Your mental health and physical health are intrinsically connected. It is called the mind-body health connection!
What is the mind-body health connection?
Through the mind-body health connection, our thoughts and emotions can play a central role in all aspects of our health. Research shows that by taking care of our psychological well-being we can sometimes prevent medical illness and often speed our recovery when we do get sick.
Whom does it help?
Awareness of the mind-body connection may improve the quality of life of healthy, active people as well as those who have long-term or life-threatening illnesses.
How does the mind-body health connection work?
The mind and body are closely linked, and their relationship can exert a positive influence on health and quality of life. Attitudes, beliefs, and emotional states ranging from love and compassion to fear and anger can trigger chain reactions that affect blood chemistry, heart rate, and the activity of every cell and organ in the body — from the stomach and digestive tract to the immune system. Emotions can also affect your body’s reaction to stresses and strains, which can cause head and backaches and other physical problems.
We can help ourselves stay healthy by paying attention to our emotional and mental states — including our worries, outlook, and moods.
What does improving the mind-body health connection involve? How can the mind-body connection help me?
The mind-body connection treats the whole person by addressing the stresses we face, particularly when illness occurs. Many psychological therapies make use of the mind-body connection through stress management, support groups, individual psychotherapy, biofeedback, hypnosis, and relaxation techniques. These are designed to improve both emotional and physical well-being.
Treatment that increases the awareness of the mind-body connection can help:
• Weight control
• Smoking cessation
• Substance abuse
• Chronic pain
• Reducing missed time from work
• Speeding recovery from illness
• Lessening pain and discomfort
• Shortening hospital stays
• Enabling patients and families to better cope with illness
• Increasing mental alertness and activity
*info adapted from the MI Psychological Association