For centuries, there has been great debate over just how connected the mind and body are. They have often been referred to as one entity, but now it is much clearer that they are two separate things that are simply closely linked. This means that looking after one can influence the other, and if one struggles then you may find so does the other.
This connection between physical and mental health can be fascinating, and there are many benefits to creating a balance between the two. With that in mind, Wellbeing365 look at this relationship in more detail and what you can do to promote it.
What is the mind and body connection?
This is the belief that our attitudes, thoughts and feelings can actually have an impact on our physical wellbeing and health. This connection also works the other way, in that how we treat our body and our physical attributes can influence our mental health.
It is the idea that one affects the other, either positively or negatively, and that sometimes physical illness or symptoms can be the outcome of psychological and social factors. This can include your quality of relationships, coping skills and the ability to manage your emotions.
How does it work?
The brain can produce certain chemicals that are linked to improving your health. This includes endorphins, which are produced to help the nervous system cope with pain or stress, and immunoglobulins, also known as antibodies which are produced by the immune system in response to a foreign substance, in order to remove it from the body.
The effect of your state of mind can impact the release of these chemicals. One of the biggest examples of this is the flight or fight response. If you’re feeling stressed or anxious, your body will act as though it’s under attack and will release hormones that either prompt you to stay or run. Your heart rate can increase, you might feel tense, and your senses might be heightened, all of which are triggered from feeling stressed or anxious.
It has also been said that if you feel ill, but you maintain a positive attitude, your brain could be more likely to produce the right chemicals required to boost your immune system.
How to promote a positive connection between mind and body
Being able to maintain a positive relationship with your mental and physical health is crucial to achieving overall wellbeing. In particular this can come from living a balanced life, including a healthy diet, regular exercise and plenty of sleep. Make sure you are grateful for the positive aspects of your life but deal with the negative ones too, and aim to have as positive an outlook as you can.
Finding your purpose can be a great tool in making sure you are healthy both in mind and body. Whether it’s your career or personal life, knowing who you are and what your values are can help to keep you grounded. In some cases, it can help you make the right choices when presented with opportunities.
Resilience can be crucial when it comes to maintaining your stress levels, which can have a huge impact on your physical health. It’s important to deal with stress in a healthy way, whether it’s through support from loved ones or changing your perspective through therapeutic methods.
Similarly, self-care is vital when trying to look after your physical and mental wellbeing. You can do this by making sure you take time for yourself to unwind and keep yourself on track. Go for a run, take a long bath or read a good book and make sure you feel good within yourself.
Dennis Relojo-Howell is the managing director of Psychreg.