Body and mind
It's hard to talk about happiness without talking about physical happiness, health,love and body pleasure. However, this link is still not obvious to some of those who are interested in psychology and personal development. Traditionally, in Western societies, especially in France, the body has long been seen either as a machine that must work well, or as an animal that must be mastered. First, France is a country that is more intellectual than sentimental. For a long time, the great philosophers and writers have been valued more than the great sportsmen or the strong people capable of carrying heavy loads. We saw the body as a tool, which we use, a machine, even a simple vehicle intended to transport our brain. He was asked to obey in silence, that is, to be healthy and to function well. Secondly, because France has until recently been deeply marked by the Judeo-Christian culture, where the body was seen as our impure part, the one that by its desires is an obstacle to purity and therefore to the elevation of the soul. This wicked body asks us indeed to eat (and hop, sin of gluttony), to sleep (sin of laziness), to pee and poop (it's dirty) and to copulate (bam, the worst, the luxure). Mastering what is the exact list of our basic needs to reach paradise, has long been what we tried to keep it at bay, to master it, and to ignore it. It is only thanks to recent scientific and medical studies, especially in the field of neuroscience, that we have been able to understand that"body and mind are neither the same thing nor two totally separate things: they are two different entities but very closely connected." (Christophe André1). Great thinkers, such as Denis Diderot and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, somewhat in opposition to these centuries of the dark, have shown that the human being is a whole, and that his bodily feelings have an emotional impact, and vice versa. But it was really in the last century (the twentieth, and yes, it is progressing), that medicine, psychology and especially neuroscience made it possible to understand what our body is: a very complex, subtle ecosystem, in which many interactions occur. And not just a brain that controls muscles and organs. As is nature in fact… an ecosystem where everything is linked. Everything about the brain touches the body, and vice versa, via our interface system: emotions. An emotion is always felt both in the body and by mental contents. For example, everyone has already noticed that fear makes us pale, make us beat our hearts and sweat, can prevent us from sleeping, give us headaches, diarrhea, tire us … and that when we are in love we look better, a physical energy that makes us able not to sleep to spend the night with the loved one. Our emotions are very important in our physical health as well as our mental health. In our evolution, our brain has evolved from the most primitive (our reptilian brain, placed at the base of the skull, at the top of the spine), to the emotional brain, which appeared before our most "modern", the most rational, intelligent brain: the neo-frontal cortex, which as its name suggests is located behind our forehead. Our emotions constitute an intuitive brain, which understands everything faster and differently than our cortex, and gives answers long before we can think: for example, a car that arrives at high speed on us triggers fear, which gives the information to the body, which makes it jump to the side, before we have even thought… and fortunately! In this case, it was the primitive and emotional brains that acted. But it goes further: these two brains offer another form of thinking, more intuitive, which uses in particular all the information that our body sends them. And our cortex is totally plugged into them. These are several tools of "reflection": the body, the reptilian brain, the emotional brain, and the cortex, all connected to each other. But we tend to listen only to the last one… which prevents us from enjoying all the information and all the additional intelligence: that of the body, that of reflexes, that of emotions. For example, intuition. If you feel uncomfortable in front of someone, if you feel in their body that there is something wrong, you really have to listen to it. Our whole body, including our brain, is sending us a message: whether this person is lying to us, manipulating us, trying to abuse us, you can determine it through your cortex, by asking questions and examining the answers, or by analyzing clues of non-bodily language… but the most important information for us is already there, and it is important to listen to it. Our cortex is not all-powerful, our emotional brain and our entire body are intelligent. There are many areas to explore, thanks to advances inmedical imaging and neuroscience,which today allow us to see live our emotions live in our head, turning on or off areas that we know more and more finely. It is now known that mental and emotional suffering can make you physically ill, from anxiety that causes migraines and back pain, to mental rumination and unsex expressed suffering that leads to a higher number of cancers. And that chronic pain can lead to depression. In contrast, many experiments and studies today prove the effectiveness of therapies combining body and soul, ways to cure certain mental illnesses using the body, and to cure physical illnesses using the soul. It's not only exciting, it also gives a lot of hope. Le corps et l'esprit, an article by Sophie Girardot.The text of this article is the property of its author and may not be used without his consent and under certain conditions. Sources / Credits (1) Psychiatrist, he practices at the Sainte-Anne hospital in Paris, within the university hospital service of mental health and therapeutics. He specializes in the management of anxiety and depressive disorders, and especially in the field of relapse prevention. It is one of the leaders in behavioral and cognitive therapies in France, and was one of the first to introduce the use of meditation in psychotherapy.A lecturer at the University of Paris X, he is the author of many psychology books for the general public.
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