Mind-Body Connection

Mind body connection refers to the relationship between the mind and body, particularly with regard to health. It is predicated on the belief that a person's thoughts and emotions affect the body, as do social and behavioral factors. The purpose is to gain a heightened awareness of the relationship, to become more attuned to this interaction and to lead a healthier life as a result. A strong and healthy body is believed to have a positive effect on the mind, and a positive mind correspondingly allows for a healthy strong body.

In recent times there has been a far greater focus on the significance of the mind body connection. The supposition is that being in touch with one's emotions, thoughts and behaviors leads to a good state of emotional health. This in turn leads to a healthy physical state of being. People who are emotionally healthy perceive themselves in a positive light, and are able to conduct healthy relationships. Stress is well managed when there is a healthy emotional foundation, and problems are treated as a part of life rather than as overwhelming.

The body is generally an indicator of the person's thought processes. The way one thinks is seen to have a direct link on the way the body functions. Feelings move through the body creating a physical reaction to the emotional level of being. Actions and behavior modalities affect the body according to the way the body is treated. Thus, stress or anxiety makes the body feel a certain way. Furthermore, an actual bodily manifestation may occur such as an ulcer or high blood pressure when emotions are held in, or extreme stress is experienced. Physical symptoms may appear that are in reality due to something that has been experienced. For instance, back or chest pain may be felt at stressful times, as well as conditions such as dry mouth, headaches, insomnia, appetite changes and a range of other physical examples. The body's immune system can be worn down by poor emotional health, precipitating a chain effect on organs in the body. The more a person is able to realize the connection between mind and body, the more easily he or she is able to move toward a healthier way of being.

Doctors treating patients from a holistic point of view have an understanding of the mind body connection. Patients who seek medical advice when their orientation is one of understanding the mind body connection will turn to doctors or holistic healers who work in this way. Very often there is an educational strategy involved, indicating the importance of positive thoughts creating healthy minds and bodies, with a negative disposition having an adverse reaction. Naturally doctors will check both whether the physical symptom is caused by a specific health issue, or whether the cause may be emotional.

To ensure a healthy mind and body, a person needs to take care of the emotional side as well as the physical. Regular exercise is essential and also has a positive effect on one's mental state. Becoming emotionally and physically healthy is attainable by paying attention to what you are feeling and what you are experiencing. Expressing one's feelings appropriately is a significant step in the direction of gaining emotional well being. Keeping emotions bottled up inside causes one to feel in a state of dis-ease, and often manifests accordingly. Developing higher levels of self esteem, and working on coping with the stressful vicissitudes of life, go a long way toward feeling more positive and resilient.

Living a balanced life is crucial to maintaining a healthy body and mind. Moreover it is essential to eat a balanced healthy diet and to have adequate sleep. Exercising is very important, especially a combination of cardiovascular and stretch and flexibility options. Studies have shown that the inactivity inherent in many sedentary lifestyles has an effect on well being, and even affects signs of aging. The hormones released during exercise make a person feel good, and contribute to an upbeat positive outlook. Strategies to facilitate calmness, pertaining to body and mind, may be discovered through exercise such as yoga, pilates, body-mind centering, Alexander technique and meditative or visualization techniques for relaxation. Drugs or alcohol clearly need to be avoided.

New therapies have emerged with the aim of encouraging a state of harmony between mind and body, within the context of a positive and healthy environment. Laughter therapy, for instance, has been advocated as a healthy release, relaxing the body and providing enjoyment simultaneously.

Mind body connection is about the inter-relationship existing, as well as the awareness leading to, a harmonious and healthy inter-play.

Mind-Body Connection: Selected full-text books and articles

Mind-Body: A Pluralistic Interpretation of Mind-Body Interaction under the Guidelines of Time, Space, and Movement
Adrian C. Moulyn.
Greenwood Press, 1991
History of the Mind-Body Problem
Tim Crane; Sarah Patterson.
Routledge, 2000
The Body Speaks: Therapeutic Dialogues for Mind-Body Problems
James L. Griffith; Melissa Elliott Griffith.
Basic Books, 1994
The Rediscovery of the Mind
John R. Searle.
MIT Press, 1994
Locke: His Philosophical Thought
Nicholas Jolley.
Oxford University Press, 1999
The Mind-Body Problem: An Opinionated Introduction
D. M. Armstrong.
Westview Press, 1999
Representation and the Mind-Body Problem in Spinoza
Michael Della Rocca.
Oxford University Press, 1996
Philosophy of Mind: An Overview for Cognitive Science
William Bechtel.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1988
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 5 "The Mind-Body Problem: Dualism and Philosophical Behaviorism"
Philosophy of Mind
Jaegwon Kim.
Westview Press, 1996
Librarian’s tip: "Explaining Mind-Body Correlations: Mind-Body Theories" p. 49
Persons and Their Minds: A Philosophical Investigation
Elmer Sprague.
Westview Press, 1999
A Holistic View of Psychotherapy: Connecting Mind, Body, and Spirit
Latorre, Mary Anne.
Perspectives in Psychiatric Care, Vol. 36, No. 2, April-June 2000
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