Science is gradually moving towards recognizing the interconnection between the mental state and the physical health of the body. If several years ago we could hear the claims about the reality of mind-body connection only from spiritual leaders, now we see more and more scientific studies find real evidence that our thoughts can indeed influence our physical state.
Let’s take a look at some of the recent studies demonstrating real examples of how your mind affects your body.
1. Positive Thinking and Meditation Can Improve Your Heart Health
While the mind and the heart may be rivals in the figurative sense, representing the eternal battle between feelings and logical thinking, it seems that in real life, they are actually the best friends.
Robert Schneider and his colleagues of the Maharishi University of Management divided 201 people into two groups: the first one took educational classes about healthy lifestyle and exercise and the second one attended a transcendental meditation course. The results of the study showed that the members of the meditation group had a 48% decrease in the overall risk of stroke and heart attack, compared to those from the health education group.
In another study conducted at the University of Illinois, the participants aged from 45 to 84 years were asked to take physical exams and fill out forms about their mental health and other factors, including age, race, smoking, etc. It was found that those who had reported having better mental health and being more optimistic had lower cholesterol levels and better overall cardiovascular health.
2. Your Mind Can Control Your Immune System
The mind is powerful enough to influence different systems of the human body, including the immune system. In fact, a person can be trained to control their immune responses.
Researchers at the Radboud University Medical Center in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, studied so-called Wim Hof method, which involves certain breathing and meditation techniques, as well as cold exposure. Then, 12 volunteers trained with this method, along with other 12 untrained volunteers, were injected a strain of bacteria that provokes flu-like symptoms. As you can imagine, the participants trained with Hof method displayed fewer and less intense flu-like symptoms, compared to the control group.
3. Building Muscles with Your Mind
What if instead of going to the gym you could just imagine yourself doing physical exercises and achieve real results? Science reveals that it’s not as unattainable as it may sound.
A study at Ohio University was focused on patients whose wrist was immobilized for four weeks while those not wearing casts were the study group. The volunteers were divided into two groups: the first one went through the guided mental workout and the second one did not. As a result, the participants who did mental exercises retained almost half of their original strength upon removal of the cast!
4. It Is Possible to Reduce the Physical Pain through Visualization
A clinical study presented at the conference EuroHeartCare 2014 showed that patients visualizing themselves in a safe place coped with the pain better during medical procedures than those who went through a conventional pain treatment. In an experiment, the researchers examined patients who had to undergo the ablation of atrial fibrillation (AF). 76 patients used the visualization technique and 71 patients went through the pain treatment. As a result, those who practiced visualization during the procedure reported being less sensitive to the pain and asked for fewer painkillers.
All these studies demonstrate once again that the human mind is an incredible tool that holds immense potential. We only need to learn how to use it. While the human mind still remains a mystery to modern science, there are certain techniques and practices, such as meditation and visualization, which have long been known to enhance our cognitive abilities, general well-being and physical health. Take advantage of these practices today, and you will soon witness positive changes in all aspects of your life and well-being.
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