Coming back to the fundamentals, we need to understand that the mind is not synonymous to the brain. The mind consists of mental states such as our emotions, thoughts, feelings, beliefs and attitudes whereas the brain is the organ that processes them. So basically the mind is software to the brain’s hardware. It can be considered analogous to the operating system. As the operating system influences the functioning of the computer and its efficiency and efficacy, in a similar manner our mind can influence not only the functioning of our brain but also other vital organs impacting the overall health and well-being of the body.
Our mental states can be either fully conscious or unconscious. It’s possible to have emotional reactions to situations without being aware of the exact reason why we are reacting. Each mental state causes either a positive or negative effect felt in the physical body because of its association with the respective physiology. For instance, as we feel fear within us, we start sweating and our breathing and heartbeat quickens. And when we feel anxious, our body starts producing stress hormones.
There are many mind-body therapies that focus on becoming more conscious of mental states and employing this increased awareness towards guiding our minds in the direction of well-being (and removing any self-sabotaging patterns). Hence, if we choose we can guide our mental states in a direction that is constructive, not destructive.
PS: If you enjoyed this two-part essay, I highly recommend watching the documentary film, Heal.
Also, I’d encourage you to read my book The Way of the Karma Yogi. This book is a distillation of the fundamental success principles that will guide you to live a meaningful and fulfilled life with respect to work, relationships, and beyond.
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