The Mental and Physical Flexibility Correlation
Believe it or not, there is actually quite a strong correlation between physical flexibility and mental flexibility. Research shows that stretching your body is the key to physical longevity and health and an open and more resilient mindset is the key to a lifetime of mental and emotional satisfaction. And, the two come hand in hand. The more you stretch your body, the more you can stretch your mind!
Most of us are familiar with the “how tos” of stretching. Lengthening the muscles, opening the joints, decompressing, and working through stuck fascia feels so, so good. We walk around with less stiffness, fewer aches and pains, and a whole lot more mobility when we forward fold, back bend, and lengthen our side bodies on a daily basis.
Nine Proven Benefits of Daily Stretching:
- Increase in flexibility
- Increase in range of motion
- Improved performance in physical activity
- Increased blood flow throughout the body
- Improved posture
- Decrease and prevention of pain
- Stress relieving
So those last two items on the list: stress relieving and calming – guess what, those relate to the psychological benefits associated with stretching – which then lead to the mental benefits!
Think of it this way:
“Mental flexibility is simply adaptability. It is the ability shift a course of thought or action according to the changing demands of a situation. It allows an individual to abandon a previous response set or pattern in order to generate an alternate that is better suited to the requirements of the situation at hand.”
Yes, that’s definitely stress relieving and calming. It’s resiliency.
So, what are some ways we can practice and increase our mental flexibility as well as our serenity in addition to stretching our bodies?
Ways to Stretch Your Mind:
- Exercise – and stretch, of course. Remember, this is all about the correlation.
- Meditate. Training and practice in mindfulness meditation has been shown to enhance a broad set of thinking abilities, including mental flexibility.
- Engage socially. Have an intelligent conversation with someone outside your home.
- Play games. Crosswords, puzzles, word games, board games, and outdoor sport “games” are all mentally stimulating.
- Be mindful. Think about all the things that are going on around you at any given moment; the sounds, the smells, the tastes, the feels – don’t judge, just mindfully notice.
Thus, let’s all harness the wind, reach for the stars, and challenge our minds – or, we could simply stretch our muscles and meditate each day – Just think, we could change the world this way.