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COMMENTARY: Mind and body

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- We talked last week about the interconnectedness of the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual components of ourselves. We said they are not in fact four things, but one thing with four branches. Today I want to focus specifically on the connection between the mind and the body. Now I know I am neither a psychologist nor a doctor. I am speaking only as an observer. The research about the mind/body connection is well documented. The studies of things like placebo effects and psycho-physical phenomenon are numerous. It is scientifically proven that when we are experiencing periods of consistent high stress it has a very real effect on the body. We become more susceptible to sickness, disease, tension is manifested in various parts of the body, anxiety manifests itself in very physical ways, etc.

So what is the solution? Well one solution is to stop dividing our lives up into sections and start treating it as a whole. There are many cases and cultures that retain a sort of stigma against therapy, mental health, and taking care of our minds. However, if we don’t take care of our minds, we will find it will have an effect on our bodies. Likewise, if we don’t take care of our bodies it will have an effect on our minds. There is also abundant research about how what we eat impacts our mental and cognitive functions, and also the impact that exercise has on mental health. They are interconnected and cannot be separated. I implore all of us to take care of our bodies, and to pay attention to our minds. Do not neglect one or the other because they both inform and impact each other.