The Mind-Body Disconnect: A Global Epidemic

Embodiment could hold the key to less suffering around the world.

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As a dance/movement therapist I create the opportunity to educate and talk to many different groups. In the past month I have noticed a reoccurring theme. As a society, we do not understand the connection between mind and body; movement and mental health. There is a disconnect and a disembodiment that is happening on a global scale. It was brought to my attention that in terms of violence or more specifically school shootings, being more embodied would allow individuals to think twice before going on rampages or sprees. When you are more embodied you are able to relate, communicate, and empathize with those and the world around you. You become more aware of what your body is doing and how it is directly affecting others. It increases your awareness and internal safety as well as external threats that may be lurking.

So first, what is embodiment? It is a concrete expression of an idea or quality; a tangible or seen form of a thought, idea, quality or feeling. This is not a new concept, but we seem to have lost our ability to create embodied experiences. Technology, or rather overuse of technology often contributes to this mind-body disconnect because it allows us to ignore the body and often numb the mind.

Physical practices like yoga, meditation, mindfulness, practices designed to enhance the mind-body connection, often create the opposite because we are more interested in the aesthetics, perfection, and image associated with it. These mind-body based exercises are an opportunity to become more embodied, but it is not a given. It takes practice, dedication, and most importantly, awareness.

So, how do we become more embodied? Here are 3 suggestions to start on the path to embodiment.

Bring awareness to your body. Practice noticing sensations and feelings in your body. Notice how your thoughts and emotions affect your physical being. Try to notice when you are not in your body and why?

Get in touch with your breath. Breathing is the number one way to start becoming more aware of your body, how it feels, how it regulates and modulates energy, and how to increase capacity to cope with and manage stress and anxiety. You do not even have to change it; just pay attention to it.

Move you body to move your mind. Think of all the ways you can move your body outside of exercise and physical activity; posture, gesture, talking, standing, sitting, blinking, breathing, etc.). If you are stuck emotionally, I urge you to consider how moving your body can literally move your thoughts, feelings, and emotions.

Challenge the way our society operates. Do not just exist; LIVE!