15 Simple Tips for Mind-Body Balance and Healing

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When life gets busy, it’s easy to get caught up in putting out fires and forget to prioritise our wellbeing. But, more than that, even if we are making self care a priority, it can be difficult to cultivate mind-body balance.

I’ve found in my own life that when I have a lot on my plate, something often gives. Even though I’ve been committed to my wellbeing for many years now, it’s still easy to let things slip without realising and become “out of balance”.

Maybe you think you’re healthy because you exercise regularly, but you’ve been completely neglecting your mental wellbeing? Or maybe you go to therapy every week but eat a rubbish diet? Both of these scenarios are common, and neither is a picture of a balanced wellbeing approach.

Truth is, our mind and body are so interconnected and we cannot be healthy and well if we don’t care for both of these avenues. In other words, achieving mind-body balance is crucial for overall health and happiness.

So, if you’re seeking ways to reconnect with yourself and find harmony between your mind and body, you’re in the right place. Let’s explore 15 simple yet powerful tips to help you achieve mind-body balance and enhance your healing journey.

15 simple mind-body balance tips

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Understanding the Mind-Body Connection

The mind-body connection is a fascinating system that influences every aspect of our lives. And it’s a reminder that to be healthy as a whole, we need to utilise this connection and care for ourselves holistically.

Your nervous system acts as the bridge between mind and body, transmitting signals and responses that can impact your physical and your mental health.

Think back to a time when you were anxious about something – what physical effects did you experience as a result?

Maybe your palms were sweaty, you had a dry mouth, your heart was palpitating – or you experienced something else from the collection of what we call “anxiety symptoms”.

This is a perfect example of your body responding (via sympathetic activation of the nervous system) to a mental stimulus, and it demonstrates how interlinked your mind and body are!

Similarly, when you’re physically unwell you’re likely to notice a knock-on effect on your mood and thinking patterns too. It’s common to get “down in the dumps” and think more negatively when you have a cold (or in the week before your period!)

These are examples of responses to “acute” stressors, and in general, these aren’t a cause for concern. However, this mind-body connection is also why it’s so important to avoid chronic stress and anxiety because over time repeated physiological responses like these can tax our systems and lead to hormone imbalances, heart disease, and other health issues.

From my experience, chronic stress and unresolved trauma led to my development of chronic fatigue and nervous system dysfunction. And restoring mind-body balance has therefore been a big part of my healing journey over the past few years, with really positive results.

That goes to say that where disease and illness can manifest as a result of mind-body imbalances, healing can also happen as a result of bringing mind and body into healthy balance. And that’s exactly what the tips in this post are designed to support!

woman looking mindful with eyes closed stretching her arms overhead in the sunlight through her window

Related post: The Gut Brain Connection: The Link Between Gut Health and Mental Health

15 Tips for Creating Mind-Body Balance

These mind-body balancing tips are ideal for focusing on every day to ensure you’re caring for your holistic health.

  1. Deep Breathing

Deep breathing is one of the most effective ways to calm the nervous system and promote relaxation. Deep breathing exercises activate the parasympathetic nervous system, also known as the “rest and digest” system, and can help to reduce stress levels and promote overall balance.

Try to take moments out of your day to pause and focus on your breath, gently encouraging a deeper inhale and a longer exhale. There’s no need to force anything – even conscious awareness of your breath can help you to breathe more optimally over time.

Related post: The 5 Best Pranayama for Stress Relief

  1. Regular Exercise and Mindful Movement

Physical activity is not only beneficial for your physical health, but for your mental wellbeing too!

When I was at my lowest with chronic physical and mental illness symptoms, I moved very little because I felt so fatigued. I thought by not moving I was “resting” and I would feel better. In actual fact, not moving enough can be a stressor in itself.

Our bodies are designed to move, and movement helps with everything from improving your circulation and releasing endorphins, to releasing stuck emotions from the body. A good rule of thumb is to aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week to boost your mood and reduce the risk of physical illness.

