How Are Your Body And Mind Intertwined?

We tend to think about our mind as something apart from our body. In truth, the two are linked. Can you think of examples?

It seems natural to separate the mind and the body. If you fall, say, and break your leg, your mind is not overly impacted. You still have your full range of cognitive abilities.

Similarly, as we age, our body and our mind often do so at different rates. A ninety year old who can barely walk might be mentally sharp, while an otherwise healthy older person may be unable to remember the names of people he or she has known for years.

However, this division is arbitrary at best, and actively harmful at worst. The brain is a part of the body. They use the same blood supply. They are impacted by the same hormones. There is every reason to believe that what happens in one has an impact in the other.

This is obvious in certain ways. When the blood sugar drops, for example, it can make it difficult to think cohesive thoughts. Many people know to carry around a candy bar or other source of sugar to ingest in an emergency.

And yet, we may not recognize how the two are linked. Studies have shown that the physical act of making your mouth smile, even if you don’t feel like doing so, can brighten your mood. Changes in diet can be reflected in changes in attitude.

Are there other examples of ways in which you have noticed that your mind and your body are actually two sides of the same coin? How are the two intertwined?

Related questions: Mind or body? What do you do to clear your mind? What does it mean to be healthy? How can you change your attitude?

2 thoughts on “How Are Your Body And Mind Intertwined?”

  1. Absolutely! As noted in the question, they are impacted by the same hormones, for example.

    I’ve noted many times before on this blog I suffer from Anxiety. Sometimes I don’t just fear the future in my mind. I fear it in my body with, at times, excruciating pain. Sometimes it feels as if my nerves are frayed and burning. A mental experience becomes a physical experience as well. In fact, sometimes, the physical aspect hits first, almost as a warning of what will soon consume the brain.

    I wanted to share one weird, unfortunate, and (thankfully) rare mind-body connection. Sometimes I am having an awesome experience. Out of extreme joy, my heart rate and breathing rate increase. Sometimes my muscles tighten up to match the excitement I am feeling. Well, the body has muscle memory. These same things, for different reasons, happen when I am anxious. And so, sometimes (and again, rarely), my mind associates the physical feelings of great happiness with the physical sensations of Anxiety. A panic attack may ensue simply because of the association.

    When this happened the first time, I couldn’t fathom why such a thing would occur. But I checked with my therapist. She noted that this is not common, but it does happen.

    Yes, the body and mind are connected.

  2. My first realization of this connection was in college, how ingesting a simple molecule (alcohol) could radically change thought patterns.

    Thanks for the tip on storing a candy bar for clearer thinking during emergencies.

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