Mind and body are one system
It was not so long ago that scientific evidence emerged to indicate a close link between mind and body. The mind and body are no longer seen as separate entities. Mental stress or exhaustion can adversely affect the immune system and lower bodily resistance. Prior to this discovery, only the physical symptoms of illness were treated. Nowadays, it would be more appropriate to adopt a holistic approach to medical treatment. This is important considering that an illness could be psychological rather than physical.
Thoughts have significant effects on the physiology of the body. Our thoughts affect our breathing pattern, muscle tension, posture, facial expression and feelings, in other words our physical well-being, some of which are readily recognized. Think of something hilariously funny and you begin to laugh and maybe can’t stop your own self laughing. Recalling a loved one whose death is a sad loss to you probably fills your eyes with sudden tears. Each time something causes you to remember or think of a very fearful experience, you may start to feel your heart pounding and for some, even sweat. These are examples of the powerful influence your mind has over your body.
Our physiology has a tremendous influence on our mental state and behaviour. When you feel tired and unwell, it keeps your mind from thinking at its best and tapping your real potential. When you move around with an upright posture and a confident gait, you develop confident and optimistic thinking.
However, we can change our physiology or feelings with the way we think. If we think of a happy time, we appear and act happy. If we think of something frightening our heartbeat races and our body language manifests the fear. Conversely, when we act differently we change our thoughts and feelings. If we act bravely our mental state changes and we will feel brave. Either way, our mind and body act in unison.
Whenever we are afflicted with negative physical or mental states we could overcome them by changing our thinking, physiology or emotions. We could do some activities such as meditation, yoga, jogging, gardening, a brisk walk or any other things that we enjoy doing. Where these are not possible, adopting a physiology that displays a positive state could well prove very helpful. This includes an upright posture, a slow rhythmic breathing pattern, sincere smile, friendly facial expression and relaxed muscles.
We could also choose to influence someone else’s physiology in a subtle manner. People who are in an unhappy state unmistakably exhibit certain discernible characteristics. For instance, a slouching posture is a sure sign. We do it by establishing rapport with the other person and then change our actions slightly in a gradual manner to attain an improved state. If we have gained rapport with him, he will instinctively follow.
If we wish to perfect our body, we have to first perfect our mind. Master our thoughts and we will master our mind; master our mind and we will master our body. Understanding that mind and body affect each other will enable us to change our attitude and our mental state. The way we think affects our internal state. We are what we think we are.