Mind and Heart

There’s a link between the mind and the body. If you think you’re ill, you can make yourself ill, and if you think you’re well, it can help you recover. All of this is part of the well-documented though poorly understood placebo effect.
But some mind-body connections are more physical. And it is both documented and understood how depression, stress, and anger can lead to high cholesterol and diabetes.
The most obvious connection is the affect it has on behavior. When people are stressed, they eat more, particularly unhealthy foods; smoke more; and exercise less. The result is lethargy and poor health which can lead to hypertension and diabetes.
But there’s also a hormonal effect. Negative emotions increase the circulation of fight-or-flight hormones. In the short term, these hormones increase our cognition and performance. But in the long-term, they begin to damage the system, reduce happy hormones, and damage blood vessels. The results aren’t pretty.
What to do if you’re under stress? Relax. Try a massage or day spa, or exercise, even if you don’t feel like it. Exercise is great for both the mind and body. If necessary, seek therapy or medical intervention. In the long run, it can prevent physical deterioration and poor health.

08. December 2008 by Ruth Folger Weiss
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