“How Does One Bring One’s Mind and Body Back Together? The Best Means Is ___”

In The Awakened Eye, Ross Parmenter writes, “How does one bring one’s mind and body back together? The best means is a vacation.”

Hmmmm…I think there are many ways a person could answer the question, “How does one bring one’s mind and body back together?”

I think some people would say “Meditation.” As I write about in Better Than Before, meditation wasn’t helpful for me, but many people do find it useful.

For me, I’ve found, I can bring my body and mind together by mindfully enjoying the experience of my body. Which is delightful.

For instance, I take a moment to enjoy my sense of smell. We can enjoy beautiful scents without any time, energy, or money; a scent ties us to the present moment, because we can’t bookmark it, or save it for later, or even continue to experience it for very long. In my book Happier at Home, I write about the power of the sense of smell, and all I did to try to get more good smells into my life (and also get rid of bad smells, very helpful!)

I also deliberately notice the colors around me. I’ve become obsessed with color. So many beautiful colors, so many fascinating aspects of seeing color.

Do you agree that a vacation is a good way to bring your mind and body back together?

How would you fill in the blank?

  • anna

    Hi Gretchen!

    Would you be able to do a post or maybe even discuss on the podcast how exactly you conduct your research when writing the books or building the frameworks? I’d love to learn more about the scientific studies or books you consult, and sort of just how your process works to form the larger ideas that you discuss. For example, how did you go about identifying the four tendencies? Did you talk with your friends or observe a larger group of people? Are there journals or researchers that you regularly consult?

    Thanks for all you do!

    • gretchenrubin

      It would be so fun to talk about that! Thanks for the suggestion.

      Gretchen Rubin

      Visit my blog

      My podcast, Happier with Gretchen Rubin
      My books:Better Than Before —New York Times bestseller
      The Happiness Project —#1 New York Times bestseller
      Join the discussion on Facebook @gretchenrubin

  • Gillian

    I agree that the best way is a vacation – that provides an extended period when we can let go of our daily cares and focus on reconnecting with ourselves. I also agree with you, Gretchen, that we can achieve the effect in smaller moments. For me, Nature is a source of such moments – sitting on the beach listening to the waves roll in; walking in the woods; or simply watching a humming bird dancing around the flowers in my garden. Music will also do it – for example the slow movement of a Beethoven work can connect me to my soul and my soul to the wider universe.

  • Mimi Gregor

    I disagree that a vacation is the best way. It is simply one way, and a problematic way at best. What happens when the vacation is inevitably over? Also, how much of a vacation is it, when people keep plugged in so that they don’t miss anything at home? I think that meditation is a better way over the long haul, as it is something that you do every day, presumably without checking FaceBook every five minutes.

    • gretchenrubin

      I agree. It’s a very sweeping statement!

      Gretchen Rubin

      Visit my blog

      My podcast, Happier with Gretchen Rubin
      My books:Better Than Before —New York Times bestseller
      The Happiness Project —#1 New York Times bestseller
      Join the discussion on Facebook @gretchenrubin

  • Tessa

    The best means is by stopping. Stopping. Completely stopping. And a vacation – or the way I take a vacation – does not include stopping. For me, ‘stopping’ involves putting aside time to assess where I am, what I need to do, what the future holds, how I can best be prepared. I also like cleaning and tidying my environment – getting ordered and organised. I make the lists and the detailed action plans – the ‘maps’ for the way forward – and, when I am ready, I ‘hop back on board’ the busy-ness of life.

  • Janet

    Yoga, for me at least, is the best way. Have been practicing on and off since 1969. Been a teacher for 6 yrs. Its almost impossible to execute a yoga pose and not be present in the body-mind.

  • statmam

    When my mind and body de-couple, it’s usually because my mind is moving faster than my body… MUCH faster. To restore synchronicity requires slowing my mind and revving up my body. A long brisk walk accomplishes both.

  • Suzie Welch Carpenter

    When my kids were little, I used to think I needed to “get away”, take a vacation to experience happiness AND intimacy with my husband…especially during all the sleepless nights with my daughter on the autistic spectrum.

    Then it dawned on me that I needed to find bliss in all the good moments, to create happiness with what was right in front of me. Eventually the ability to accept our reality created more love and more happiness.

    In my recently released book, On The Bright Side: A Mother’s Story of Love and Healing Through Her Daughter’s Autism, I talk about the journey of finding a zen place, a place where mind body and spirit come together to create peace no matter what is happening around you….check it out on Amazon 🙂

  • Jen Ken

    For me the best way is dancing. I salsa dance during the week and focusing on the music, my movements, and what my partner is leading is a form of meditation. My favorite is a style called rueda de casino which is danced in a group with a caller. It’s so fun to work together to execute the calls synchronously. Plus it’s the only exercise that I’ll do for hours on a consistent basis.

  • Katherine

    Swimming. Especially in a lake or swimming hole, because you have physical sensations such as current, and warm and cold spots that you don’t get in everyday, on-land, life. Your mind is immersed in your environment and making sure your body is swimming.