I also believe it’s really beneficial to incorporate mind-body practices like yoga and Tai Chi, which focus on mindful movement. These can help you to connect with your body on a deeper level and encourage mind-body balance.

young woman in sports clothing looking mindful
  1. Meditation and Mindfulness Practice

Meditation isn’t just a practice for hippies and yogis, so if you don’t identify as spiritual please don’t let that put you off! Research actually shows that meditation can reduce anxiety, improve mood, and enhance overall mental health.

Plus, there are so many different styles of meditation – which I touch on in this beginner’s meditation guide – so don’t feel like you have to just sit in silence.

Try to carve some time out of each day for meditation or mindfulness practices – even as little as 5 minutes can make a world of difference when it comes to stress management.

I’m also a big advocate for Yoga Nidra (or NSDR), which is a form of meditative rest that can help restore and recharge your mind and body. I now practice this most afternoons when my energy naturally dips, and it is a great preventative measure for burnout during busy periods!

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  1. Prioritise Quality Sleep

Sleep is one of the most important functions for mind and body health. Don’t believe me? Just read Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker.

You should be aiming for 7-9 hours of (quality) sleep each night to support your physical and mental health, depending on your own needs. Some people need less sleep than others, but I know that I need about 9 hours of sleep to feel my best!

That means paying attention to how you feel based on the number of hours you sleep, but it also means adjusting your routine and cutting out anything that might affect the quality of your sleep – such as going on your phone at night or drinking alcohol.

There are several rituals and protocols that you can follow each day to encourage more restorative sleep. The ones I like to focus on are getting morning (sun)light, stopping eating a few hours before bed, and following a relaxing evening routine!

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  1. Connect with Nature

Spend time outdoors to reconnect with nature and promote a sense of calm. Whether it’s going for a walk in the park or simply sitting in your garden, nature has a profound impact on our well-being.

In recent years I’ve discovered a newfound appreciation for the outdoors and hobbies like hiking. Not only has this improved my physical health, but when it comes to my mental health there’s nothing quite like it!

  1. Massage Therapy and Soothing Touch

Massage therapy not only feels good but also has several health benefits, including reducing stress hormones and boosting immunity!

Certain types of massage, such as lymphatic drainage massage, are especially effective for mind-body wellness, but any soothing touch to the body can bring benefits.

Treat yourself to regular massages to release tension and promote relaxation, but don’t underestimate the power of self-touch. Nurturing your body in this way can also foster deeper feelings of connection and self-love, which many of us are lacking.

woman softly touching her own neck with healing touch
  1. Find Your Purpose / Live with Intention

Having a sense of purpose can provide direction and motivation, leading to a more fulfilled life and better mental and physical health. This is what the Japanese call Ikigai.

Try to cultivate a sense of purpose and meaning in your life, even if it comes from something small like taking on a volunteering project in your spare time.

If you don’t have a clear purpose, don’t fret though. So long as you try to live with intention and by your values each day, this will go a long way to providing fulfilment and reducing mind-body tension from being out of alignment with what truly matters to you.

  1. Listen to Your Body

In my opinion, one of the biggest mistakes you can make in life is operating solely from the mind space, and ignoring the needs and signals of your body. I know this firsthand from experiencing burnout and mind-body symptoms.

Truth is, if you’re not listening to your body’s subtle cues for you to slow down, take a different route, or set an important boundary, it will get louder and louder until you do listen. This is when chronic physical symptoms and disease can show up – When the Body Says No is one of my favourite books about this concept.

So get into the habit of paying attention to signals from your body and honour its needs. That might be rest and recovery, but it could also be movement and releasing energy. Your body holds the wisdom.

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  1. Eat a Balanced Diet

The power of a balanced diet should not be understated. A balanced diet rich in whole foods like fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, legumes, and whole grains can nourish your mind as well as your body.

None of us has a perfect diet all of the time, but aim to fuel your body with nutritious foods that support overall health as much as possible. This will ensure that your mind and body can work optimally.

  1. Stay Hydrated

It’s not just food you should be prioritising, but liquids too. Drinking enough water (and maintaining your electrolyte balance) is essential for maintaining energy levels and promoting mental clarity.

