How Mental Stress Affects Physical Health: Mind–Body Connection

Your body hears everything your mind says. Do you find this surprising? Yes, it’s true. Our mind and body are intertwined. We often don’t realize how our health is reacting to our mental conditions. Emotional health is an imperative aspect of leading a healthy lifestyle. Ancient healing systems have emphasized the mind body interconnection. Hippocrates, the father of western medicine, taught that good health is a result of a balance between mind, body and environment. Even modern scientific research supports this age-old tenet of medical wisdom. Experimental psychologist Neal Miller, PhD, discovered that “We can be trained to control certain physical responses, such as blood pressure, that were previously considered to be involuntary.” This discovery has led many scientists to dig deeper into the early mind-body connection established by historic medical practitioners, who based their findings on natural healing remedies.

What are the symptoms of your emotions affecting health?

We often neglect our health when we are emotionally stressed, further resulting in the weakening of our immune system. We become more susceptible to cold and infections. When we are upset, there are many ways in which our health tries to indicate that something isn’t right. We only have to take those cues and protect ourselves from minor and major health issues. Back pain, change in appetite, chest pain, constipation, high blood pressure, upset stomach, weight gain or loss can be symptoms of your emotional health going out of balance. Increase and decrease in blood sugar levels is a great example of stress directly affecting our health.

How to avoid stress from affecting your health?

Think Positive: Optimism is a great tool to keep you on track. Anxiety and stress can lead to depression, which is a bottomless pit of frustration. Train your mind to see good in every situation. Daily meditation is a wonderful tool to quiet the mind chatter and release stresses in the mind and body.

It’s Okay to Be Not So Perfect: You cannot please everybody around you. Therefore, ask yourself if you will be able to do it, before committing to something. Nobody is perfect. It’s not healthy for you to change and compromise yourself trying to please everyone around you to the point of loosing your identity. Being able to set boundaries is very important to reducing stress levels. If you struggle with this you can seek professional help, there is nothing wrong in taking a little help. Consulting a mind body expert will help you deal with the situation in a better way.

 Share Your Thoughts and Emotions: A lot of people think strength lies in hiding emotions and not let anyone know what is really bothering you. Giving an outlet to your emotions is a good way of making peace with yourself, but make sure you do it in a constructive way. It may not be a great idea to discuss everything with people who are really close to you. They may not be able to cope up with the situation you are in. At these times, its best to consult doctors or anybody outside your close network of friends and family.

Eat Healthy: In times of stressful situations, we resort to easily accessible junk food. This will create imbalance in your mind and body. Develop resilience and practice eating healthy. Before you put that cookie in your mouth stop and ask yourself “am I hungry? Can I make a better food choice for myself?” Choose whole grains over processed foods and add lean meats and proteins into your diet. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables; both contain a lot of nutrients with little to no fat.

“Motivate the mind, and the body will follow.” Take care of yourself, have a balanced diet and get plenty of sleep. Practice meditation and develop a good exercise routine. Go for morning walks and take in the fresh air. These activities will help you calm your body and mind. visit www.liveaha.com to find out about therapies and ways to help you overcome life’s challenges. 

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