Health & Prevention

800.659.7822 Toll Free

Mind Body Exercises

Harnessing the power of the mind-body connection

The mind-body connection means that you can learn to use your thoughts to positively influence some of your body’s physical responses, thereby decreasing stress. If you recall a time when you were happy, grateful or calm, your body and mind tend to relax.

Research has shown that when you imagine an experience, you often have similar mental and physical responses to those you have when the event actually happens. For example, if you recall an upsetting or frightening experience, you may feel your heart beating faster, you may begin to sweat, and your hands may become cold and clammy.

Whether you have been diagnosed with an illness or need to prepare for a medical procedure such as surgery, it is very important to minimize the negative effects and maximize the healthy, healing aspects of your mind-body connection.

Mind and body connection

A variety of calming and empowering mind-body exercises have been proven to help people:

  • Decrease anxiety
  • Decrease pain
  • Enhance sleep
  • Decrease the use of medication for post-surgical pain
  • Decrease side effects of medical procedures
  • Reduce recovery time and shorten hospital stays
  • Strengthen the immune system and enhance the ability to heal
  • Increase sense of control and well-being

While the exercises described are not alternatives to medical or surgical treatments, they provide a powerful way for you to actively participate in your own health care, minimize pain and insomnia and promote recovery.

Calming/Relaxation Exercises

The goal of calming and relaxation exercises is to help change the way you perceive a situation and react to it — to help you feel more in control, more confident or secure, and to activate healing processes within the body. Become aware of any tension, anxiety, change in breathing, or symptoms that you recognize as being caused or worsened by stress. When you take about 15 minutes daily to practice these exercises to help “quiet” your mind and help your body become more relaxed, you can then call upon this ability with a shorter relaxation exercise at a stressful time.

Reviewed: 12/2013

Talk to a Nurse: Mon. - Fri., 8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. (ET)

Call a Heart & Vascular Nurse locally 216.445.9288 or toll-free 866.289.6911.

Schedule an Appointment

Toll-free 800.659.7822

This information is provided by Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition.

© Copyright 2014 Cleveland Clinic. All rights reserved.

/ajax/healthhub.aspx?blogCategory=/topics/heart-vascular-health/
Cleveland Clinic Mobile Site