Minding the Body


How the Body Knows Its Mind: The surprising power of the physical environment to influence how you think and feel by Sian Beilock
Atria Books, January 1, 2015

If you’ve ever taken a break from your work and suddenly had an important insight, or focused on your breath as you struggle to manage a flood of emotion, then you’ve already lived the truths explored in How the Body Knows Its Mind. Author Sian Beilock makes a convincing argument that our bodies greatly affect and influence both what and how our minds think, whether we are aware of those influences or not. Proceeding on the reasonable grounds that it’s better to understand this body-mind relationship, Beilock gives a quick tour through the most relevant research from the last century plus of neuroscience, and then goes on to explore how facial expressions create emotions, how gestures reveal feelings, how movement and creativity are connected, and why elite athletes can predict performance simply by watching one another, among many other related strands. The book concludes by exploring issues of mental and physical health, making a strong case that mindfulness and the natural environment can improve memory, focus, and self-regulation. Without getting overly technical, Beilock gives copious food for thought to educators and parents alike about why curriculum and instruction should pay more attention to the physical and sensorial experiences of children.

Submitted By: Zachary Roberts, Gateway School, Santa Cruz, CA

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