If you don’t think there’s a mind body connection and that its relationship can have an impact on your well-being, think again.
Your perceptions, thoughts, emotions, memories, and physical experiences all influence what is happening in your brain. So too, what happens in your brain, ultimately influences your body, thoughts, emotions, perceptions and formation of memory.
Mind Body Connection on the Brain
The brain communicates with the body and the body communicates with the brain not just because of the involvement of the complex network of your neurological system, but also because every system of your body, including your immune system, are involved.
This communication essentially happens through feelings or sensations, which are the body’s way of letting you know when it is out of balance and needs help. Tired? Your body is letting you know you need rest. Hungry? You need food. Anxious? You need to feel safe.
Feelings relate to your state of well-being, energy, stress level, mood, or disposition. When you pay attention, you listen to those feelings, you then can listen to the body’s cries for help and take care of them. When you don’t listen, in contrast, the body’s whisper’s can become screams, or illness. This is the mind body connection at play.
Take your gut, for instance. You have about a hundred million neurons lining your gut that enable you to “feel” the internal world of your gastrointestinal tract. It is where ninety fiver percent of your serotonin comes from and a large percentage of your immune system exists. This internal world guides not only digestion, but also your emotions and state of mental well-being.
According to Emeran Mayer, a professor of physiology, psychiatry, and biobehavioral sciences at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, these neurons are not just responsible for enabling you to digest food; they also direct your emotions.
Now, take anxiety, for example. Usually anxiety is associated with drops in serotonin, which are associated with changes in the activity of the gut. You may experience this change as “butterflies” in the stomach.
These “butterflies” are the way your gut tells your brain that you are in danger. This could also happen if you eat the wrong food or something that “doesn’t agree” with you.
When your serotonin levels rise, your mind and body feel good or at least better. The problem may be that you eat a certain food that raises your serotonin levels temporarily (like sugars and fats) and you feel good, but you soon feel worse because the same foods are inflammatory to your gut and body. The inflammation causes the stress response to be activated, serotonin levels to fall, and now you are out of sorts again.
For this reason, it is important to be not only aware of what you choose to eat, but also be aware of how your body feels at any given moment and why you make the choices you make. For instance, you may choose to eat a whole pint of ice cream because it sooths your nerves. It works temporarily only, if that. You are better off taking care of why our nerves are on edge in the first place rather than eating mindlessly, which hurts your more.
Your mind body connection and consciousness which is your spirit, and your social and personal interactions as well as your environment and biology are all inextricably woven into a single process. Your breathing, heart rate and stress levels are influenced by everything, and you influence all of them, by what you think, eat and do.
The bottom line is that there is plenty you can do to be in control of your health, your thoughts and your state of well-being, especially of your immune system. You have the POWER to do so, the question is, will you choose to.
Selhub, Eva, M.D. (2015-04-07). Health Destiny: How to Unlock Your Natural Ability to Overcome Illness, Feel Better, and Live Longer (p. 50). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.
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