Do your hands shake when you’re feeling nervous? Do you have headaches whenever you’re stressed at work? Do you know anyone diagnosed with a stomach ulcer after the passing of a loved one? Do you know a cancer patient who endured less pain after participating in mindfulness therapies? These are only a few examples that further establish a link between the mind and the body.
The mind and body connection is a familiar topic to many people. Your body reacts based on emotional triggers and any disruption in your emotional health may manifest as physical symptoms.
History of the Mind & Body Connection
Back in the 17th century, experts believed that the mind and the body were two distinct entities, which have no link whatsoever. It led to the development of different medical techniques and advancements in various areas of medicine based on this premise. As people focused more on these aspects, experts continually undervalued the ability of the mind to help the body heal naturally.
Changes to this viewpoint started to take place during the 20th century. Researchers conducted various scientific inquiries as they increasingly recognized a connection between the mind and the body. These studies also validated various popular mind and body practices such as yoga and meditation.
How Can Your Emotions Affect Your Physical Health?
Your body releases hormones that give you an energy boost to help you deal with stressful or dangerous situations. But there are many instances when your body produces these hormones even if your physical safety is not at risk. Persistently elevated levels of these substances can harm your body, through chronic stress.
For example, having a family history of cancer doesn’t automatically mean that you’ll suffer from this condition too. Yes, you’ll be at risk, but there’s also a chance that you won’t get cancer. However, if you believe that you will develop cancer no matter what, this negative thought pattern can lead to serious health problems.
If a negative attitude can lead to health issues, a positive attitude can also help to alleviate pre-existing health problems. Under these conditions, your brain releases endorphins, which are known as your body’s natural painkillers. It also produces gamma globulin, which helps boost the immune system. These hormones help heal the body without medication or surgery.
Does this mean you’ll never need a medical intervention whenever you’re sick? No. You still need to seek the help of a health professional. But keeping a positive attitude will help you feel better and heal faster.
How Can You Use Your Mind to Improve Your Health?
If you want to use the power of your mind to start healing your body and improve your health, here’s how you can start to do just that.
- Expect the treatments to work – Believe that whatever medical treatment you’re getting will help improve your condition. Whether it’s taking pills or undergoing physical therapy, remind yourself of all the benefits it has to offer.
- Think of things to be grateful for to enjoy a more relaxing sleep – Your mind and body need enough sleep to function properly. If you have trouble sleeping at night, try to think of things that you are thankful for.
- Be optimistic – Look at the brighter side of things always. If you remain optimistic, you’re more likely to take care of your health. It will help boost your immunity.
- Manage stress through meditation – Studies show that meditation doesn’t only help get rid of stress but also gives you inner peace. Aside from improving your emotional health, meditation can also help you manage the symptoms of various health conditions, including chronic pain, tension headaches, high blood pressure, and even cancer.
- Live with a purpose in mind – Research revealed that knowing what your purpose is in this world can help you live a longer life. Knowing that your life has meaning will make you take care of your health better.
- Laughter is good for your health – You’ve probably heard others say that laughter is the best medicine. Laughing helps reduce stress and boosts your immune system. It offers pain relief and reduces inflammation. It lets you connect with others and improves your relationship with those you love.
There’s still a lot to learn about the complicated link between the mind and body, but you can’t deny the fact that your mental health has a significant effect on your physical well-being and vice versa. Improve your mental strength, and you’ll notice positive changes to your physical health as well.