I think many of us let this slip when life gets busy. When we’re out and about or consumed in a task it can be a challenge to remember to drink.

For this reason I actually like to keep a 2L bottle which encourages me to drink my daily intake each day. This means I always stay accountable and on track with my hydration!

person working from home at computer staying hydrated with water bottle
  1. Cultivate Self-Compassion

Self-compassion is such a vital skill to practice when it comes to mind and body wellness. Before I underwent Compassion Focused Therapy, I was in the harmful habit of beating myself up when I didn’t feel my best and trying to push through emotions.

This meant I got caught up in loops of stress responses and I never actually moved through my emotions – I felt angry at my anger, I felt sad about being sad, I felt anxious about my anxiety. It felt like mental torture.

Instead, cut yourself some slack and practice kindness to yourself to move through natural emotional states and come out the other side. As a good rule of thumb, treat yourself with the same care and understanding that you would offer to a friend.

It can take some practice to let those walls down, but your mind and body will thank you for it.

Related post: 65 Self Compassion Affirmations to Show Yourself Kindness

  1. Address the Past

Unresolved trauma and emotions from the past can wreak havoc on your mind and body. When emotions and trauma states aren’t given the chance to be expressed, they continue to play out in your system and will be experienced as triggers, limiting beliefs and even physical symptoms (check out The Body Keeps the Score).

To restore mind-body balance, you have to address and process past traumas and stressful events. There are a variety of ways you can approach this, such as through therapies like EMDR and Somatic Experiencing with a professional, or self-led practices like inner child work and JournalSpeak.

When I gave myself the gift of addressing my past traumas, I was able to restore so much more balance to my system, which I’ve felt in the form of more balanced emotions, greater resilience, less stress, and less physical symptoms too.

close up of woman in therapy session
  1. Stimulate Your Vagus Nerve

As we mentioned earlier in this post, the nervous system plays a key role in facilitating the mind-body connection. More specifically, the vagus nerve plays a vital role in this, allowing us to bounce back from stressful situations and return to a parasympathetic state.

In times of chronic stress, however, the vagus nerve can get overworked and stop functioning optimally. According to polyvagal theory, this makes it harder to come out of stress responses, and our nervous system struggles to perform its automatic functions so seamlessly.

One of the ways we can encourage this nerve to work optimally is to stimulate it. There are many ways to do this, such as vagus nerve exercises, cold water exposure, and vagus nerve stimulating devices like the Sensate.

Over time, frequent stimulation of the vagus nerve can help it to return to its optimal state and restore balance between the mind and body!

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  1. Seek Support

A frequent mistake people make on their healing journey, or when dealing with any stressful emotion or situation, is feeling like they have to go it alone.

Human beings are social animals, and we evolved to live in tribes where we experience social connection and support from others.

So don’t hesitate to reach out for support when you need it. Whether it’s from family, friends, or a professional, seeking support and showing your vulnerability is a sign of strength, not weakness!

  1. Embrace the Journey

Remember that achieving mind-body balance is a journey, not a destination. There will be times when you will experience stress, illness, and negative emotions. That’s a part of the human experience.

While it’s great to strive for balance, also understand that the perfect balance does not exist. Things will always wax and wane.

So instead of being hard on yourself when one of these tips inevitably slips, embrace the process of self-discovery and growth, and be gentle with yourself along the way!

By incorporating these simple tips into your daily routine, you can begin to cultivate a greater sense of harmony, vitality, and well-being.

Remember to listen to your body and prioritise self-care, where possible. These efforts will compound over time, and you’ll begin to create a life that is more balanced and fulfilling.

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tips for mind-body balance and healing

Esther is the founder of Through the Phases, a wellbeing and healthy lifestyle blog dedicated to sharing mind/body/soul practices for self-exploration, healing, and fulfilment. She has a degree in Psychology, is yoga teacher trained (200hr), and is currently pursuing a Neuroscience MSc to further study the mind-body connection. Read more about her story here.

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