It is a fact that the way that you feel and think can impact your health and general well being; a number of studies in fields as diverse as psychology, immunology, psychiatry, medicine, genetics and neuroscience have been able to substantiate this mind body connect.
More and more, it is holistic or integrative health that is assuming importance – the approach of treating the whole person, body and mind, rather than targeting individual symptoms. This is based on the understanding that the body influences the mind and vice versa as well.
Consider the fact that stress can affect health in a number of negative ways and can be contributing factor for early death – it can suppress immunity, and even speed up aging. Anxiety is known to trigger an inflammatory response in the body, leading to problems such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome etc.
So if the mind’s state can negatively impact the body; the converse is also true – we can harness the power of the mind to improve health as well. Mindfulness practices can help –
- To boost the body’s immune response
- Reducing pain for chronic sufferers and conditions such as arthritis, headaches and backaches
- Helping in curbing smoking and substance abuse and promoting weight loss
- Improving heart health
- Lowering risk of relapse into depression
- Reducing stress and anxiety