Updated: Mar 16
Are you in congruence with yourself?
The above question is a powerful one. It is for you to think if your mind and body are in complete harmony with each other.
For some years now, it has been proven fact that the mind and the body are closely related to each other. While some people can easily control their bodies, for others it takes some skills to do so.
It is a common believe that illness or pain can impact the mind with negative thoughts, but what we don’t understand is it could be true the other way round too. Thinking negatively can impact our body and can give rise to pains or illness.
Through thorough research it has been found that the mind and the body have a deep link. A person who thinks he/she is not feeling well can adopt symptoms in the body for the same on the other hand, someone people could heal their bodily pain through their mind by thinking in a positive way
“I think, therefore I am.”
Our thoughts shape our reality. What we think is how we see the world. For some people a physical ailment can be a challenge and not a barrier to overcome while on the other hand few could succumb to their physical ailments and blame how their lives turn out. We all talk about positive and negative thinking but what we don’t understand is what impact it has on our body as well.
Let’s take a scenario: You have had a very tiring day at work where you have been on your feet all day, dealing with one challenge after the other. At the end of the day when you come home, you need to make yourself dinner and do some house chores.
There can be various ways to deal with this situation but I am going to point out 2 relevant ways.
1. You keep thinking about how tired you are and keep dreading coming back home and making dinner or doing chores. This automatically tells your body that it doesn’t have the energy so even if you try, your body has already succumbed to the thought process and you can’t complete the chores and end up sleeping hungry.
2. You keep focusing on the work at hand not thinking about the end of the day. You are mindful and you believe you have had a great productive day. When you reach home, you want to complete your chores so that the feeling of productivity doesn’t go away. You go to bed with a full stomach and a feeling of accomplishment.
In both the cases how you think is how you feel and that dictates how your body will react.
As rightly said by Dr. James Gordon "the brain and peripheral nervous system, the endocrine and immune systems, and indeed, all the organs of our body and all the emotional responses we have, share a common chemical language and are constantly communicating with one another."
Let’s dive a little deeper into this.
What is the Mind?
Let’s break a well known myth – The mind is NOT the brain.
The brain is the hardware that allows us to experience mental states.
The mind on the other hand, consists of the mental states like thoughts, beliefs, emotions attitudes and images.
These mental states can be either conscious or unconscious; however it always has a physical reaction to it. The reaction can be positive like feeling energized for work or negative like releasing of stress hormones.
The Mind-Body connection
The connection between the mind and the body has been believed in since the last 300 years. Every system of medicine globally treated the mind and the body as a whole.
In the 17th century, the world evolved and people started seeing them as two distinct entities. It was a great advancement for medicine as vital surgeries and methods were discovered heron after. Though it greatly reduced the importance of human’s emotional and spiritual life and outright downplayed their inability to heal the body.
It made a comeback in the 20th century when the researchers began to study the mind-body connection and successfully demonstrated scientific links between the two.
The mind-body connection happens at a chemical level as well. This occurs as the nervous, endocrine and immune system share the same chemical language, which allows continuous communication between the mind and body through messengers like hormones and neurotransmitters.
For example- Feeling of anxiety can trigger stress hormones leading to suppressing the immune system and causing infections or even cancer.
Every thought and belief we have carries vibrations which impact our biochemical balance. It could be positive or negative depending on the content.
Physically we are made out of atoms and water which are in constant state of motion, so these vibrations affect our physical state as they change the crystal structure of water and cells present in us.
Scientists demonstrated that positive kind words, emotions and thoughts vibrate in harmony with our cells. A study has found that the type of vibrations or energy patterns that are carried by certain words and intentions are able to cause physical changes in DNA structure, which affect how the genetic code is translated to make different proteins that become the building blocks of your body.
The body and Emotions
When we feel any kind of negative emotion like fear, anger, sadness, jealousy etc, our first instinct is to suppress it. We do anything in our power to forget about it. These suppressed energies then turn our vibrations into physical ailments like headaches, digestive problems and much more.
Here is a Map of emotions in our body
Here is a crazy thought, next time you feel any of these why don’t you just sit and FEEL the emotion rather than suppressing it. Understand the reason behind it. This connection is multidirectional. Emotional experiences affect the way you behave and the physiology within your body. In the other direction, your perception of these emotion-triggered bodily changes also influences your consciously felt emotions.
Change Belief, Reduce disease
As I have mentioned above, there is a deep connection shared by our mind and body. Hence the way we feel and think along with our belief system can play as aggravator to the development of diseases.
If you keep suppressing your painful emotions, your body will release it in a form of a disease. One common way to experience the interaction of belief and physical sensations is when dealing with chronic pain. In essence, pain is a combination of the physical sensations you experience, the emotions you feel, and the meaning of the pain has for you.
A good example is that decreasing symptoms of depression may improve the rate of survival for cancer. Mental health and support for the same is very important. It can help change emotions, develop positive beliefs and raise the overall energy of the patient.
Way to improve your Health
To start with, try understanding your emotions and stress and the underlying reason behind it. This can help you be more self aware and reduce physical ailments. You can do this through the following ways:
1. Expression of Emotions
As humans we go through so many emotions on the daily. Some find a way to express these emotions but for the larger part it becomes difficult to talk about how they are feeling. A good way to have a harmonious body-mind connection is to talk to friends/parents/partner/ counsellor/ doctor about how you are feeling. Even if you don’t completely understand it yourself sharing may help you release it.
2. Mindful and Grateful
Every day is a new day, and every day comes with new opportunities. Sometimes we forget to appreciate the little things in life and only focus on the problems. A great way to have a good day every day is by being mindful and focusing on the present and to start and end the day by being grateful.
You could also write a journal and keep track of things that make you happy or peaceful. Research has shown that having a positive outlook can improve the quality of life and give one a health boost.
3. Develop Resilience
Having resilience is a good way to cope with stress and be healthy. There are different stratergies that can help one master this skill. Some of these include:
Positive self talk
4. Relax your mind and body.
Find ways that suit you to relax you mind and body. Here are many ways to do so like meditation, yoga, listening to music, guided imagery, and tai chi are some ways to bring emotional balance in your life.
5. Take care of yourself.
To have good emotional health, it’s important to take care of your body by having a regular routine for eating healthy meals, getting enough sleep, and exercising to relieve pent-up tension. Avoid overeating, abusing drugs or alcohol.
It is common for use to go to a doctor when we are suffering from fever or any other illness. While we consult the doctor and tell them all our physical symptoms, we generally tend to leave out our emotional symptoms. I urge you to have a conversation with your doctor about how you are feeling as well. This can help the doctor understand if it’s emotional ailment projecting on your physical health or not.
Few questions you can ask your doctor are:
How can I better cope with stress?
Are my health problems causing my stress, or is my stress causing my health problems?
I don’t think I’m under stress, but is my body telling me that I am?
Everything in my life is good. Why am I not happy?
Everything is interlinked, it is absolutely important to take care of your mental health as it is to your physical health.
“Your body can stand almost anything; it is your mind that you have to convince”