Mind - Body Connection
By Michele Meiché

The connection has become quite clear. The more we balance what is
good for our mind and body the healthier and happier we are. In the
late 80's and the early 90’s, the word lifestyle became a concept, and
a way, of balancing life activities, career, friends, family, and personal
time. People began to look at their lifestyle and review whether it really
fit their personal needs and wants. This questioning and change
happened on such a broad- based societal level that it was even
reflected in the media and for marketing. The marketing term used was: Lifestyle. It was at this time that stores like the Gap, and J Crew came
into existence, and there was an upsurge in sales for LL Bean. Their
ads showed people in various activities that conveyed individuality,
balance, enjoyment, and a sense of fulfillment. What this was
reflecting was a very strong need and concern for people to create
for themselves and family a healthy balanced way in to live that
individually suited them. In the late 90’s, and most recently in the last
few years, these healthy lifestyle changes emphasize holistic health, preventative medicine, and alternative therapies. One can see the
changes reflected in the main stream public with the popularity of
yoga, pilates, and even meditation. There is a prevailing awareness
that we are more than what we once presumed ourselves to be. In
fact, we are at the advent of spiritual integration on a broader scale.

Yet, with more awareness and choices for each of us, there is still one escalating factor that shows up in society as well as in our personal
lives: Stress. This is the information age. We have more stimuli than
our forefathers and mothers could have ever envisioned. And with this awareness we need to know ourselves even better than we have
before. Each individual needs to assess his or her true values, needs,
and wants. Once evaluated, there is a key that can synthesize our
personal needs and priorities.

This key is balance. And that, I feel, is a key for all of us. However, this
key is not just handed to us on the proverbial silver platter. To create
this healthy, balanced lifestyle requires some research, though I like to
call it self-exploration. Balance, though, also requires time —time for ourselves, if not daily then weekly. Each person must find the balance,
and that can take some experimentation. But like one ad says, "We’re
worth it." It’s precisely this feeling of "I am worth it" that can create
balance in the first place. When we begin to find what it is we really
want and pursue that on whatever level is applicable, it is as if a magic energy wand has been waved over us. In fact, studies have shown that
the morphine-like protein, endorphin —that our wonderful brain naturally produces — actually increases not only in exercise, but in activities that
we become lost in and truly enjoy. At the same time, people who suffer
from chronic back pain are found to have lower levels of endorphins. Yet, research has shown we can create those endorphins, or higher levels of serotonin, by pleasurable, meaningful, and fulfilling activities and thoughts. Yes, thoughts.

So, what does that comparison mean to us personally? It means our
thoughts and what we do does affect our body. And, conversely,
our body ailments or pleasures affect our mind. Healthy, positive
mental control and clearing of past outdated beliefs or thoughts, and creating or encoding what we now need and want can be a first step
to a more fulfilling lifestyle. I believe very firmly, through my personal,
direct experience, that we can — and do — change our lives. Many
times these changes seem only external. However, if we trace our
thoughts back, we will invariably see that there was an idea or a
decision at the root of the change. When we bring conscious choice
to our decisions and life direction, it is very powerful. It also
cultivates hope.

I view my role as therapist and educator more as a guide, or perhaps
coach. In fact, one avenue of work I do is creativity coaching. I
believe that life is about learning, experiencing, growing, and creating.
That creation can be a healthier mind, body, spiritual enfoldment,
a new career, family, or personal development from a crisis or
transition. My purpose in my practice, and in this column, is to assist
in times of transition and change, and to help create the avenue for
more awareness, health, balance and personal fulfillment. I very much
believe in —and appreciate —interaction, so I would love to receive
your suggestions, input, and questions. The intention of this column is
to provide a place where you can receive useful, practical information
and insight, as well as to be a place where you have a voice.


Good Stress Bad Stress
Positive-Negative Stress Factor By Michele Meiché

Coping with Stress
By Michele Meiché