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Health Psychology: Influence of Thought on Body

Abstract

Mind’s thought has been found to control most of the body’s behavior regarding health issues in human life. The argument is, if an individual can focus on a certain control of his/her mind and imagine that he/she is already being subjected to the physical conditions he/she would desire to have, then it is possible to achieve that target. This has been applied in the field of medicine where patients for example receive healing after meditating through visualization having undergone surgery of disease such as cancer even when they have not. Through research, the overall problem regarding human health originates from the head of the patient as it will be illustrated in the rest of this paper.

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Introduction

The mind’s thoughts can overpower the body and its many systems because of the connection that exists between the body and the mind. If an individual is good at regulating the mind, he/she can heal diseases and reduce the stress that people normally encounter in day-to-day life. One example that was given by a teacher of psychology is that, if one closes his eyes and thinks and truly believes the hot sun is beating down on him/her, even in a freezing room, it is possible for that person to regulate body temperature through thought if he/she is good at it. However, biology has been challenging most of the beliefs that have been held in the field of psychology and physiology as well as spiritually after the discovery of the DNA. In spite of these challenges, recent studies have shown that most illnesses are caused by unhappiness. According to (William, 2000), initially, various illnesses and disorders were thought to be genetic and therefore could be inherited from parents but this was just an excuse for most of our distress. Research in psychology, therefore, suggests that the great healer of most illnesses is joy.

The study of brain and health

Recently, many doctors have been telling their patients that, their illness is in their head even when the affected areas are actually the best parts of their bodies. However, most patients have not been taking this implication positively and have been interpreting it as a failure by the doctors to tell the source of their problems. Another reason why they could not accept the argument is that, admitting that meant more responsibility for the patient to maintain good health in day-to-day life. However, brain studies have been successful in providing evidence on this. A person’s thoughts can influence the chemistry in the brain causing negative emotions that can affect the chemistry of the brain and consequently physical and mental health. Fear and stress; both of which are negative emotions can make a person’s body susceptible to illnesses as well as cause real disease. Studies have that; the converse of this is true because the same chemical mechanism that causes diseases on people can be reversed to function for the good of us in healing the diseases as well as in prevention. This effect of healing has healed a large number of patients who were able to believe they would be cured by their positive minds. Several patients have also been able to prevent themselves from diseases that would otherwise attack them according to their past records on health (Wilson, 2003).

(Lawrence, 2001) argued that, the effects of the brain’s thought works through the power of suggestion. The patient acquires a strong belief that he/she has already taken the required medication and gets cured. For example, patients who have believed they have had surgery for the treatment of cancer even when the surgery had not been administered have had their cancer clear up after having been given just sugar pills. This new biology goes further to argue that, beyond the power of suggestion, the patient needs to have actually thought as well as the words to change the chemistry of the brain. Epigenetics is the field that studies communication in the body through neural chemical and vibration signals in a large number of the cells in the brain. This is according to extensive research done by one scientist by the name of Bruce in this field.

The literal meaning of the name epigenetic is “above genes” to means that, the mind is the one that controls the genes. The doctor says that a person’s mind can re-write his/her genes and compares the cells in a human being to computer chips where each represents a bit of information. These two information processing systems receive information via different routes causing a reaction to take place. Our way of thinking has therefore been changed. (Johann, 2004).

Although even before a baby is born he/she has complete programmed cells in the brain, the programming can be altered to act according to a new design. This is done by altering the process through which information travels through the cells. Cancer attacks some cells in the body because the particular cells receive instructions from the brain to become cancerous. If a person understands this and change his/her believes thus altering the messages to the cells, he/she can receive healing. If an individual can eliminate the belief that it is the genes that cause cancer, there would be no negative worries as well as thoughts regarding cancer that plague him/her even if his/her parents or relatives have cancer. If this belief would be adopted by many, it would be a long-term solution to a large number of cancer incidences. A few chemicals such as Dopamine, serotonin, and Nor-epinephrine as well as Endorphins also play a major role in controlling the chemistry of the brain. These chemicals perform different effects on different areas of the body. For example, the effects of endorphin are applied by most runners where messages are sent to their brains causing more or less of certain chemicals to be produced in an amount that largely depends on the needs of the body at that particular time. Research has shown that bodily processes can stimulate these messages to tell an individual’s mind what they need. Mental processes can also stimulate thought that later become the origin of certain signaling messages making the body behave in a certain way. Unfortunately, it is difficult for people to understand the concept of thought as the origin of the behavior of their body (Pelletier, 2003).

Examples of how thought controls body

It is evident how easy it is for a person’s sexual emotions and a chemical change that results is manipulated when he or she watches pornographic materials. Other emotions can also be regulated by various other visuals from television and movies in the same manner. If a person reads a novel that is creating a lot of suspense, changes can be elicited in his/her brain chemistry. Another consideration is how a football coach causes the pumping of adrenalin in his players before they start the match (William, 2000).

