First Aid Training & The Body Mind Fusion
Despite mind and body going hand in hand in so many ways we often still seem to separate them in the Western world. Yet we talk about emotion in such a physical sense - 'being heart-broken'; 'feeling kicked in the guts'; 'getting cold feet'; 'having butterflies in our stomach' and so on. Eastern philospies of Buddhism, Taoism and traditional Chinese medicine have for centuries viewed health as a balance and interplay between the mind and the body, with the two being interlinked and interdependent. We are in the West though, it seems, coming to understand much more about how emotional trauma and stress can take a very real physical toll on our bodies.
In our First Aid for Mental Health courses at Respond Training we discuss the effect of hormonal changes in the body, such as the release of adrenaline and cortisol, during what’s commonly known as the ‘flight or flight’ response. This amazing survival mechanism can kick in pretty instantaneously and keeps us safe and alert. It also gives us the ‘power to perform’ to some extent. We’ve all had that heart-racing, breath-quickening, muscle-tensing, upper lip-moistening moment, both in a good way and a bad way, I’m sure ! BUT.. and it’s a big but. If we’re constantly experiencing situations or thoughts that place us under excessive or continual pressure, we’re likely to experience damage to our blood vessels, raised blood glucose levels and increased fat deposits (caused by our bodies trying to replenish energy stores), to name a few. Ultimately the outcome can be heart attacks, strokes, diabetes and brain changes that might contribute to mental health conditions. I think one of the most relatable and powerful parts of our Mental Health First Aid course is that we can ‘put the brakes’ on this stress response and counteract it with relaxation and other techniques. When the penny drops that something may actually physiologically change in our bodies when we go for a walk in the woods, meditate or even relax in scented bath, then these don’t seem such ‘airy-fairy’ ideas that we just haven’t got time for. Yoga, of course, is another brilliant way to counter the stress response with the relaxation response. Its deep breathing techniques, fluid movements and mental focus are all excellent for countering the physical effects of external, and our own internal, stressors. So, I'm particularly delighted to be teaming up with the fantastic Maria, at Orchard Life, in Berkshire to offer an Emergency First Aid at Work course to yoga teachers and other alternative and hollistic practioners - with anyone else who wishes to renew or gain this qualification welcome - in a beautiful and relaxing setting, just a few miles from the M4. We are also planning a Mental Health First Aid Course at the same venue in the autumn, so do get in touch if you would be interested to attend.
At Respond Training we are fascinated by the fusion of mind and body and would love to hear your thoughts and experiences.