The mind body connection refers to the interaction of thoughts, emotions and physical functioning. It is an approach to health that looks beyond pure biology in identifying and treating illnesses and disease.
Modern western medicine was, for a long time, primarily concerned with biological causes of disease and illness. The focus was on pathogens and mutations, and the resulting deviation from normal function. Treatment was also focused on eliminating the pathogens and the mutations (by surgical or chemical means).
However, there is more to an illness or disease than coming into contact with germs or the inability to overcome environmental or genetic factors.
Today, an increasing number of doctors who practice western medicine are starting to recognize and apply the immense power of the mind to create a state of well-being in the body. There is an increased awareness of the role the patient’s mindset plays in healing; and the causes of disease are now almost universally attributed in large part to emotional stress.
What might surprise you, then, is that there is no such thing as the mind body connection. Why? Because a ‘connection’ implies two separate entities. But the mind and the body are inseparable. They are aspects of the same thing. The body (including the brain) is a physical entity and the mind is nonphysical; however, since everything is made up of energy, where does the mind ‘end’ and the body ‘begin’? How can the mind, which is pure energy, not be an intrinsic part of the body, which is localized energy vibrating at a certain frequency?
Think of the mind and the body as different aspects of the whole; they are two sides of a coin (how can you have only one side, right?).
Yes, that sounds a bit ‘out there’ but you have probably experienced the real manifestation of this unity (again, not connection): whenever you are depressed for a prolonged period, your health suffers. Whenever you are ill for a prolonged period or you are coping with disease, your outlook on life changes. Those are the big things you might notice. But even on a day to day basis, your mood can change at the drop of a hat and this will have positive or negative consequences in your body!
Scientists have proven that repetitive thoughts alter brain chemistry, which in turn affects the body in desirable or undesirable ways. So it’s not lack of serotonin that causes depression, it’s the repetition of depressing thoughts that cause a suppression of serotonin production – creating a downward slide into depression. It becomes a sort of infinite loop of negative thoughts, suppressed serotonin, depressed emotional state, more negative thoughts, even less serotonin… and even though anti-depressants can alter the brain’s chemistry, if the underlying cause – persistent negative thoughts – is not addressed, no real healing will ever take place and the patient will be reliant on anti-depressants.
However, there is hope. The power of the mind can be harnessed in conjunction with the use of anti-depressants to start an upward spiral: the anti-depressants alter the brain’s chemistry, resulting in an improved emotional state; this in turn promotes positive thinking, which, IF practiced persistently, will improve the emotional state even more.
Approach your physical, mental and emotional health from a holistic perspective where you nurture all of these aspects of yourself. Whenever you improve your mental/emotional health, you improve your physical health; and if you don’t allow a physical ailment to disrupt your positive emotions and positive thoughts, then the ailment will be short-lived and you’ll quickly return to a positive, happy state of being.
Here are some helpful tips on how to reverse the trend of negative thinking/negative feeling/poor health:
1. Visualize: use the Silva Method to learn powerful visualization techniques to improve your mindset. In your imagination, ‘see’ and feel yourself in perfect health. This is a real challenge if you are currently sick or have some debilitating condition because it’s difficult to look beyond ‘what is’ and convince yourself that ‘what you want’ or ‘what can be’ is possible. Daily practice is a must, and you can develop the discipline to visualize daily, using the Silva Method self-development exercises.
2. Affirmations: positive self-talk helps create the mental/emotional environment for good health. It’s a perfect complement to visualization and when used consistently and repeatedly, it really does work to create positive change. Self-talk is best done in the alpha brainwave state when you are relaxed and more open to suggestion. Use the Silva countdown method and other relaxation exercises to enter the alpha state where you can do powerful work on yourself – and see fast results!
3. Daily meditation: when you focus on feeling good; and you do this consistently and repeatedly; you will start thinking happier thoughts and feeling happier emotions. Meditation relieves stress, which is the leading cause of illness and disease (or an important contributing factor if not a direct cause). When you can lessen or eliminate chronic stress, it’s like a heavy weight has been lifted off your shoulders – your outlook is sunnier, your mood is better, and you quickly start to feel better.
Try this experiment right now to see how powerful the mind body connection is to your well-being: cross your arms and frown. Now say, “I am happy.” You aren’t FEELING happy, right, even though you’re saying it! Your body is influencing your mind with a closed off, “I’m vulnerable” attitude! Then, uncross your arms, extend them forward in a welcoming gesture, smile, and say, “I am happy.” Did you notice how this time, you actually experience the positive feelings of happiness? It’s amazing, isn’t it?
So apply this when you feel bad in some way (whether physically or emotionally): go stand in front of the mirror – or if you can’t stand up, have someone bring you a small mirror. Open your posture as much as you can to expose your heart. Smile at yourself, and say, “I am happy.” Then allow that good feeling to permeate your body. Repeat, often.