Is There a Mind-Body Connection?
Every day most of us prove this connection to ourselves by engaging in a common activity–worrying. After all, what is worrying? It is making up a negative thought in our mind to which our body responds–with tears, increased heart rate and blood pressure, irregular breathing, increased muscle tension, stomach tension, etc. One negative thought has caused millions of cellular biochemical reactions.
In fact rather than a “connection” mind and body can be considered as one entity.
What is Mind-Body Medicine?
Mind-Body Medicine is the concept that our thoughts, feelings, support sources, past experiences, stress levels and coping skills can significantly affect our health, and vice versa, as illness impacts how we view and relate to our lives. Paying attention to optimizing these factors can not only increase our sense of well being, but can have practical health results.
We are experiencing an explosion of research that shows how these factors directly translate into physiologic changes in our bodies. Overwhelming evidence has shown the independent effects of stress, trauma and poor interpersonal relationships on various systems of the body, including the immune, hormone, digestive, and cardiovascular systems, and even DNA itself. Similarly exercise, relaxation techniques, positive imagery, mindfulness, and positive coping skills and attitudes such as compassion, forgiveness, gratitude, generosity, and social interaction have extensive research-based positive health outcomes.
By recognizing and modifying our physical, emotional and spiritual responses to life’s challenges, we can to some degree influence their impact.