Our issue this month focuses on the mind and the body. And because each of us has a very personal connection with these two, one would speculate that we should have a reasonable understanding of their relationship together.
But, just as knowing how to drive a car doesn’t mean one has an understanding of how the car works, it’s more complicated than it may appear.
Let’s begin at the beginning. Who is in charge, the mind or the body? “Are you kidding?” you scoff. “Of course it’s the mind.” But the next time you stub your toe and yell “@&%*” in pain, consider how much you thought about your phraseology or why you were hopping up and down, rubbing your foot. Ok, then: am I arguing that the body controls the mind? No. My view is, actually, that the two are so tightly integrated that they each have a profound affect on the other, almost to the point where one might argue they are one and the same.
Historically, there have been many theories about the duality of the mind and the body, but more and more evidence demonstrates that there is a direct linkage between the two in terms of their ability to change each other’s state. We see this manifestation at work when we examine how attitudes can change body chemistry. High stress can negatively affect the body’s immune system, which then affects one’s health and well-being. Competitive athletes routinely win because of their “mental focus or toughness.” Solid training creates strong “muscle memory” and improved reaction times so that performance is enhanced.
These are not really new ideas. Many of our ancient philosophers and Eastern belief systems teach this interconnectivity. Consider Buddha’s comments: “To keep the body in good health is a duty, for otherwise we shall not…be able to keep our mind strong and clear.” Buddha is not alone; our past is riddled with quotes of counsel about the mind/body connection.
“Early to bed and early to rise, makes a
man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”
“Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.” (John F. Kennedy)
And the comical conclusion to all this is captured in the statement, “Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” (Jim Rohn)
The implications of this line of thinking are very exciting. It suggests that many of the outcomes that we each experience can be managed much more effectively. It hypothesizes that we can establish more aggressive goals and achieve them if we really believe in ourselves. Tanya Streeter, a world record holder in freediving and our cover feature this month, exemplifies how the wonderful relationship between mind and body can work in absolute harmony to achieve results that appear superhuman. She has defied enormous pressures at over 500 feet under water while enduring over three minutes without a breath. Such a feat could not have been achieved without the mind and body being totally connected in ways we may never understand.
Sure, Tanya’s feat is clearly extraordinary, but everyday, normal folks are doing extraordinary things by believing in themselves and you can, too. Read Tanya’s story and be inspired.
Keep Austin Fit,