Exploring the Mind-Body Connection
By Robin McCullen-Fish of My Clear Energy Rieki
WHAT IS THE MIND-BODY CONNECTION?
What is the Mind Body connection? How important is it to our well-being that this connection is balanced? Let’s take a look. When our brain and body are knocked out of homeostasis (a state of balance among all the body systems needed for the body to survive and function correctly) we have experienced some type of stressor. STRESS; a state of mental or emotional strain or tension, resulting from an adverse or very demanding circumstance.
WHAT IS STRESS?
There are three types of stress,
Physical: trauma, accidents, injuries, falls.
Chemical: flu’s, viruses, bacteria, food toxins, blood sugar
Emotional: family tragedy, divorce, mortgage, single parenting, traffic jams.
How do different kinds of stress cause long-term effects on our brain and body? Stress
appears when we can’t predict a future outcome when we can’t control the situation or there is a perceived threat or danger or perception something is going to get worse in our life. Stress seems to be the leading cause of most health problems today.
OUR THOUGHTS AND HOW THEY IMPACT OUR HEALTH AND WELL-BEING
So, what we think and what we feel have a direct impact on our health. Our thoughts have
power, tonic (healing) thoughts produce tonic chemicals, (dopamine, serotonin and endorphins) toxic thoughts produce toxic chemicals, like cortisol, which can become toxic when released in our system too often and for prolonged periods of time. Let’s take for instance, toxic thoughts and emotions caused by stress. The toxins that are released can come from many different stressors in our life, our family, our jobs, and relationships. We place pressure on ourselves to be this perfect, capable person taking on too much, trying to juggle home, work and community.
When we are feeling all this stress, our body activates the sympathetic nervous system, in turn the adrenal system releases cortisol, which triggers the fight, flight or hide response, placing our body in survival mode, an adaptive response to the stressor. Our body wasn’t meant to be in this prolonged state, releasing cortisol into our bloodstream, increasing the release of blood sugar which suppresses the immune system, often the genesis of an auto-immune dis-ease, the disconnect or incoherence in our body. When in this state of stress our bodies mobilize all of our energy to our upper body, where all of our vital resources are located. This stress response causes our pupils to dilate, an increase in heart rate and respiration and activates the salivary glands. Our body can tolerate this for the short term without lasting repercussions. Following this stress response, the body needs to rest and reset. When we can’t turn off the stress response our body becomes maladaptive and this is where dis-ease can begin.
POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS TO THIS MALADAPTIVE RESPONSE
How do we counteract the effects of the cortisol constantly being released into our system,
causing a myriad of chronic diseases, Lupus, Diabetes, and Cancer to name a few. Many ignore the signs of what their body is telling them. Finally, when the symptoms become too much, they consult a doctor and are prescribed the latest and greatest drug for the diagnosis they have received. We don’t question, because after all, we are talking to a doctor, and they certainly know what the best course of action is. We don’t think there are alternatives to the medication.
Of course, there are treatments needed that are required to save our lives. What Western
medicine normally doesn’t offer is an alternative treatment, either alone or in tandem with
prescribed medication. One of the best ways to counteract the adverse effects of stress is to
engage the parasympathetic nervous system which is responsible for stimulation of “rest-and-digest” or “feed-and-breed”, activities that occur when the body is at rest, especially after eating, including sexual arousal, salivation, tears, urination, digestion and defecation, complementing the sympathetic nervous system. Returning to the parasympathetic state is what the body needs to return to homeostasis.
HOW POWERFUL ARE OUR THOUGHTS IN DETERMINING OUR HEALTH?
So, how does the brain play a part in changing the course of chronic disease? First, we need to look at where stress is coming from. What are our coping strategies, if we even have any? Is stress only external? Having too much on our plate, trying to juggle too many things in our life? Is stress internal, unresolved emotional issues, past trauma that has been allowed to build over many years? Both can cause a build-up of unhealthy energy, largely affected by our thoughts. Layer upon layer, these negative thoughts and emotions that go unattended begin to cause health issues due to an incoherence in our autonomic nervous system.
