How the Mind Affects the Body and Stress Levels

How the Mind Affects the Body and Stress Levels

Psychosomatics, or the influence of the psyche on body diseases, has been known since ancient times, but the mechanism of this phenomenon has long remained a mystery. Recent research has helped discover interesting facts that shed light on the nature of psychosomatics and explain what helps us deal with stress.

How the mind is connected with the body

Our thoughts originate in the cerebral cortex – the brain structure responsible for the higher mental activity of man. And many body functions, including a reaction to stress, are regulated by hormones that are synthesized in the endocrine glands. For example, the adrenal glands are responsible for the production of adrenaline and norepinephrine, which are released into the bloodstream during stress and are responsible for the “hit or run” response.

Scientists have previously suggested that some areas of the cortex should control the work of the adrenal glands, but their specific number and location remained a mystery.

In a 2016 study published in the works of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States, it was found that there is a huge number of nerve connections between the cerebral cortex and the adrenal medulla.

According to new data, the greatest influence comes from the motor, or motor, areas of the cortex, from the zones responsible for cognitive abilities and sites that control the heat of passion. This allows us to draw several useful conclusions.

We can control the heat

In response to stress, various changes occur in our body: palpitations increase, sweating increases, and pupils dilate. These changes help the body prepare for action and are part of the hit or run response. However, in the modern world, such reactions are more likely to interfere: they do not allow you to concentrate and act effectively.

The body’s reaction to the heat seems uncontrollable, but research proves the opposite. Since a network of neurons connects the adrenal glands and the areas of the cerebral cortex responsible for self-control, we can control our body’s response to stress.

Do not follow your emotions and body reactions. Try different techniques to deal with stress: deep breathing, positive thoughts, focus on the present, meditation.

Yoga and Pilates help fight stress

Scientists have discovered that the motor regions of the cortex, responsible for the intention to move and the movement itself, have a significant effect on the adrenal medulla. One of these areas is the part of the primary motor cortex that controls the axial movement of the body and posture.

This connection explains why exercises for developing core muscles help deal with stress, and why practices like yoga and pilates have a calming effect. They require the correct position of the body, the development of coordination, and flexibility, which positively affects the ability to remain calm and control stress.

Negative memories cause stress

The study also found that areas of the cortex that are activated when we get into a conflict or make a mistake are also associated with the adrenal glands.

When you submit your mistake again, blame yourself for past events or recall traumatic events, the cortex sends signals to the adrenal medulla and the body reacts in the same way as during real events: adrenaline and norepinephrine are released into the bloodstream, the “hit or run. ”

This proves the benefits of positive thinking for physical and mental health. There are no negative thoughts – there is no additional stress, which immediately affects the state of the body.

So, new discoveries prove that between the mind and the body – the brain and adrenal glands – there is a real connection. Psychosomatics has anatomical mechanisms, which means that we can influence the state of our body with the help of the mind and control the reaction to stress through exercises, meditation, and positive thinking.

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