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When a person subjects his/her mind to a lot of negative stimuli, he/she is likely to suffer from illnesses that are stress-induced. When the mind becomes stressed, the capacity of the immune cells to protect the body reduces. On the other hand, if a person is experiencing a relaxed emotional state, the level of immune cells increases and is, therefore, less likely to suffer from diseases. Research has shown that, if one can practice meditation and always engage in positive thinking as well as other methods that bring relaxed mood, he/she can increase immunity to fight diseases. These maintain a balanced state of chemistry and provide a healthful environment for the cells. Positive practices of the mind increase the level of confidence in an individual by first changing chemical levels (Lawrence, 2001).

If certain words are repeated severally, new paths for the chemicals are created and once they are established, a new pattern of thought becomes habitual. For example, a person who has been trying to shed some weight can obtain more willpower by changing the statement of his/her belief “it is not possible to loose this weight.” to “I will soon loose some of my weight.”

For the last 45years, psychotherapy known as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has undergone a lot of development based on the fact that one’s thoughts can alter behavior as well as overwrite his/her memory. Teachers of therapy mainly focus on teaching their clients how to acquire new rational and self-counseling skills. This kind of counseling is quick in achieving positive results especially if the client can easily shape his/her thoughts as well as feelings. He/she should also have a will to alter the mind depending on his/her needs. Mapping in brain activity has been studied and a comparison was made between patients who have been administered with anti-depressants and those undergoing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Brain changes were observed in later-evolving parts of the brain in the patients undergoing CBT. These parts are the one that determines cognition and memory as well as planning in human beings.

Pharmacological treatment was also observed to cause changes to brain regions linked with basic functions such as breathing and overall motor control of the brainstem and cerebrum. From the study, it appeared the felt changes regarding behavior and mood were similar and resulted from different mechanisms based on both drugs and therapy that did not use drugs. Today, meditation and visualization techniques are taught to patients to improve the process of healing. This involves conscious control as well as directing thought in an individual to control various diseases. Research has shown that, if meditation is repeated regularly, it is effective in reducing hypertension which is associated with the larger percentage of heart attacks. Reduced high blood pressure is also effective in reducing susceptibility to strokes and excess cholesterol in the blood. Other researches have also indicated that, if meditation is administered regularly, it can help in increasing the level of blood for certain hormones important in providing immunity to the body system. At the same time, regular meditation lowers the level of stress hormones associated with various diseases. Meditation is also beneficial in reducing symptoms of migraine, back pains, disorders associated with digestion, both types of diabetes, goiter as well as arthritis (Pelletier, 2003).

Meditation involving visualization allows the patient to vividly imagine possible outcomes he/she would wish to achieve. For example, the patient can imagine white blood cells attacking bacteria responsible for the disease he/she has. This imagination has the capacity to influence psychological processes such as salivation, increased heart rate, and variation in blood pressure as well as glucose levels in the blood. Therefore, many things are a result of great influence by intensely concentrated thought. Such a concentration requires the conscious and unconscious parts of the brain to be focused and freed from distraction. For this goal to be achieved, one must define all the necessary steps expected through his/her concentrated thought in a detailed manner. This is why some people who have strong faith speak to the parts of the body affected by sickness and cause healing on them. Research provides evidence that physical conditions such as sounds and vibrations work in promoting healing. Most healing traditions were achieved through sounds and prayers as well as chants and playing of music; all of which are sound waves that affect bodily functions (Lawrence, 2001).

The body of a human being is therefore a wonderful thing with its mind being more incredible because of its power to cause mental and emotional as well as physical healing. However, it has been found that it is not easy to alter thought patterns, and sometimes it is extremely hard to do so. Only when one is good at it and has the determination to acquire good health, this method is effective. The greatest advantage about these methods of healing is that they have no side effects and also, anyone who upgrades his/her thought automatically upgrades his/her health.

Conclusion

The connection between the mind and the body, therefore, gives human beings the capacity to use their thoughts to feel what they want to experience. The influence of the mind over matter is real and is no longer a fantasy as it was regarded by many when it was advocated in the 18th century. In the past, the idea received negative reviews until recent times when the truth is revealing. Therefore, basically, the mind’s thoughts can overpower the body and its many systems.

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References

  1. William S. (2000): Influence of Body on Mind in Health & Disease: Harvard University pp. 452-459
  2. Wilson W. (2003): The influence of the mind over the body: H.W. Wilson Co pp. 392-400
  3. Lawrence H. (2001): Dreaming Brain: Physiology and Pathology: Rout ledge and sons, limited pp. 45-56
  4. Johann J. (2004): The influence of joy: University of Michigan pp. 23-31
  5. Pelletier K. (2003): Sound Mind, Sound Body: A New Model for Lifelong Health: Fireside pp. 35-42

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