The Power of the Mind Body Connection
Emotions and Our Body
The Dynamic Relationship Between Our Mind and Body
How often to you give thought to the way your body reacts from your own thoughts? How many times do you realize your physical state affects your emotions.? Our mind and our body are interconnected. The relationship between what we do and how we feel is dynamic, powerful, and very interactive. Our body affects our mind and our mind affects our body.
There is strong evidence to show what is going on with our feelings and our thoughts relates to what is going on with us physiologically. Feelings of contentment, being happy and hopeful, and feeling optimistic can reduce or limit infections and diseases. Depression can worsen illness. The role our mind plays, and the effects our emotions have on our physical well being are part of the big picture of functioning at our best.
Emotions Affect Us Physically
Our emotions create physical reactions. By the same means, the way we stand, our facial expressions, our gestures, also effect our emotions, our attitudes, and our perspectives. Every emotion has hormones attached to it. Deepak Chopra, author and alternative medicine advocate said “without the feeling there is no hormone; without the hormone there is no feeling.”
Our heart beats faster whe when we are scared. When our heart rate increases our mind works better. Loneliness sadness and feeling depressed also have physical manifestations. Repressed feelings and other negative emotions has a deleterious effect on our well-being. When we feel sick or injured it also affects us mentally. There's an extraordinary connection between our body and mind that affects us physically and mentally. Our breathing, our posture, our muscles, and systems in our body all react when we feel frustrated irritated or tense. Feeling anxious or worried create physical ailments for an achy body. Feeling angry can raise our blood pressure, can cause us to clench our muscles, or even give us a headache, or make us feel sweaty.
Poor emotional health can weaken our body’s immune system, making us more prone to colds, and infections when we are having difficult emotional times. When we feel stressed, tense, anxious, or upset, we may not take care of our health as well. We might not eat right, we may not exercise, or take our prescriptions.
Mental Stress Causes a Physical Reaction
Reactions to Emotions
Our body reacts to the way we feel, think, act. We know when we blush our face reddens. When we become fearful we get goosebumps. When we tremble, are nervous, or excited we get butterflies in our stomach or our heart might race. There is a bidirectional response from emotions to our body, and from our body to our emotions.
Oxytocin creates a chemical response from good feelings. A Swedish researcher named Kersten Uvnas Moberg, M.D., Ph.D, studied the oxytocin effects on people. In her research, she looked at how the sympathetic nervous system, (fight or flight response), releases different chemicals from the parasympthetic nervous system (calm and contented feelings). Oxytocin is a chemical, always present in out body, is associated with social and sexual bonding, times of relaxation, nourisihment, healing, growth and motherhood, nursing, and childbirth. Oxytocin naturally rises in our body from positive stimulation like relaxation holding loved one's hand massage for example. The sympathetic nervous system releases cortisol and norepinephrine. When we have stress, actual or perceived, our brain, particularly the amygdala Releases a neurotransmitter called CRH for corticotropin-releasing hormone this stimulate the sympathetic nervous system which prompts the adrenal glands to release release epinephrine andother hormones to ready us for flight of fight. These hormones shut down non-essential functions such as our digestion and growth Every time we feel stress, norepinephrine signals the amygdala to produce more CRH, which reactivates the stress hormones. Amygdala can be activated buy an actual fear, or the memory of a fear, or from unconscious information. Stress and its hormones can interfere with the way we digest food, the way we heal, how we sleep,our thought and creativity processes, andmuch more. Because of these chemicals, and the effects they have on our body, there have been many studies that have proven that what affects our body, affects our mind.
Neurotransmitters and Our Body and Mind
In a study done by Dutton and Aron in 1974, male participants were put either on a high suspended, scary bridge or low, safe bridge. All the males were approached by an attractive woman and asked to fill out a short survey. The woman gave them her card in case they had any questions.The study showed many more males who crossed the scary bridge called the researcher than the males who crossed the safer bridge. The scientists theorized the participants from the high bridge produced more fear hormones, and when they met the woman had stronger feelings of attraction. But these feelings weren't really feelings of attraction as much as a confusion with a chemical reaction, misinterpreting adrenaline as arousal. This is known as “misattribution arousal”.
Neurotransmitters, the chemical messengers that allow the brain to communicate with other parts of the body and itself, control nearly all of our bodily functions including feelings of happiness and stress.
Posture, Gestures, and Facial Expressions Affect Our Emotions
By the same means, the way we stand, our facial expressions, our gestures, also effect our emotions, our attitudes, and our perspectives. Every emotion has hormones attached to it. Deepak Chopra, author and alternative medicine advocate said “without the feeling there is no hormone; without the hormone there is no feeling.”
The physical movements we make affect our emotional reactions. Even our facial expressions can influence our emotions and attitudes. It is not just our thoughts that are a result of our reactions to our surroundings. Our thoughts also come from our own reactions first, which then influence how we perceive our environment. When we stand with our hands at our sides with our legs spread apart, known as a power pose, our thoughts tend to make us feel more confident and powerful. Our facial expressions also impact our reaction to stress. When people smiled while they held their hands in ice water for several minutes it lessened the stress and help towards a quicker recovery than if they didn’t smile
When we learn to harness the power our body has to shape our thoughts, we gain positively with our interaction with the world. Being successful is not only dependent on what we think, it is also connected to what happens outside our body and strongly influences what we think. When we acknowledge how your body and environment influences your thoughts, which is connected to how you perform.
Our body has a very powerful influence on our psychological state. The expressions we produce externally can and do affect us internally. It is not just the mind that controls our body. There are direct connections from the body to the mind too. It is more than just facial expressions that send feedback to our mind that affect our feelings and emotions. When we stand straight and tall, as opposed to slumping our shoulders, we think and feel differently. Our posture can make us feel confident or anxious. Our appearance conveys to our mind the emotional state we feel.
Functioning At Our Best
Thoughts influence our bodies in a direct and bidirectional way because our body interprets the chemical messages coming from the brain to prepare us for what is about to happen. Psychological stress affects our levels of dopamine epinephrine and norepinephrin. These are known as catecholamines. Our body reacts to these chemicals in response to perceived danger. Our blood pressure may rise. Frequent release of these hormones can suppress our immune system and put us at risk for infection and other diseases.
It has been found people who maintain a positive attitude and are resilient cope with adversity and stress control theses neurochemical transmissions. The Mind Body Connection can help us all stay healthier mentally and physically.
An understanding of our emotions and a self awareness about what we are feeling will help improve our mental health and physical health. Taking care of our body by eating healthy, sleeping enough, not abusing alcohol and drugs, and exercising will keep us fit and relieve pent up tension.
To function at our best, requires a fit body and a fit mind. Self awareness, conscientiousnss, and purposeful, play a part in achieving what we want. Body, mind, and spirit represent balance, insight, and enlightenment. Our body helps us learn, understand and make sense of the the world around us. Doing physical activity can influence and change what becomes our thoughts, even when we are not aware of this. Exercise helps us think better because oxygen helps our brain function. Cardiovascular exercise helps bring up our heart rate and increase our blood flow, which increases our oxygen circulation. Scientific evidence shows when when we get our bodies moving, we have more potential to think out of the box.
What We Think and What We Do Are Connected
Do you believe our emotions affect our body?
Do you believe our body affects our emotions?
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