The mind-body connection suggests that our physical health is a reflection of our mental state and that our mental state is a reflection of known and unknown physiology.
The growing research in the field of the mind-body connection and quantum physics tells us that there is more to the human body than what we simply can see under a microscope. To ignore this completely, and solely focus on what physical evidence we can measure and quantify is like looking at only a portion of the picture of health and well-being.
According to Dr. Deepak Chopra, a respected New England endocrinologist,
“To get an idea of how limited our current knowledge is, consider the structure of a neuron. The neurons that compose the brain and the central nervous system “talk” to one another across gaps called synapses. …Everyone possesses billions of these cells….at any one time, the possible combination of signals jumping across the synapses of the brain exceed the number of atoms in the known universe. The signals also communicate with one another at lightning speed. To read this sentence, your brain takes a few milliseconds to arrange a precise pattern of millions of signals, only to dissolve them instantly, never to be repeated again in exactly the same way.”
This is happening, by the way, all the time, without any deliberate action on our part, inside every human.
What we consciously engage in and focus on dictates the way our minds and bodies function subconsciously. Ninety-five percent of our thoughts are controlled by our subconscious. So if you make conscious decisions that cause you to be stressed out then subconsciously your brain will continue to have thoughts to keep you stressed out.
Research shows our emotions, feelings and thoughts have an instantaneous effect on our entire physiology. As an illustration, when you have a “stressful thought” such as “I’m in poor health”, “I’m not ready for this exam”, “I’m behind in my mortgage”, etc, the body releases epinephrine (adrenaline) which causes the fight or flight response. Excessive “stress” CAN cause headaches, muscle tension, chest pain, fatigue, poor sleeping patterns, anxiety, depression, mood swings, and many other negative physiological effects. The human physiology likes patterns. So if we get into a pattern of having stressful thoughts then our bodies will habitually be in a state of fight or flight in turn causing our minds to be in a state of stress. Hopefully you can see the vicious cycle that is taking place here. Basically, mind stress creates body stress and body stress creates mind stress.
When I asked several people about their views on stress, many responded that it is bad for our health. Some went in depth on how stress releases cortisol (the stress hormone) which breaks down your body. Although a few responded differently, most shared the same perception, STRESS IS BAD! However, recent studies have shown that stress itself is actually BENEFICIAL to our health and it is actually how we perceive stress that dictates whether or not the stress has harmful effects on the body. If we focus on stress as being negative then all the inevitable stresses of life will take a toll on the brain and body. However, those who view stress as beneficial to their health show no increases in having negative physiological factors mentioned previously. (Which is why CAN is larger text, bolded, underlined, and italicized) It is all about how we see things!
In a nutshell, the mind-body connection is the response your body has to what goes on in our mind and how the mind responds to our physical state. This connection can be strongly influenced by our perceptions and the context in which we look at something.
So what can you do to improve your mind-body connection? Try this: Write down 3 things you wish to improve upon. It can be anything from exercising more often, eating a bit better, or improving a current relationship. (For example, I would like to exercise everyday.)
Now write down your viewpoint on why you would like to improve that item and the reason why you aren’t already where you want to be..(I would like to exercise everyday because I want to get in shape for next summer. I haven’t been in shape because I don’t really like exercise and don’t really follow any nutrition plan.)
Next write down the viewpoint that will lead to a better mind-body connection and then write down why you want to have that viewpoint. (I will workout everyday, crush my nutrition plan, and enjoy doing it because I will ultimately feel better throughout the day and have better relationships with my friends and family).
Allysian Sciences, comp. “Rethink Your Beliefs.” Allysian Sciences Mindkeys 23.11 (2015): 8. Allysian Sciences. Web. 16 Sept. 2016.
Chopra, Deepak, and Leon Nacson. A Deepak Chopra Companion: Illuminations on Health and Human Consciousness. New York: Three Rivers, 1999. Web.
@PsychToday. “Beyond the Mind-body Connection.” Psychology Today. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Sept. 2016.