“The Healthy Mind lives in a Healthy Body“….is what I am reading, listening and believed since childhood.
As I am growing older, I am having encounters with many people who are physically fit and healthy, but their mind cannot be declared as Healthy. I now understand that “Just because your body is not sick, doesn’t mean that you are healthy. Your mind too needs to be healthy”.
Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.
Mind-body interdependence was first highlighted more than 5,000 years ago, when Indian Ayurveda legends noticed that illness often followed periods of frustration in their patients’ lives. Today in western societies like the U. S., medical professionals also share the view that emotions, life events, and coping skills can have a very strong influence on health.
“We ‘burn’ with anger, ‘tremble’ with fear, feel ‘choked up’ with sadness; our ‘stomachs turn’ with revulsion. Everyone tends to experience unpleasant emotions as unpleasant bodily symptoms and thus to feel physically distressed when emotionally distressed.”
The good news is that we have the power to change negative thoughts and feelings into positive, rational, motivating thoughts, and in doing so, help create a healthy mind in a healthy body. “By changing our minds, we really can change our lives.”
Chronic stress can make us fat – and sick
It is the long-term consequences of an anxiety-filled existence that are particularly troubling. Over time, chronic emotional and psychological stress can:
- Promote fat storage
- Retain salt in the body
- Destroy the body’s resistance to cancer, infections, and illness
- Cause infertility and sexual dysfunction
- Exacerbate diabetes
- Deposit cholesterol in blood vessels
- Accelerate heart rate and increase blood pressure, and thicken blood so it clots more readily, which makes you more prone to suffering a heart attack or stroke.
A key goal of mind-body techniques is achieving an overall approach to life known as stress hardiness. Stress hardiness is associated with four important personality traits that buffer the impact of stress and improve coping.
These characteristics of the stress resistant or healthy personality are identified as:
An attitude of curiosity and commitment to yourself, your loved ones, your work, and the world.
The belief that you can respond effectively to situations that arise in your life, rather than feeling hopeless and incompetent.
The ability to see change as exciting and an opportunity for growth rather than viewing it as frightening and fearing failure.
The enduring assurance that you are understood and validated by those you are closest to.
Other attitudes, feelings, and behaviors that are linked with good health include:
Social support is protective against the effects of stress and has been found to be associated with longevity.
By keeping a journal or speaking with others, emotional disclosure helps people cope with events. Also, people who use these strategies have lower blood pressure and report fewer health problems compared with people who don’t.
Humor has been demonstrated to have “stress-busting” qualities and reduces the body”s physiological response to stress.
Healthy behaviors, such as developing and maintaining the nutrition and exercise program, are crucial for optimal health.