The Mind/Brain Connection

Most of us use the term ‘brain’ to describe the grey squishy stuff inside our head, and ‘mind’ to use human consciousness made apparent to us through thought, imaginings, emotions, urges, etc. (I know that isn’t a great definition, because it doesn’t include the subconscious, but it’s sufficient to make the desired distinction here.)

Sadly, if you’re prone to depression, and your body’s health goes down, your mood may often follow.

This is what’s happened to me these last few days: I’ve had something like gastro, and my mood has plummeted.

However, in more positive news, I’ve been doing some great inner work. All those years of meditating and imagining are paying off. Yay! It’s not all easy, but I have a sense of things changing and shifting in my psyche. Some might theorize that’s what the gastro-like episodes have been about: my body symbolically rejecting the ‘bad’ in the same way that my mind is changing its habits. (I sort of doubt it, though; that all sounds like a bit of hippy BS to me.)

Anyway, now to focus on getting the body well so the brain can function optimally so the mind can be happy. “Simples”!

 

P.S. Why does “List of Star Trek races” keep coming up in the list of suggested tags for this post?! I’m not even a trekkie!

4 Comments

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4 responses to “The Mind/Brain Connection

  1. Hi hope you are starting to feel better. I don’t think people realize the effect of physical illness on mental well being. There is a very strong link. I found working with some people in the past that even the smallest of physical illness triggered mental illness. The head, fascinating yet annoying all rolled into one.

    • Yes, thank you! And what do we know about psychotropic medications? Along with all other drugs, they have “side effects” which affect the body … hence the brain … hence?! Not that I am arguing against antidepressants etc – I just find that a cute paradox.
      If I have a superpower, it would be psychosomaticism. I suspect my nausea etc of the last few days may have been contributed to by emotional shifts due to inner work (on top of having eaten way too much unhealthy food the day before).
      Did you find that people with mental health issues you worked with were more sensitive to physical health problems? This is my personal experience, and has been anecdotally confirmed by some psych workers I know, but others think the idea’s absurd.

      • In a word ‘yes’ I saw the effects for someone who for example became mentally unwell every time they got a urinary tract infection. So the mental illness became an indicator to check of physical wellness in some cases and it was astounding that the majority of the time there was a physical illness behind it.

        I know that this is not applicable to everyone. But over the 6 years I worked in the mental health field I saw it many times.

        On the other end of the spectrum I am completely different. My physical and mental illness do not seem to be connected in any way.

        I do suffer from the side effects of medication. But it’s essential at times for me to take them and cope with the effects.

        I don’t think that when I become physically unwell that my mental illness increases. Or maybe I just don’t see the connection?

        Thanks for the interesting post, really makes you think! :)

      • Thank you!
        Yes, the UTI connection was much talked about among medication education groups I’ve attended recently. Participants were mainly female in most cases. I am not sure whether there was some research published which prompted this interest? Bit weird that it popped up now – it wasn’t on the agenda a couple of years ago, in my experience.
        Also – without wanting to scuttle my own argument here – I guess it’s always tempting, when dealing with mental health issues, to over-pathologize. I’ve never heard anyone say “Yippee! I’ve got a cold!” or “Yay! I get to stay home for a week with the flu!” Being sick makes us all feel lousy.
        So it is indeed a tangled knot … body and brain and mind and mood.
        Always appreciate your thoughtful responses.

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