This post is a follow-up of “Matters of the Mind: “How to Be a Mentalist: Master the Secrets Behind the Hit TV Show”, by Simon Winthrop”. Here, I am expanding upon the first lesson, The Mind-Body Connection, I discussed in that post. Let me know what you think 🙂
We are all quite familiar with the idea that exercising helps you concentrate, improves your mood, sleep, and that it has an overall good influence on your general state. What this phenomenon suggests, is that there is a connection between the mind and the body. However, it is difficult to know just how strong that connection, and if it goes both ways.
It seems that it does go both ways. Have you ever been under a lot of stress, experience which lead to you getting sick easier than you normally would? I think all of us have gone through this type of situation at least once.
In “How to be a Mentalist”, Winthrop explains that taking care of your body will result in your mind working better. He also mentions meditating as a means to improving your power to relax and concentrate, but do these things go further than that?
The Mind and the Body are Not Separate
Research has started to concentrate on finding out how the workings of the internal organs affect the mind. One such research has proven that the heart has an influence on the way we handle fear. Interestingly enough, when the heart is pumping blood, we tend to notice the fear on other people’s faces more than when the heart is relaxing. Read more here.
Here’s another interesting finding: if you’re right-handed, you tend to prefer objects located on the right than those on the left. The opposite is true for left-handed people. The suggestion is that we tend to prefer the side with which we “cooperate with” more. You can find out more here.
What about the Placebo Effect?
The Placebo effect is another example of how the mind influences the body. In various experiments it has been shown that just thinking that something will help you in a certain condition, tends to result in an improvement in that condition.
One example is a study in which Parkinson’s disease patients were either given medication which behaved like dopamine, or a Placebo pill. The result? The brains of the patients who received the Placebo manufactured more dopamine, mimicking the pill. For more information, click here.
Research is at its infancy when it comes to this fascinating topic, but perhaps we can still use these ideas to our advantage. Things that might sound silly, such as “Think you can, and you’ll be able to do it”, begin to make more sense.
The reason I am so tempted to give up most of my skepticism (but not entirely) when it comes to this phenomenon is simple. Even if it is not true, the worst that could happen is that we’re all going to take better care of our bodies, and try to stay more positive. That’s not so bad, is it?
(When I say “the worst”, I’m not thinking of people giving up on modern medicine entirely. Even if this theory of the mind-body connection being strong is true, being ready to cure all diseases with the mind alone would probably be a difficult point to arrive at).
If you have time, and want to read more on the connection between mind and body, here are two articles I suggest you read:
- The strange powers of placebo effect – TheProfessorFunk (recoverynetworktoronto.wordpress.com)
- Mind-Body Problem (nostalgiaforgod.wordpress.com)