Podcast: Episode 61: Mental Health: Mind over Matter?

There has been a lot of commentary going on around Simone Biles, her decision to honor her mental health, and her resulting recent experience at the Olympics. At one side of the spectrum, there are people who think she’s done something incredible. And on the other side, people have suggested she doesn’t have a sporting ethic, she’s not resilient, even deciding she is a loser.

Now, this episode isn’t about Simone Biles specifically, but her situation has catalyzed an idea that I love and that needs discussing more openly, and I hope that her experience can help us all elevate our thinking overall.

Tune in this week to discover the equal importance between physical sensations and mental state. I’m sharing why our brains tend towards mind over matter, and how to readdress this balance so you can tune into what your system as a whole is telling you, your brain and body can work in synergy, and you can perform and generate the results you want without pushing yourself too far.

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What You'll Learn from this Episode:

  • Where this idea of mind over matter comes from and why we make it such a point of focus.
  • What can happen when don’t have a balanced experience of physical presence versus mindset.
  • Why my clients are able to perform at a high level with less physical and mental energetic output.
  • How to take back your power and address this balance, going from mind over matter to mind with matter.

Featured on the Show:

  • If this episode resonates with you, you will love Healing and Revealing Human Potential, where you’ll hear from incredible speakers like Jill Bolte Taylor. Email us at [email protected] to sign up.
  • If you were inspired by this episode and want to find out more about how we run our Yoga Therapy Certification Program, reach out to us and we’ll be happy to help. 

Full Episode Transcript:

Male Announcer: You’re listening to From Pain to Possibility with Susi Hately. You will hear Susi’s best ideas on how to reduce or even eradicate your pain and learn how to listen to your body when it whispers so you don’t have to hear it scream. And now here’s your host, Susi Hately.

With this episode I want to dig into some of the commentary I’ve been reading around Simone Biles, her honoring her mental health, and her experience at the Olympics. Where on one side of the spectrum there are people who think she’s done something so incredible. And on the other side of the spectrum we have people who think she doesn’t have a sporting ethic. That she doesn’t have the ability to push through. That’s she’s not resilient. And some going so far as to say she’s a loser.

Now, this episode is not specifically about Simone Biles, but my reading these comments and listening to it and talking with people has really catalyzed this idea that I really like to speak a lot about. And I hope that her experience can help elevate our thinking overall.

A thought that arises predominately is this idea of mind over matter. And that mind supersedes anything matter. Now this has been something I’ve heard about all of my life, I mean think about no pain no gain. We know that belief and thoughts really start off a process and are really important for a performance. I mean there’s a ton of formal and informal evidence that suggests that to be true.

And if you do thought work, if you do visualization you know that you can really manifest a lot in your life by what it is that you think about. What it is that you believe. We even have Henry Ford who says if you think you can do a thing or you think you can’t do a think, you’re right. So there’s a lot of evidence and research that validates this idea of how mind and mindset are so vital.

More what I want to dig into here though is this exclusive focus on mindset and what happens when the exclusive focus is on mindset and what then can happen when we don’t have a balanced experience of physical sensation.

Now I’m not talking about physical fitness or physical wellbeing, I’m talking about physical sensation, like actually listening to your body. What will happen then is this idea of mind over matter then changes to mind with matter. And that’s what I’m hoping to offer here. That’s there’s an equal importance between the physical sensations, the nuanced feelings inside and mental state.

So it’s not saying that one is better than the other but they each fuel the other. So thinking about this from the perspective of a Venn diagram, where we have mental health, and we have physical health. And then we bring those circles together in a Venn, and it's in that synergy is where that power really lies.

So then we can really hone in and tune into what our system is telling us. Our system. And that system, when it's operating at a really high level, can deliver the performance that we want it to. It can generate the results that we want it to. And it's in honoring both our physical plane reality as well as our mental and emotional plane. We can do our very, very best work and operate at an incredibly high level.

So I want to just emphasize again, that yes, the mind plays a huge role. Our thoughts and our beliefs are significant, and they will produce results. And when there's this exclusive, or almost exclusive, focus on mindset which is apart from the physical sensations that are actually letting us know things that are going on within our physical reality. When we push those aside, we push aside the innate bandwidth. We push aside the dashboard, like the dashboard of our car.

It’s as if we see the yellow engine light coming on, and rather than paying attention to it, we take a hammer to it and smash the damn thing. And then where does that lead us when we're on a drive to a city three hours away? We don't really get far do we?

So the idea here is about merging mental health and physical health. Finding that synergistic space that elevates our performance, that elevates our output, but because we are listening to the physical reality.

Now what do I mean by the physical reality? What do I mean by bandwidth? I'm talking about those feelings that indicate when we need more fuel, when we need more hydration, when we need more sleep, when we're over training, or under training, when we're perhaps overworking or overthinking. These are all linked to sensations within our body.

And the more fine-tuned you can become about these, the more you understand the signals, the more nimble and accurate you become in knowing when to push, knowing when to rest, knowing when to stop, knowing when to change course. You become more ninja like in all of your activities because you're tuned into both your thoughts and your beliefs. And you're also tuned into this battery of yourself, the ebb and the flow. And understanding that natural rhythm.

