Your body responds to the way you think, feel and act. When you are stressed, anxious, or upset, your body reacts physically. For example, you could develop high blood pressure or a stomach ulcer after a particularly stressful event, such as the death of a loved one. The mind influences our desire to do what is right for our body.
Our thinking patterns, fears, worries and anxieties can take us away from the path of well-being. Our chemistry and biology impact our mood and emotions, as well as our thoughts and beliefs. With all of these factors combined, they play an important role in influencing our stress and physical health. If you've ever felt your stomach contract when you were anxious, you've experienced the mind-body connection.
Chronic pain has been linked to psychosomatic causes, since the mind can produce or exacerbate physical symptoms. John Sarno, a leading expert in psychosomatic medicine, developed the theory that many symptoms are an unconscious distraction to aid in the repression of deep emotional problems. Essentially, people start to feel physical pain rather than experiencing emotional pain. There have been hundreds of cases of different health problems, ranging from temporary blindness, muscle pain, inability to walk, etc., that have been linked to psychosomatic reasons.
Now more than ever, doctors understand the importance of a comprehensive approach to care that includes the mind, body and spirit. Mind-body therapies are related to therapies that use the body to affect the mind, such as yoga, tai chi, qigong, and some types of dance (sometimes called body-mind therapies). Additional links to the adrenal medulla were discovered in cortical areas that are active during conscious mediation and areas that show changes in bipolar familial depression. Choosing a healthy lifestyle is an important part of maintaining balance between mind and body.
In this view, the body was like a machine, with replaceable and independent parts, with no connection whatsoever with the mind. A section of study participants reduced their stress by practicing mindfulness meditation or attending a support group. However, our ability to implement these changes is driven by our attitudes, actions and behaviors, which in turn are controlled by our mind.