Stress and body and mind

Recognizing the relationship between body and mind has been a taboo for a very long time. However, in the development of tranquilizers and antidepressants, scientific research has recently shown that there are clear relationships between body and mind. But many scientists still frown on this topic.

Greek temples for body and mind

Thousands of years ago, the Greeks already knew that body and mind are inextricably linked. They treated body and mind in their temples dedicated to Asclepius (god of surgery). The body was worked on by doing exercises and eating healthy, but there was also music and social gatherings to relax the mind. The temples were built in beautiful places, sometimes with a view of the sea.

Separation of body and mind

In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries the idea arose that the mind had nothing to do with the body. If there were no physical abnormalities, nothing could be wrong. In fact, this separation of body and mind has more or less continued for centuries.

Mind influencing products

Only a few ways to influence the mind through the body are generally recognized, such as the use of alcohol, caffeine and nicotine and tranquilizers and antidepressants prescribed by doctors. However, many believe that certain products should not be used or should be used much less.

Stress ensures adequate response

When stressed, blood pressure rises, the heart beats faster and adrenaline is released. In a situation of sudden serious danger, the stress that arises can be life-saving because an adequate response can be taken within a fraction of a second. Short-term stress can also be very beneficial for the correct response to less threatening situations. But if the stress continues for weeks, months and even years, stress-related diseases arise.

Stress sensitivity, genes and environment

Like the ancient Greeks, more and more experts today are convinced that spiritual practices such as positive thinking, meditation, listening to music and praying can have a positive influence on health. The most important thing in all of this is that people believe in it. Stress sensitivity is also not the same for everyone and is partly genetically determined and partly dependent on environmental factors. This genetic determination may ensure that positive thinking, meditation, listening to music and praying cannot sufficiently influence stress sensitivity.

No separation between empty stomach and thinking about food

In our daily thinking we often try to separate body and mind, although the two belong together just as day belongs to night. One does not exist without the other. An example of this connection is an empty stomach, which gives the brain a signal and the hungry person can only think about food. There is also a reverse effect because, for example, fear can express itself in something physical, such as a certain feeling in the throat or stomach area. With anger, muscles such as the neck muscles or jaw muscles can tense.

Don’t bottle up emotions for long periods of time

All those signals have a function. Built-up tensions are discharged through emotions and indicate to the environment what someone is going through. Expressing this is also important because long-term bottling up of emotions can have negative effects on the body. Therefore, do not save emotions until the weekend, but take opportunities to express them immediately. A rider who wins the sprint does not cheer an hour later.

Getting and keeping body and mind in balance

Having a good network is essential for the necessary social support when expressing emotions. Social isolation has a high risk factor. Also look for mentally relaxing outlets, which can be very different per person and range from taking nature walks to learning to play an instrument or any other hobby. And remember that an activity that is too short and only takes place once a week will not be enough to get and keep the body and mind in balance.

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