Body and Mind: What’s Their Relationship?

Answers from our reader survey on the mind–body connection.

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What is your strongest sense perception?

The most acute sense among respondents was hearing, with 34%. Sight is the runner-up (28%), followed by the mysterious sixth sense, at 17%. Smell and touch were tied with 10% each, and only 1% chose taste.

What is your favorite exercise to do mindfully?

  • Walking
  • Weight lifting
  • Hiking
  • Kayaking
  • Mindful aikido
  • Karate
  • Dancing
  • Cleaning the house
  • Barre classes
  • Reiki
  • Biking

Body and mind: How do they get along?

Mindful survey results

When do you feel most centered?

 Do you practice mindful eating?

23% say they cultivate the habit of eating mindfully. 36% have tried it once or twice. 16% eat mindfully only when they’re not too hungry (we’ve all been there!). 20% have never tried a mindful eating practice. Finally, 5% make the case that mindfulness shouldn’t relate to pressures about so-called right and wrong ways to eat.

Do you practice mindful eating? 36% of readers said they have tried it once or twice.

What is your favorite food to eat mindfully?

  • “Peanuts.”
  • “Baby carrots…or potato chips.”
  • “My first cup of coffee in the morning!”
  • “A Malteser.”
  • “Dessert.”
  • “If I have to eat something mindfully, it needs to be chewy and/or sticky, like dried fruit.”
  • “Biryani.”
  • “Salad—so many things grown from the earth, picked by hand, and made available to me with nutrients to fuel my body.”
  • “Wine and cheese.”
  • “Anything crunchy and juicy and fresh.”
  • “Chocolate!”
  • “Probably something smooth like yogurt.”
  • “Sushi.”

Do physical cues (e.g., sitting up straight, deep breathing) help you to practice mindfulness?

Mindful survey results

Hugs are …

  • 58% A genuine way to connect physically and emotionally. Hugs all around!
  • 37% Nice, but only with good friends or family members.
  • 1% Reserved for family reunions or under duress.
  • 4% Awkward. I want my personal space.

What emotion creates the strongest feeling in your body?

The least powerful physical response comes from relief, with only 3%. Sadness and happiness also scored low (7% and 8%), and love only a little higher at 11%. Unpleasant emotions had the highest scores: fear (18%), anger (19%), and anxiety (34%).

In one word, how would you describe the relationship between your mind and body?

  • “A journey.”
  • “Complicated.”
  • “Attuned.”
  • “Strengthening.”
  • “Progressing.”
  • “Overrated.”
  • “Compelling.”
  • “Struggling.”
  • “Integrated.”
  • “Tentative.”
  • “Give-and-take.”
  • “Inextricable.”
  • “Mysterious.”
  • “Scattered.”
  • “Balancing.”
  • “Compassionate.”
  • “Can’t do a word…a love in progress.”

This article appeared in the June 2018 issue of Mindful magazine.