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  • Writer's pictureWiL Turner

Understanding the Mind-Body Connection and Mental Health



The Body and Mind, though are misperceived as separate entities, are in fact connected through an intangible link between the brain and your physiological neuroreceptors. Physical and emotional health are always interconnected, and they are termed "The Mind-Body Connection."


The chemistry and biology of our mind and body connection impacts mood, emotion, thoughts, and beliefs. These factors combined play an essential role in influencing our physical health, stress factors, and mental health.


Have you ever had a scary or unpleasant experience that you couldn’t seem to shake? Have you ever felt out of place, isolated, alone, disoriented or uncomfortable? Do you have butterflies in your stomach? These are all physical symptoms directly linked to stress. As we continue to closely monitor the situations in which we find ourselves overwhelmed, anxious, or stressed; ultimately these same feelings become habitual and begin to affect our thoughts, emotions, and decision-making skills.



“The Mind-Body Connection" and its Biochemistry


While there is not much information about the idea of the mind-body connection, research is currently being conducted to prove the theory of mind and body connection. According to prominent Researcher Dr.Jennifer Weinberg, MD, MPH, MBE, he describes the brain as "the hardware" that basically allows us to experience the thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, and emotions that we often associate with being influenced by the mind.


Communication between the body and the brain is facilitated through chemical and neurological messengers known as hormones and neurotransmitters. Research has also identified the neural networks which connect the cortex to the adrenal medulla, which initiates the body's immediate responses to stressful situations. These findings illuminate how mental states, such as stress, anxiety, and depression, can influence organ function, overall mood, and mental state.



Stress and Physical Health: An Evidence-Based Link



More research has stressed the idea that stress decreases immunity by basically altering blood cell function. In more recent studies, it is revealed that stress diminishes white blood cell responses to infected cells and cancer cells. Bring in more facts onto the research; it has been found that stressed individuals heal more slowly, and even vaccinations are also less effective on them. Moreover, the study also has figured out that even Cognitive-behavioral theory can strengthen the function of the cell and power the body's ability to fight diseases effectively.


In one instance, to establish support of mind-body connection, it was noted that two groups of breast cancer survivors existed, one that practices mindfulness, meditation and another group that did not.


It was revealed that after a stipulated period of time, the group that was closely monitored had longer telomeres, Protein complexes at the end of chromosomes than the control group. Shortened telomeres are usually assorted with diseases. Longer telomeres are associated with the body's ability to repair itself and to protect the body against the disease.



Cognitive Behavior Therapy and the Mind-Body Connection


There are more instances of the mind-body connection as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can alter brains. CBT usually focuses on teaching individuals how to identify and change thought patterns with the indoctrination of positive thought and behavior until there is an automated response from the pursuer. And as intended, alters the brain and nervous system and makes you feel confident.


In 2009, 13 different studies concluded that neuroimaging that CBT affects the brain circuits and functions. CBT modifies the neural circuits involved in regulating fear, anxiety, stress, and other negative emotions.


Some studies on PTSD participants who subscribed to CBT treatment have shown increased brain activity to social cognition-that encompasses emotions such as forgiveness and brain empathy. It is also reported that CBT also decreased hyperactivity in the areas of the brain related to the disorder, among others. These experiments show that our stress and physical health are interconnected and the mystery or myth of the mind-body connection.



How meditation and Yoga Positively impact the Brain and the Body


Yoga has been known to increase flexibility and range of motion, while meditation has been shown to reduce stress levels. Scientists are currently conducting studies to see if these practices can lead to improved cognitive behavioral therapy outcomes. A recent study that the National Institutes of Health basically funded found that a patient undergoing cognitive behavioral therapy, which includes Yoga and meditation, had significant improvements in mental health and decreased blood pressure at the end of a six-week trial.


Furthermore, Yoga is known to increase GABA levels, a neurotransmitter in the body, and what makes you feel confident. Another experiment with CBT in one group and another Group with both CBT and Yoga found that both groups reported reductions in the physical effects of anxiety and panic-related neurotransmitters in the brain after two months of sessions. However, the changes were more visible in the group that conducted both CBT and Yoga together.



The Mind-Body Connection In Guided Imagery


Guided imagery is a potent tool to help you relax and to increase your awareness and focus. This is because the visual receptive responses you experience while you are advised is more like a disciplinary practice than a direct experience with the object of your meditation. As such, imagination has the power and freedom to change the way you experience the present moment. However, for those who are still new to guided imagery, the process of using the images can be a little bit overwhelming and difficult at first.


The process calms the body's stress response and supports the immune system; helping visualization fight diseases while identifying what made you feel confident about the changes in yourself.



Nutrition and the Mind-Body Connect


You will also find a healthy mind and body connection when you eat the proper foods and maintain a positive mind frame. Keep in mind that the connections between the mind-body and what you eat are often interrelated. Thereby supporting your physical, mental, and psychological well-being.


Healthy eating provides your body with the nutrients it needs to function correctly. Improper eating habits also contribute to stress and anxiety. When the mind and body are met with challenges; chances are your body will adapt to help you self-preserve.


Seeking a Mental Wellness Coach like WiL Turner at livingwellwithwil.com, who guides you on the path towards the healthy and happy life you deserve. Changing your eating habits and regular physical activity will help transform the way you look, feel, and live. Living a healthy and happy life with a positive attitude is what makes you feel confident about yourself.


Conclusion

Take back your health by investing the time to take care of yourself. Being proactive and consistent will allow you to reach your health and wellness goals. Nutrition, physical activity, and mental wellness go hand in hand. If you do your part to take care of your health, the mind and the body will take care of you.


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