The link between Mind and Body
Around 300 years ago, ‘mind and body’ was viewed as a whole and the treatment strategy for all ailments were based on this concept, that the mind and body were one.
Various studies on the relationship between the mind and the body have been carried out for several years. Around 300 years ago, ‘mind and body’ was viewed as a whole and the treatment strategy for all ailments were based on this concept, that the mind and body were one. Although this perception later changed with the advancement of allopathy and other forms of treatment, there are several studies that prove the connection between our minds and bodies. In the more recent past, there have been more rigorous research studies conducted on the relationship between the mind and the body and several research studies has shown that there’s a strong correlation between them.
What is the ‘mind and body connection’?
It is to simply say that our thoughts, emotions, attitude and behaviour impacts our biological functioning.
· Have you ever noticed any aches/pain in any part of your body such as your head, feet and arms, shoulders, stomach, when under stress?
· Have you noticed any change or disturbance in your sleep and eating cycle when under stress?
· Have you noticed the quality of your sleep/eating habits while you’re relaxed?
This is precisely what the mind and body connection is all about. Your thoughts, feelings, beliefs and behaviour have the power to either positively or negatively impact the quality of your physical health and vice versa; viz. poor physical health can affect your mental health.
Stress has been the second most prevalent reason to be associated with death, as a series of health conditions are associated with our response to stress. The change in lifestyle over the years has attributed to the increasing amount of stress one is exposed to, which has resulted in a rise in physical conditions such as:
· heart conditions
· poor immune system
· high blood pressure
· gastronomical problems
All the above-mentioned conditions have a strong association with the quality of one’s mental health. Poor mental health not only increases the risk of these conditions, but also affects your ability to make healthy lifestyle decisions, it affects our coping, impacts our relationships, decreases our productivity and motivation levels as well as affects our overall energy levels.
Similarly, poor physical health can affect the quality of our mental health; which in turn affects our stress management, recovery rate, functioning levels, etc.
For example, chronic pain and gastronomical conditions have almost always an underlying psychological condition/symptom present.
Mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, schizophrenia and eating disorders negatively affect one’s physical health, leading to unhealthy conditions such as insomnia (the inability to sleep), aches, change in appetite, increased blood pressure and blood sugar levels, etc.
[WHO estimated the mental health problems to be 2443 per 100,000 population, in India. They have also estimated that the economic loss in our country due to mental health conditions between 2012 and 2030 is 1.03 trillion. This is to show the impact of mental health, not just on physical health but on the overall working condition and the economy.]
Maintaining a good balance between the mind and the body is crucial to one’s overall well-being. Some of the healthy ways include:
· A balanced diet
· Regular sleep patterns
· Healthy coping skills to reduce stress/anxiety
· Seek professional support
Just as we go for our regular health checks, it is important to be mindful of the signs of mental distress. “Prevention is better than cure” is a saying that isn’t just limited to physical health but holds immense weight where mental health is concerned as well.
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