The mind body connection: How changing one affects the other

improving life, changes to body and mind

You can have a gut wrenching feeling, or choke under pressure. A pain in the neck or having you blood boil, have nothing to do with your neck or blood.

Do our emotions cause physical changes?

Can our mind change your body or our body your mind?

Multiple Personalities

In the book The treatment of Mutiple personality Disorder, Psychiatrist Bennett Braun recounts the story of Timmy.

Timmy had multiple personality disorder. One personality was allergic to orange juice and the other was not.

The personality who was allergic, would break into blistering hives when he drank orange juice. However, when he was in the non-allergic personality, he was perfectly fine.

If the allergic personality was in the midst of an allergy attack and shifted to the non-allergic personality, the hives would instantly disappear.

Thoughts and the unborn baby

A fascinating study conducted in Japan, shows how the mother’s emotions can affect the baby.

Two sets of pregnant mothers were asked to watch movies with their headphones (so that the sound does not affect the baby).

One set watched the clip from the end of 1979’s The Champ, in which, a kid’s dad dies after a boxing match.

The second set watched a clip of Julie Andrews The Sound of Music.

The fetuses of the moms watching The Sound of Music were more active. On the other hand, the fetuses of the moms watching the little kid losing his father were subdued. Based on the results, researchers theorized that the mothers emotions were affecting the fetus.


Our mind and body acting as one

These studies make it clear that our mind, our beliefs and way of thinking, triggers several reactions in our body, which has still not been definitively quantified by science.

When our mind and body are not in sync, we experience several symptoms. The changes in our body are usually more apparent and easier to notice. We are aware of them almost instantly.

On the other hand, the changes in our body affecting our mind are more subtle or go unnoticed more often.

For example, motion sickness is the imbalance between what you see and what you feel. Our body is in motion, but our mind refuses to catch up. The symptoms we notice are dizziness and nausea.

On the other hand, anxiety is our body trying to catch up to your mind. Our thoughts and fears manifest themselves as increased pulse and breathing rate.

In both cases we notice the physical symptoms first.

But that does not make it a one way street. Our physical fitness changes our mind as well. As, one study shows, improving fitness is key to prevent dementia.

We have heard stories of about how, incorporating a running habit changed different areas of their life for the better.

We are one whole being and should be treated as such

Western medicine is amazing in many ways and has saved countless lives.

But it’s lacking in one important aspect.

The body is divided into several different parts and there is a specialist for each of them.

There is an eye doctor, ent specialist, cardiologist, neurologist, dentist.

Each of them study a different part of the body as a separate entity, but fail to see them collectively.

The result? Symptoms are cured, but the disease ignored.

Dividing our body into specializations, cures the symptoms but not the disease.

For example, a dentist can treat periodontist (severe gum disease), but may miss it’s connection as an early sign of type 2 diabetes or osteoporosis.

And the mind is delegated to mental health specialists, and is not recognized as connected to the body.

Only when we are considered and treated as a whole being can we achieve complete health.


Reach your mind through your body

Reaching our mind through our body is the easiest way.

It’s very simple to incorporate changes to our body, which will in turn affect the mind positively.

What makes it simple?

The changes we make physically are measurable. The way we feel and the way we move makes the changes we make evident.

Food

Our entire body is connected to the mind and our gut has a direct line.

Ever felt nauseous before an important meeting?

Lost your appetite because of a break up?

There is a constant dialogue between the brain and gut. A break down in communication, can cause several things to go wrong.

What we eat is important. But how we eat is more important. Diet is only as useful and effective as our body’s ability to absorb it.

Best practices to get the most out of our food.

  • Wait till you are really hungry.
  • Sit down and eat slowly. Relish your food.
  • Eat light after dark.
  • Eat your proteins first, because proteins need hydrochloric acid to break down . The best time to have it, is when there is plenty of available – at the start of the meal.
  • Fast a few times a year.
  • Spice it up. Spices help greatly with the digestion of food.

Excercise

We are already familiar about the physical benefits of exercise. But moving our body provides a lot more than just physical advantages.

This article gives all the details of how exercise affects our mood – aka mind

The byproducts of building exercise into our routine includes: increased inner strength, grit and productivity.

Sunlight

Human body is designed to spend most of the time outdoors.

Sunlight has a profound effect on our body and mind.

We all know how sunlight is a key player in providing the much needed vitamin D. The benefits of sunlight go far beyond vitamin D.

Sunlight releases serotonin, which increases our focus and calms us. Improves our sleep, which means better mood, improved productivity and performance.

Body language affects our thinking

An interesting experiment was conducted to demonstrate how the manner of our walk affects our memories.

In this experiment, participants were split into two groups. A computer and camera was used to measure the way they walked. A needle that went from left to right was displayed. Left meant happy walk and right , unhappy walk.

The participants were asked to keep their needles to the left or right without letting them know what it actually meant.

The group that had to keep their needle left were asked to walk with a straight back and light skipping steps.

The other group were asked to take heavy steps with drooping shoulders.

After that, both groups were presented with a list of words – both positive (beautiful, hope, harmony) and negative(ugly, angry, filthy). Then, they were asked to write down the words they remembered.

The results showed, the participants with the happy walk were able to recall mostly positive words and the opposite was true for participants with the sad walk.

The conclusion – our posture doesn’t just affect the way we think, but also the things we pay attention to and remember.

Reach your body through your mind

Meditation

This article shows how meditation can make our exercise more effective, which in turn leads to physical and mental benefits.

Meditation can improve a lot more than our mental health.

Frequent meditators have lower amounts of lipid peroxide,a harmful compound that hardens the arteries and causes atherosclerosis. Recent studies have also indicated that practicing meditation lowers blood pressure.

According to a study carried out at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2003, frequent sessions improved the immune system.

Better sleep, helping chronic illness and improving pain tolerance are all huge side effects of meditation.


We cannot make changes to one aspect of life without affecting several others. This can be used to our advantage.

One simple change to our routine – be it positive changes to our food or the way we eat it, or our decision to spend more time out doors – can all unlock a snowball effect and make drastic changes to our life and well being.

What tiny change will you incorporate today?


Help me help someone take a tiny step towards improving their lives. Tweet it, share this on facebook or pinterest. Tiny steps = HUGE changes.

6 Comments

  1. jvtripioauthor

    Well done! I have incorporated and actualized many of these wisdoms in my daily life over the last few years. As a result I have never felt better. The keystone practice for me though is yoga. It precedes my meditation. I start everyday with a short practice and often end a day with a short practice. Each time, I connect, not just breathe with the asanas, but the mind as well. In effect I customize each practice with my mental energy. Anyway, thanks again.

    Like

    1. coffeeonthehouse

      Thank you for taking the time to comment. Yes, I feel a distinct difference in my mood and thinking during the bright summer days vs the gloomy winter ones. Sunlight receives a lot of bad rap. But I personally think, we are made to be out in the sun and benefit from it.

      Like

  2. Ethereal Empathy

    Fantastic post! This is truly fascinating stuff! That story about Timmy is incredible, I had never heard of something like that happening before. It is crazy how the mind and body work together. When I was a little kid I didn’t like going to church. I realized that if I believed hard enough that I was sick, I could actually in fact make myself feel and appear sick (nausea and even fever). Makes you think about the potential of this. Meditation is certainly awesome and I like how to take into consideration all aspects of health 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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