The essence of the mind and its connection to the body have been seen larger of a mystery as science has developed in its comprehension of the brain and body. Recommended clarifications frequently have implications about the nature of mind as a whole. “René Descartes suggested substance dualism, a hypothesis in which mind and body are fundamentally different, with the mind holding part of the attributes traditionally accredited to the soul.” (Fullbrook, 2004). This produces a mystery, to what degree the two interact. Evidence of a solid correlation between mind and body has caused this sort of dualism to be shunned. Nevertheless, there is testimony to prove that mind over matter is more than an illusion or idea, it is a reality.
“It doesn’t matter, according to Larry Dossey, M.D. in Healing Words, whether you remember to do it at the appropriate time or do it early or later. The action of mentally projected thought or prayer is “non-local,” i.e. not dependent on distance or time, citing some 30+ experiments on human and non-human targets (including yeast and even atoms), in which recorded results showed changes from average or random to beyond-average or patterned even when the designated thought group acted after the experiment was over.”
We often think of our bodies and minds as two separate entities, it turns out both are much more entwined than we might imagine. Researchers are constantly uncovering data that the brain has a different ability to manipulate the body’s physiology. The connection can work in our favor or detriment, depending on our knowledge of the situation and our ability to prove the point that the mind has a great connection on the body. A Harvard professor conducted an experiment on a group of overweight hotel maids whom should have been thinner due to their exercise levels. Despite their work activities and daily working habits, Langer found through a survey that 67% of the girls thought they didn’t do any exercise. Langer predicted the maids’ thoughts were hindering their own weight issues, so she took half the group aside and explained that through their daily duties they were exceeding the definition of an active lifestyle; the other half of the group were given no additional data. “A month later, Langer’s team returned to the hotel and reevaluated the maids. They found an overall decrease in systolic blood pressure, weight, and waist-to-hip ratio in the educated group. The other group had no significant physical changes. While some suspect the mere discussion of exercise somehow altered the women’s behavior, Langer said there was no indication any of the maids modified their routines, and she feels the results were due directly to a change in mindset.” (Spiegel, 2008).
Stanford conducted a study of 86 women with late-stage breast cancer. Half of those women received usual medical care while the others were given weekly maintenance meetings in addition to the standard medical care. During the break-out sessions the group shared their obstacles, discussed feelings with one another, and had a positive outlet where they could discuss their issues. At the end of the clinic, the support group lived longer than those, not in the group. A similar case found that others who have feelings of weakness and hopelessness have a lower probability of survival. (Harrington, 2009).
An Air Force serviceman was locked up in a tiny, dingy North Vietnamese jail for seven years. While nearly all would fail to keep their minds in such situations, Hall went to his happy place, by mentally playing golf every day of his captivity. His visualizations were notably in-depth and encompassed everything from hitting the ball off the tee, sweeping the sand traps, feeling the breeze, and of course tapping the ball into the hole. After his release, he was asked to play golf at a US Open and he shot a 76. He had envisioned himself playing golf daily and it came naturally to him. The press asked him if it was beginners luck due to the shock of his abilities; this goes to prove that you have to have a dream in your heart and see it in your mind to make your dream a reality.
In one case, written by the American Psychiatric Press, a scientist noted how drugs prescribed to a dissociative identity disorder patient had various results depending on whichever “personality” took the medication. For instance, if a tranquilizer was presented to the man’s childish persona, it made the individual drowsy and at ease. Yet, when the adult character was administered the same medicine it made him anxious and frustrated. Comparable outcomes were obtained with other subjects and a variety of different prescriptions. Experts even discerned visibly apparent traits would come and go depending on which character was present. (Bennight, 2012).
Unquestionably it is difficult to keep a good outlook when you’re facing a life-threatening condition, but, based on medical research, doing so may determine the difference between life or death. Prayers of thanksgiving make us focus on the good in our lives and not the bad. A heart of gratitude will serve us well. Mind over matter does work and a positive attitude with faith can move mountains.
Bennight, A. (2012). Diseases of the Mind.
Dossey, L. (1993). Healing Words.
Fullbrook, E. (2004). Elgar Companion to Economics and Philosophy.
Harrington, A. (2009). The Cure Within: A history of mind-body medicine. Health & Fitness
Spiegel, A. (2008, January 3). Hotel Maids Challenge The Placebo Effect.