.
- Now you’ve got half of the lemon in one hand, I want you to put that half down on the counter on top of the cutting board and I want you to cut through it again.
- A little more lemon juice squirts out and now you’ve got a wedge of lemon. Put your knife down on the counter, take the wedge of lemon and I want you to put it up just under your nose and take a deep breath in.
- Now take a bit out of that lemon—did anything happen, did your mouth water or did it pucker up?
- If like so many people your mouth watered or you puckered up just thinking about that lemon then you just had a mind-body response.
Noticing How the Mind Affects the Body
If just thinking about a lemon can make your mouth pucker, can you imagine how thinking about other things affects our bodies too?
Take a minute to reflect on other ways that your mind changes your body. When you’re about to speak in public, do you get butterflies in your stomach? Or maybe your hands sweat a little bit? Or maybe your knees shake? When you’re stressed out or upset, do you get a stomach ache? Or a headache?
See if you can make more connections like these, connections where even skeptics start to think ok, maybe there really is a connection between my mind and my body.
Here’s the take away: while going about your day today, see if you notice other examples of mind-body connections, places where what you think changes how you feel.
An audio excerpt from Mindful Parent, Mindful Child: Simple Mindfulness Practices for Busy Parents. Susan Kaiser Greenland, Sounds True. May 2019, Embedded with Permission.