WHAT IS AYURVEDA?
According to Ayurveda, the five elements that are found in all living things- ether, air, fire, water and earth.- are the building blocks of life. While this foundation unites all humans, the manifestation of those elements through the doshas is what gives rise to our different
constitutions. How the three doshas appear, and what proportion, is what makes each of us
unique. The three doshas are Pitta, Vata, and Kapha. The role the doshas play is dynamic.
Constantly changing in response to weather, conditions, and stress. Your tendencies- good or bad– that you create are manifestations of your dosha. Ayurveda medicine states there are six stages of disease;
1. Accumulation is also referred to as Dosha when there is an accumulation of too much of energy, say heat for instance, and you notice that you start having an occasional sour belch after eating or drinking something.
2. Aggravation, If you start getting occasional heartburn, start taking Nexium or Prilosec.
3. Spread, still not addressing the cause and changing habits.
4. Localization, this heat finds a weak spot, an area in our body where we have lost some
integrity, for instance, a knee that has been injured and arthritis finds this area.
5. Manifestation, the dosha has found a location and settled in, this is where a disease is
characterized and given a diagnosis.
6. Diversification, this is when the disease is fully realized with increased symptoms, more
severe health implications, and irreversible damage to the body. The best way to prevent illness is to prevent accumulation, and buildup which applies to both physiology and psychology, with an emphasis on psychology.
The stress reaction causes our energy field to go into a stage of resistance. The blood is
affected, causing it to waver from hot to cold and the PH levels to change, we become acidic when under stress, causing inflammation, and a fire that starts to burn the house down.
WHERE WE PLACE OUR ATTENTION, IS WHERE WE PLACE OUR ENERGY.
So where do we go from here? If we can cause disease in our body by our negative thoughts,
would it be safe to assume that we can also heal our bodies with positive thoughts and
emotions. Where we place our attention is where we place our energy. When we place our
attention on the stress in the material world our awareness becomes convergent. If a person is addicted to the hormones of stress, they narrow their focus to the material world, the focus
becomes convergent. When we place our attention outside of ourselves, our focus becomes
divergent. So, if we can begin to focus our attention, hence our energy outside of ourselves we are no longer feeling separation or duality. We begin to experience coherence (order) in our autonomic nervous system which means our brain and body are working together in a more holistic, orderly integrative state. When this is occurring, healing, repair, regeneration is
occurring in our body. When the brain body connection is incoherent (disorder), systems begin to break down, causing illness and disease. Unfortunately, 70 percent of the time we are operating under stress and there is little or no coherence occurring between our brain and our body. When we become addicted to the chemicals released during stress, we can turn on this stress response by thought alone, meaning that we can become addicted to our own thoughts. This can lead to immune-mediated diseases such as RA, and MS. IgA (Immunoglobulin A), a primary defense against bacteria and viruses, gets dialed down and begins to suppress the immune system.
CAN WE CHANGE THE COURSE OF OUR HEALTH?
How do we change this? What are some steps we can take to effect change, to create
coherence, and to start to heal our bodies? Meditation is a great place to start. Research has shown
that changing our brain waves from beta brain wave to alpha brain wave patterns can have a
significant impact on our health. When in a meditative state our brain goes into alpha and we are separated from the outer world. When moving to alpha we are leaving the analytical part of our brain (beta) to a state of relaxing and reflecting, surrendering to possibilities. Trading negative emotions for elevated emotions, such as love, gratitude, and joy for 10 minutes a day, after four days has shown an increase in IgA levels. When we place our attention away from the familiar, either on the environment, time or our body we experience separation from everyone and everything. And with this we begin to see an improvement in our health. It goes without saying we must also take positive action, such as living a healthy life-style, to include a healthy diet and exercise. Managing our health with balance and coherence between the mind and body can make all the difference to live the life that we desire. For more information on the power of the mind in healing the body, check out Gaia.com and Dr. Joe Dispenza’s series Rewired, and the documentary Heal.
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