Back in May, I read a post on the blog Course of Mirrors called “. . .on awareness. . .” (To read it yourself, click here: http://courseofmirrors.wordpress.com/2011/05/14/thoughts-on-awareness/ )
The central assumption of the article is that there are psychological laws as immutable as scientific ones. Roberto Assagioli, M. D. has included a list in his book The Act of Will. Assagioli and the blogger Course of Mirrors discuss how the mind (through psychology) affects humans, and specificly the writer.
The mind is powerful. That is why I posted several quotes on New Year’s Eve about the power of preparation. If you re-read those quotes before pondering the postulates I present (how’s that for alliteration?), you’ll begin to see the importance of the mental connection.
So, today I want to emphasize the simple mind-body correlation.
Chris Teo, Ph. D. says:
“Philip Parham wrote about two men who contracted tuberculosis around the same time. They both went to the same sanatorium. One went home after eighteen months, fully recovered and healthy. The other man was dead within six months. The disease was the same but the outcome was different. Why? William Osler, a famous American physician said: ‘What happens to a patient with tuberculosis depends more on what he has in his mind than what is in his chest.'”
Dr. Robert Good, a leader of psychoneuroimmunology said:
“A positive attitude and constructive frame of mind all improve our ability to resist infections, allergies, autoimmune disorders and cancers, whereas depression and pessimism decrease our ability to do so.”
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In the post from Course of Mirrors, the author writes:
Having experienced Feldenkreis work — and practices deriving from it – after doing a gentle physical exercise and repeating it in my imagination only, with eyes closed, the same physical reactions happen in my body. This explains why active imagination can affect mind and body at a deep level and change physical symptoms as well as states of mind.
When I hit my toe, elbow or head on an object, I repeat the exact contact and, in my imagination, send the impact back. There remains hardly any pain and the usual swelling is mild or does not occur at all.
Therapeutically, if a tense or hurtful part of the body is listened to and allowed a voice, the result can be instantaneous, much like when you lower yourself at eye-level to a toddler who has a tantrum, and do nothing else but acknowledge the rage, surprise, surprise, the tantrum stops.
What seems like magic, is actually simple and applies both ways: physical activity influences mood and mind, active imagination influences mood and body.
If researchers, patients and physicians believe that mind set–or use of the mind through thought process or imagination–alone can make a physical difference in our bodies, then we, as writers, should consider how to harness that tool for our work.