In London in the early 1950s, Jeremy Morris led a study called The Cohort Studies. The aim of the study was to understand the importance of physical health. By comparing bus drivers with more physically active bus conductors, as well as office-based telephonists with more physically active postmen, it became clear that those with more physically active jobs had a lower risk of heart disease. They also needed smaller-size uniforms. The study helped determine the importance of physical health.
Further studies went on to show that physical health is important for all age groups in preventing illnesses, and that physical health benefits mental health. I believe this is something we all take for granted now, isn’t it?
When I heard about The Cohort Studies a few years ago, two thoughts came to mind:
- First, have we only known about the importance of physical health for 70 years?
- Second, how long will it take before we all know that training the mind is as important as training the body – if not even more?
Perhaps the disparity on training the body versus training the mind comes down to living in the external world and focusing on what we notice with our senses. The external world is visible. We notice changes on our body with physical activity and it makes us feel good. That is all good. However, training the body is not always enough for dealing with the tougher challenges we all encounter in one way or another during our lifetime.
I was going through the hardest time of my life when I understood I had to do something radical to end up well. I continued doing physical exercise and I started meditating. For me, meditation was the only option towards freedom from an over-busy mind. I somehow knew I had to go inside my mind and take control. A well-meaning health professional recommended that I take anti-depressants to deal with the state I was in. I wanted to overcome the hardship myself. There is incredible power in the mind and so I decided to take charge by believing in my own power.
The power of the mind is within all of us. It is not visible and can only be measured with electrodes attached to your head! So nothing to see on the outside. Yet it is real. We can gain knowledge by reading books and articles about the mind, but for mind training to work you have to really do the work. Whether you have an agitated mind or not, there are numerous mind and health benefits from sitting or lying down, closing your eyes and taking a pause from the external world. Following the breath as it moves in and out of the body.
How about taking some time on a daily basis to tame the mind instead of allowing it to run free like wild horses? You could try it and see what happens 🙏