Mental Health and the Importance of the Mind Body Connection
On this episode of Anti-Aging Hacks, we discuss Mental Health which is an extremely important topic.
This is a solosode where I discuss:
1. Why Life Expectancy in the US is declining, and the importance of mental health
2. The Mind-Body connection and how it affects how we act, behave and manifest into our bodies
3. How we can use the Body to influence the Mind
The Journal of the American Medical Association recently published a shocking study in my opinion. The study found that life expectancy in the USA increased from 69.9 to 78.9 from 1959 to 2014. But here is the kicker, life expectancy declined for three straight years after 2019.
And the worst part about that is this decline is largely driven by increases in deaths of people between 25-64 years old, the so-called healthy years. How could this be so? Looking into the report even further, I found that the majority of these people died due to drug overdoses, suicides and alcohol related diseases. These are referred to as Deaths of Despair by one research group.
Forbes magazine reported recently that up to 53% of people in America are not happy with their jobs. Inc, Magazine reported that the number is as high as 70%. How could this be? We live in the most prosperous country in the best economy in recorded history. How are people dissatisfied?
And a third item is that lack of a defined life purpose in life, where people are drifting from job to job and are not finding deep meaning
We have got to dig in and figure out the answers here. This is starting to become an epidemic. This reminds me of one of my favorite movies Fight Club that has a scene called the Middle Children of History when Brad Pitt tells those me
- Advertisers have us chasing cars and clothes and jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need. We are the middle children of history men. No purpose and place. We have no great war and no great depression. Our great war is our spiritual war, our great depression is our lives. We have all been raised on television to believe that one day we will be millionaires and movie gods and rock stars but we wont. We are slowly learning that fact, and we are very very pissed off
- Or the second song that comes to mind, the song Jack and Diane by John Mellencamp. And the punch line of that song is: Oh yeah, life goes on, even after the thrill of living it is gone.
But does it have to be that way. Let's briefly discuss the Mind-body connection and the body mind connection.
A study by Georgia State university in 2003 found that the mind-body connection is real. Stress which originated In our thoughts and feeling has an effect on the body. Consider a couple of examples:
- Stress diminishes your body's immune response to viral infected cells and cancer cells
- Wounds heal less easily in stressed out people
- Stress can make autoimmune diseases worse
For centuries, healers have wondered about the mind and body connection. In fact, when I went to India last year I wanted to find some healers from Ayurvedic medicine and so I traveled to spiritual city in the north of India called Rishikesh and visited a very peaceful Ashram. On the second day of my trip I met with an Ayurvedic practitioner and I asked them to slow down my aging, and all the items I was doing in this regard, I got a 10 minute lecture first on the important of having a clear, calm and positive mind. Maybe he sensed that this was causing me to be unbalanced. It's advice that I am learning slowly to practice more and more.
According to the famed expert Deepak Chopra:
The mind-body connection happens on both a physical and chemical level. The brain is the hardware that allows you to experience mental states that are labeled the “mind.” which has mental states including thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, and emotions.
Different mental states can positively or negatively affect biological functioning. This occurs since the nervous, endocrine, and immune systems share a common chemical language. We already know that there constant communication between the mind and body through messengers like hormones and neurotransmitters.
We already know that stress leads to cortisol production which puts us in a fight and flight mode. This elevated levels of cortisol wreak havoc on our entire body, cause us to lose hair, leads to malfunctioning of the organs and to serious diseases. It can also lead us into the dark rode to depression.
As your body degenerates due to negative thoughts and stress, it starts to manifest other symptoms which then your mind starts to pick up on, leading to a very bad downward spiral of negative thoughts and bodily manifestations.
How do we heal these:
We will be touching a lot more of this topic this year, but to avoid build up of toxic emotions you need to become more present and identify these emotions as they arise. As Tony Robbins says, you much stand guard in the entrance of your mind.
It is much easier to cut out a negative emotion when it’s a little baby, as opposed to when it has become much bigger through repetition and it is like Godzilla taking over the city. Much harder to fight adult godzilla than a baby godzilla.
Meditation is another technique that is valuable for balancing the mind. One of the best results from meditation is that it allows space between stimulus and reponse.
Say someone cuts you off on the highway, instead of yelling and flicking them off three times, you could now choose to respond more positively, and think what if that person has to really go to the bathroom they are about to pee their pants?
This allows you much more control to be calmer and happier than if you yelled and screamed at them for a few minutes.
Some other techniques are Yoga, box breathing a couple of times a day, Tai Chi, Qi Gong, Hypnotherapy etc. These can help you become more aware of your body.
Body Mind Connection:
As we know, the mind and body are in a constant feedback loop. I have learned some personal lessons this last year that have stressed the importance of the body-mind connection.
Needless to say, ive been really surprised at my own relevations of the body-mind connection and how important it can be as a feedback loop for the mind.
Again we will touch on both these topics this year. But I want to wish you a happy new year and remind you of the importance to take care of both your mind and body.
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