What is #psychophysiology? And why should you care?
Psychophysiology is the academic exploration of the mind-body connection for health and wellness.
There are many people, from many walks of life, who have explored mind-body healing from different angles. For myself, I have had the great privilege to pursue an academic career and am currently enrolled in a Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies and have devoted my studies to psychophysiological themes.
Most of us are intuitively aware of the mind-body connection. We use everyday expressions to describe the ways our emotions manifest physically in the body all the time. (Check out my ebook ‘It’s All in Your Head; And Other Colloquial Truths’ to see what I mean!)
But what fewer of us are aware of, is the dramatic ways our emotional experiences effect our health.
Since Dr. Herbert Benson published his book ‘The Relaxation Response’ detailing the relationship between stress and heart disease, we’ve accepted that stress and cardiovascular health often go hand-in-hand. But fewer of us are aware that stress is also a factor in nearly every health issue ranging from irritable bowel syndrome to psoriasis to fibromyalgia.
Studies show that stress is even a factor in the likelihood of contracting the common cold!
If that’s not enough to convince you that the mind-body connection is an important part of healthcare, I encourage you to do your own research. Or even better, I encourage you to think about a time you had a physical response to an emotional event!
When your body talks, do you listen?
From a very young age you’re taught to ignore the natural signals your body sends us. You’re told to wait to use the bathroom, to hold it, to ignore it until it’s convenient. You deny your hunger signals for the sake of work, or because you’re too busy, or because it’s inconvenient. You go to work and school despite cold and flu symptoms, you have an allotted number of sick days, and it’s not really that bad, is it?
These actions may seem benign on their own, but I believe they speak to a bigger pattern of minimizing our organic communication systems between mind and body.
Ignoring hunger signals once or twice might be alright, but what happens when you ignore that signal every day for a year? For two years? For 40?
Your mind and body are built to communicate with one another; your body sends signals for survival, pain, temperature, movement, health and happiness all day, every day. Are you listening? Or are you waiting until a convenient moment that might never come?
For more thoughts like this, find me on Facebook or Instagram @mindfulhealingterran