The Body-to-Mind/Mind-to-Body Paradigm
Getting to Know the Reciprocal Body/Brain Experience
The human mind can be limitless in its potential, but it exists within physical parameters. Learn your body’s influence as you define your life.
PROCESSES TO EMPLOY: Brutal Honesty, I Over E, Present/Understand/Fix, Slowing Down Life’s Pace, Internal Focus, Fact-Finding, Life on Life’s Terms
For the better part of a century, in the physical/emotional/intellectual arenas, the debate has raged, surrounding one of those chicken-and-egg discussions. The central theme is whether biology or environment (nature versus nurture) has a more significant effect on the thoughts and actions of human beings. In this chapter, I am going to present what I call the body-to-mind/mind-to-body paradigm, and how your body and your mind work synergistically when the anxiety demon rears its ugly head.
I use the term “body-to-mind/mind-to-body” simply to illustrate the reciprocal nature, that back-and-forth communicative environment, that exists between your body and your mind (your brain). It is one that never stops, and understanding this shared metaphysical relationship will help you gain a clearer understanding about where your anxiety comes from, and what you can do to help reduce and possibly alleviate it.
In the context of our discussion, the mind-body connection is the belief that the causes, development, and outcomes of a physical illness can be determined from the interaction of the psychological and biological factors associated with it. This suggests that there may be communication on some level between these structures, often thought of as oppositional or at least as exerting their influence separately. We are going to examine the connection between these separate factors, and how they, together, exert their influence over you. That is a central theme of this chapter, and will provide you with valuable insights about the origins and development of the anxiety demon.
The interaction—that is, the reciprocity between the psychological and biological parts of who you are—operates as part of a communication system between these different but complementary human workhorses. The communication occurs as a result of chemical and physical messengers, such as the neurotransmitters and hormones, that assist your body in almost all of its routine daily functions. Your body feeds your mind, and your mind returns the favor by controlling bodily functions via its complex neurological pathways.
To make this simple, it means that your body and your mind are in constant communication, and this must be so for your life to continue. This process occurs even while you are sleeping. I have made internal balance an essential theme of everything I teach. For this life-energizing process to occur, that communication between the biological and psychological parts of who you are is the key factor that makes the whole circular life-sustaining event happen. So, how does this relate to the anxiety demon?
In Chapter 1, I introduced the notion that anxiety has a strong physical component associated with it, and that we need to pay more attention to the physical influencers as well as what we are thinking and feeling. If you’re following along, I was providing the initial introduction to the body-to-mind/mind-to-body paradigm. Anxiety should always be described as a physical and intellectual/emotional condition. To do otherwise would place you at risk of not addressing one of the very important causes of this life-altering condition.
There is no real division between the mind and the body. There can never be. The reason for this is that the network of communication between the mind and the body is dynamic and never ending. One simply cannot live without the other. Likewise, anxiety exists in the framework of the communicative exercises between your body and your mind. Your anxiety will always be a product of your body and your mind. What your body feels will be processed by your by your mind. Likewise, the stress being processed in your brain will be felt by your body. That said, the mind-body relationship is a marvelous friendship that, at optimal levels, can provide the impetus for everything wonderful in your life. However, for this remarkable friendship to exist, it is important to learn how to create a healthy synergistic relationship between these two best friends. I will be addressing this in greater detail as we proceed.