By Magna Parks, PHD
The relation that exists between the mind and the body is very intimate. When one is affected, the other sympathizes.” These words were written in the mid 1800s by a health educator. Little did we know that over 100 years later, medical science would support this concept.
Here are some examples:
– Hypertension can reduce attention, learning, memory, and decision-making skills.
-Those who have a low insulin response, which affects blood sugar levels, are at higher risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease.
– Individuals diagnosed with depression are at increased risk for having a stroke.
– One’s thoughts, attitudes, and emotions can either enhance or decrease the onset of heart disease.
These findings highlight the strong connection that exists between the mind and the body. As a psychologist, I am particularly interested in this because of my focus on the impact of lifestyle habits (diet, sleep, exercise, etc.) on mental/emotional functioning. Many people don’t understand that how they care for their bodies will ultimately affect their mind. Some people brag that that they can “eat anything” and yet are not plagued with any bodily disease. But, another question to be asked is, How well are they functioning mentally or emotionally? Sometimes, our negligence in caring for our bodies may reveal itself in problems with the brain such as memory difficulties, depression, concentration problems, etc. On the other hand, some of us may suffer from mental/emotional concerns that can eventually lead to bodily illness, such as stroke, cancer and other related diseases.
The bottom line is this – we cannot neglect any aspect of our minds or bodies because eventually we will “reap what we sow.” So, I encourage you to please take care of yourself. Your mind and body will love you for it!