Our mind and body are tightly interconnected.
I believe this to such a degree that I see no way to disconnect the two. Think about this scenario; You have a bad day at work or you awaken moody and not at your best. In these moments we often ditch personal and/or professional choices and tend to treat into areas of escape or pleasure. This is clearly not just the body or the mind at work but instead both working in unison for reasons that go beyond a singular driver.
Recent research is even beginning to show that our mindsets actually affect our physical being more significantly than first thought. A recent study 7 year study( 2010 -2017) just released findings that show people who thought of themselves as unhealthy or less active actually had a higher mortality rate despite controlled exercise and diet programs for the three groups involved.
So What Can We Do?
Your identity influences your actions – If you identify as a healthy person, that can influence you to do other healthy activities. For example, when a friend asks you to go hiking with them, you’ll think “Of course I’ll go! I’m a healthy person who loves hiking.” instead of thinking, “I’m not sure, I need to get more fit first before I can do something like that.”
Negative self-judgment creates unnecessary stress – If you don’t exercise and you begin saying things to yourself like, “I’m a lazy, unhealthy slob” then that negative judgement is only going to increase your stress levels and affect your overall health. In general, stress is a huge factor that contributes to worse health outcomes and makes you more likely to get physically ill, so anything that adds unnecessary stress is likely bad for your physical health as well.
The placebo effect and the power of suggestion – Our beliefs may also have a power to activate biological processes that our body is capable of doing on its own. For example, most placebo effects can be considered a type of “self-healing” that comes from within. Learning can be an interesting way to boost your mental and physical health.
All of these are common theories as to how our minds can influence our bodies. It’s likely that all 3 of these mechanisms mentioned above play some role in our overall health.
Please Note Of course this doesn’t mean that your mind always triumphs over your body. If you spend all day sitting on your butt, eating junk food, and consuming alcohol or smoking cigarettes, then there’s no amount of “mental power” that is going to save you from bad habits when it comes to your health and fitness.
However, it’s still important to realize that our mindset does make a big difference. And if we want to maximize our physical health, or begin embarking on a healthier lifestyle, then we have to pay just as much attention to our minds as we do our bodies.
Overall, your mindset matters a lot when it comes to a lot of different areas of your life, including your physical health. So don’t underestimate the importance of getting your mind right and cultivating a healthy attitude and perspective!