The Mind-Body Connection
Friday, November 30, 2012
Principles of Anthropology
Instructor: Adrienne Kitchin
The mind – body connection can be seen as a point of balance between one’s mind and their body; it is the point at which the mind and the body are at equilibrium. "There should be a comprehensive approach for both mind and body. This reciprocal relationship maximizes health benefits, and has exponentially positive consequences beyond the individual." ("Mind-body connection attained," 2012)
When one can achieve this connection, they can then attain true happiness far greater than others; there are disciplines that one can train in in order to achieve this connection. Yoga is a form of exercise that utilizes both the mind and the body and therefore can be seen as a good way to achieve the mind-body connection. Cardiovascular training aligned with meditation and focused breathing is a great start on your journey towards true happiness; exercise increases the blood flow throughout the body as well as the brain ("Mind-body connection attained," 2012). Flexibility is crucial to achieving this connection; training in yoga can increase a person’s flexibility substantially. Stretching feels good and is seen as mainly a benefit from yoga; stretching reminds yoga students to be not only flexible with the body but with the mind as well ("Mind-body connection attained," 2012).
Overall, the mind-body connection can be seen as the point at which the body and mind are working together simultaneously. The mind is dependent on the body for resting and stretching as well as the consumption of food; without these physical aspects of life, our mind would not function properly. The mind’s dependence on the body is reciprocal, meaning that the body is just as dependant on the mind as the mind is on the body. If a person is stressed out it can have negative impacts on the body; the impacts of stress on the body can be best illustrated by looking at the presidents of the United States before presidency and after. Stress can lead to other psychological issues like depression and anxiety, which in turn can affect the body through weight loss and overall health.
Long before even the first notions of modern science, it was acknowledged that people’s bodies responded to the way they felt in their minds. It all started with the ancient Greeks, who believed in, above all else, a lifestyle of moderation. For them, physical fitness was its own reward (Gohde, 2011). In Hippocrates’s time (circa 460 B.C.), medicine had first emerged as a secular activity, known completely separately from religion. Hippocrates and his followers started their first attempts to explain the behavior of the body in health and illness, trying to understand emotions as mental phenomena that were somehow connected to physiological order and pathological disorder ("The balance of," 2005).
During the Greco-Roman period (332 B.C – A.D. 395) also adapted this belief, with the Roman motto: Mens sana in corpore sano, “A sane mind in a sound body” (Gohde, 2011). Plato (429 – 347 B.C.), a pupil of Socrates, initiated the idea of dualism, the idea that the mind and body are separate entities. He set up an academy where men could learn philosophy. One of the academy’s pupils was Aristotle (born in 384 B.C.) disagreed with most of Plato’s teachings, believing more in “monoism” (Klus, 2010).
Jumping to the 1500s and the Renaissance period, Paracelsus, the father of modern medicine, believed in treating the whole being (including the mind) rather than only the part of the body displaying disease. However, Paracelsian medicine had many teachings that would be considered undesirable by today’s standards. His teachings emphasized the use of toxic and poisonous metals in pharmaceutical preparations, such as mercury, lead, arsenic, and antimony (“The balance of,” 2005). It would...
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Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health. (2005). The balance of passions. Retrieved from U.S. National Library of Medicine website: http://web.archive.org/web/20101221035916/http://www.nlm.nih.gov/hmd/emotions/balance.html
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