by Christine Hunt
Mind-body specialist Dr. James Gordon states that the mind and body are essentially inseparable: “the brain and peripheral nervous system, the endocrine and immune systems, and indeed, all the organs of our body and all the emotional responses we have, share a common chemical language and are constantly communicating with one another.”
In other words every emotion causes the release of a certain chemical or hormone into the body. Good feelings release good hormones like dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin among others. When we are afraid or stressed, harmful hormones like cortisol, adrenaline and norepinephrine are released. When stress or fear become a constant in our lives, these hormones begin to suppress the immune system, increase blood pressure and result in other health problems.
Can someone become happy if he or she alerted the good feeling hormones inside their body? Yes it would work. But unless the root causes of your unhappiness, stress, anger and anxiety is dealt with, the happiness won’t last for long periods of time.
What exactly is meant by the word “mind?”
It’s important to note that “mind” is not synonymous with brain. Instead, in our definition, the mind consists of mental states such as thoughts, emotions, beliefs, attitudes, and images. The brain is the hardware that allows us to experience these mental states.
Mental states can be fully conscious or unconscious. We can have emotional reactions to situations without being aware of why we are reacting. Each mental state has a physiology associated with it—a positive or negative effect felt in the physical body. For example, the mental state of anxiety causes you to produce stress hormones.
Many mind-body therapies, such as EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) focus on becoming more conscious of mental states and using this increased awareness to guide our mental states in a better, less destructive direction.
What is the history of mind-body connection?
Awareness of the mind-body connection is by no means new. Until approximately 300 years ago, virtually every system of medicine throughout the world treated the mind and body as a whole. But during the 17th century, the Western world started to see the mind and body as two distinct entities. In this view, the body was kind of like a machine, complete with replaceable, independent parts, with no connection whatsoever to the mind.
This Western viewpoint had definite benefits, acting as the foundation for advances in surgery, trauma care, pharmaceuticals, and other areas of allopathic medicine. However, it also greatly reduced scientific inquiry into humans’ emotional and spiritual life, and downplayed their innate ability to heal.
In the 20th century, this view gradually started to change. Researchers began to study the mind-body connection and scientifically demonstrate complex links between the body and mind. Integrative psychiatrist James Lake, MD, of Stanford University, writes that “extensive research has confirmed the medical and mental benefits of meditation, mindfulness training, yoga, and other mind-body practices.”
The ability to manage emotions comes from the inside out and many times our reactions are subconscious because a current situation reminds us of a past event in our lives which was either threatening or enjoyable. These are the root causes of our emotions. EFT is an effective method to uncover the root causes in a safe, comfortable way and the results are long lasting and most of the time, permanent.
As humans we are extremely adaptable and capable of changing habits and healing our minds and bodies to improve our lives. EFT is a gentle tool to aid the transition.
To your health!
What do you think about the mind/body connection as it relates to health? Can you identify times in your life that your emotions have affected your health? Please share your comments below.
Christine Hunt is a Wellness Coach and Certified EFT Practitioner and has found that working with the whole person by combining mind/body work, dietary adjustments and movement provides her clients with the tools they need to lose weight (and keep it off), get relief from chronic illness and positively transform their lives. Contact her for a free, 15 minute consultation to learn why what she does works when other methods have failed.
Christine works with her clients in person, by Skype or phone. So, if you live away from the Annapolis, Maryland area, she can still work with you.