Our mind and body are interlinked and interconnected in mysterious ways. If we bring any change in our mind, it simultaneously affects our body as well. And if we bring any change in body it simultaneously affects our mind as well. We have experience of mind-body impact in our daily life on a routine basis. How would be it for you to prepare for your university exams while you have a migraine or a tension headache the day before? Will it be the same as you prepare physically well for your exam? Obviously it would be difficult to prepare for exams on that day. This is a common experience we share which gives us an idea that physical ailments will affect our mental state, which will in turn affect the productivity in our life. Let’s take another scenario, you had a fight with your spouse or had a very bad day with her and you are a person with migraine or peptic ulcer disease in the stomach. How would you think the intensity of physical pain in head or stomach would be after that stressful event with your spouse? Will the pain increase or decrease? Obviously with no doubt that we will experience a heightened perception of pain. This is a common experience shared by many men and women who definitely understands that a stressful mind can affect their body, which will in turn lead to a decreased productivity in workplace.
We study this interaction between our mind and body scientifically in great detail in mainstream branch of medicine like psycho-neuro-immunology and psychosomatic medicine. This is a very interesting field to be in, as it gives us a greater insight on how much our mind is affecting our body and vice versa even in terms of molecular biology and epigenetics. Let’s discuss the case of how our stress can give us a heavy headache in the end of the day. While we have a conflict with our spouses or anyone in life, it is observed that we develop this tension headache by the end of the day or soon after the fight. When tension headache develops as a result of our stress, there is an increased pain sensitivity of myofascial neurons in the supraspinal region as well as second order neurons in the spinal dorsal horn or the trigeminal nucleus (nucleus of the fifth cranial nerve) and at the same time there is a decreased antinociception or inability of the body to stop painful stimuli to the supraspinal structures, that leads to development of tension headache (1, 2) How profound it is, isn’t it? The stress we have in life can increase pain sensitivity of the neurons and decrease the ability of neurons to combat pain perception.
So, let’s a take a close look on our stress and what it have to do with our peptic ulcer disease. Peptic ulcer disease gives us a severe pain in the upper abdomen. Most often you will have noticed in your life that the pain in the upper abdomen increases as you are exposed to negative environment where you are bullied a lot or even when exposed to situations in life of which you have no control over. The pain you experience in the upper abdomen is nothing but due to an increased production of hydrochloric acid eroding the lining of the stomach wall causing inflammation and pain. It can be simply put to a formula that bullying can cause stress and stress can cause an increased hydrochloric acid secretion that can worsen the peptic ulcer disease leading to a decreased productivity in things that we do in life because of this unbearable abdominal pain. So how is it, this stress causing abdominal pain? When at chronic stress, cortisols are produced from the outer cortex of the adrenal gland, which decreases the blood flow to the stomach by constricting blood vessels to stomach, resulting in the decreased prostraglandin synthesis leading to a decreased mucus production which lines the stomach; these cortisols also inhibits the local immune system of the gut, favoring the growth of H.pylori bacteria that causes peptic ulcer disease and in addition cortisols increases the hydrochloric acid production within the stomach by stimulating the G cells which produces the Gastrin hormone which stimulates the Parietal cells in the stomach that produces gastric acid, leading to the ulceration of the gastric mucosa, giving rise to peptic ulcer disease.(3)
The above two examples gives you a scientific basis, on how your mind affects your body so badly, when it is put under stressful situations. Similarly, even if our body is put under physical trauma, it can affect our mind so badly. Just imagine, you got a tendon injury the day before your first ever competition in the foot ball field for Olympics that happen once in four years, how badly would you miss that opportunity and imagine how badly you will be stressed of missing again four years that would mark your history. The injury is to the tendon, but it is your mind that is stressed because of the physical injury. When you are stressed, the brain perceives the pain as more painful, driving you to negative mindset leading to negative outcomes in life. When the painful stimuli keep entering into brain through ascending pain pathway, it triggers the HPA axis in the brain to release Corticitrophin releasing hormone from hypothalamus, which further stimulates the pituitary gland to produce ACTH hormones. These ACTH in turn can stimulate the adrenal gland to outpour stress hormone cortisol into bloodstream acting on different receptors in the body, making us feel getting stressed. Moreover chronic stress, diminishes the activity of nucleus accumbens resulting in low dopamine release, making the person to experience hyperalgesia, a mental state in which he perceive pain so intensely (4).

It’s pretty amazing isn’t it! Look at the marvelous neuro-chemical events that are taking place in the right from our mind to the body and from body to the mind. If you desire have a healthy body, it is very convincing from this evidences that your mind is in charge of the health of your body. If you get it right, then you get your body right.

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