We see this really strongly with people who are burnt out. Particularly when they've kind of hit their bottom and are kind of working themselves back up. And that they recognize that when they were tired, they pushed harder. And then they got more tired, and then they pushed harder. They were just really good at finding more and more energy. So they stopped using – They ran out of I should really say real energy, is what I like to call it. And then started to utilize more adrenalized energy.

There's actually a term of bucket syndrome, which demonstrates how we pull from different energy sources within our system. So that when we pull and are depleting our real energy, and then how we pull from our adrenal system. And then we keep kind of pulling from the various systems within our body, we become more and more and more and more depleted.

When the person's on their way to burn out, they can't tune into that. It's only when they actually hit their bottom and their system really starts to let them know. Now they can hear it, now they can start to tune in.

What I'm suggesting is, can we listen to this earlier? Can we tune into this earlier, so that we can more sense those inner rhythms of knowing our ebb and flow? Knowing when we can, push knowing when we need to stop, knowing when we can change course. Like we just get a better sense of the dance.

Because when you are able to do that, you've got a much better ability to read your internal messages. You tune your inner authority, you tune your inner power, you tune into your inner wisdom. And when you're doing that, now your mental health is not something separate from your physical health. They are in that Venn diagram, you're in that synergy.

Because sometimes we can't necessarily recognize that our mental health is off. But we can certainly feel been off in our physical health. Or likewise, we don't necessarily tune in to being off physically, but we can tune in to something being off mentally.

So then the two of them are feeding and informing us about the other. So it can be really powerful as a tool. And when you hone this ability to utilize this tool, it enables you to better choose exactly what is right for you.

The more I talk about this and teach this, there are two things that I hear back from people. It’s that they really want this ability. They want this ability to tune into this mental and physical synergy, bringing those two circles into a Venn diagram. And they also fear about what if they get it wrong?

So here's my response to the latter, is that we all express our symptoms and our signals differently. To rely on information outside of us, formal evidence, opinions, and it doesn't work, we don't have a true understanding as to why. We can't peel it back.

The thing is, is we're dynamic human beings. And if we can tune into that dynamism, we can tweak, we can hone, we can work it, we can play with it. We can get a better and better understanding of what it's all about. And then we have a fundamental knowing and knowledge about ourselves and our systems and how we respond.

So that when we do apply an outside stimulus, whether that be formal evidence driven or some other opinion, then we have more of an understanding of the result from that stimulus. We have more understanding from how we know ourselves. And we can feel the shift and the change, and then better name or articulate what's actually going on.

It makes the process really simple and actually quite easy and straightforward. If something's not working, it doesn't mean wholesale not working. It doesn't mean we just need to throw everything out like baby with the bathwater. But rather, we can tune into what about it actually did work. Refine, shift, change that which didn't work, and then make it better.

And when we do this there's like a real reclamation of power. There is an opportunity to really see this relationship between body and mind as being synergistic. When we can bring these two together, this is when we really can tap into an incredible level of performance. An incredible level of ease and the opportunity to do our very, very, very best work.

What I've seen with my clientele is how they're able to perform at such higher levels with way less energy output because they're just so much more tuned in between their mental health and their physical health. That synergy. That hot spot, that sweet spot. And they can tune into it kind of like when you're playing tennis and you hit the ball in the racket at that sweet spot.

You don't need to put a lot of effort into it. But when you hit it there, you can tune how you use your racket and put that ball right in the right place where you want to put it. Now, do you do it right? Do you do it accurately every single time? No, no, no, no, no, I'm not saying you have to be hitting it 100%. But each time you're doing it you can refine it and get better at it and improve.

Seeing how you and yourself are, your brain and your body, your mental health and your physical health. So let me now circle back to mental health. Simone Biles and this space where mental health and physical health overlap. Where not only is there this amazing synergy, but it's where our true remarkable performance, where our best work can actually happen.

When we can tune into those inner messages, that inherent intelligence, even if you don't like what you're hearing. When you can listen to those, we can really serve ourselves. And what I see in Simone is an incredible power at serving herself. Of taking up the space, of owning her experience, of honoring whatever that internal world is of hers.

It no longer matters what anyone else thinks. Whether someone is praising her or is dissing her, it does not matter. And that's ultimately where each of us can get to when we're tuned into that inner authority. When we can tune into that inner wisdom. When we can tune in to that inner power. There's a quietness, there's just this knowing. There's a seat that we can sit of just like “Yes, this is me. This is my best work. This is my best performance.” And that is what I love about watching Simone.

So while I have you here, there's an opportunity. If you're someone who really honors mastery. Who honors performance. Who wants yourself to do your own very, very best work. To see what performance levels you are capable of, I would love to talk with you.

I have one to one programs. For those of you who want to dig into it for your own self I have my group program Healing and Revealing Human Potential. And if you are a health professional who wants to take these concepts and work with your own clients, we have the yoga therapy certification program. You can reach us to talk more about these at [email protected]

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