The body is not a fixed structure but a thinking organism. The mind is like a field of information and knowledge, which is not confined to the brain and is, present everywhere at the same time.
Each and every cell of the three trillion in the body is a thinking cell. Each and every experience or thought in the body creates a neuropeptide, which acts on the body, and has an action similar to any drug.
Diseases today are nothing but the manifestations of the mind — psychosomatic stress. Emotions like fear and anxiety are known to be associated with high blood pressure; anger and jealousy with heart attack and paralysis; and greed and possessiveness with obesity, diabetes and heart failure.
To a large extent these can be controlled and prevented by living mindfully or changing the lifestyle, the body mind way. Mindful living, deals with self introspection — on eating, exercising, breathing, digestion, metabolism, eliminating, sleeping, thinking habits, feelings, emotions, relationships, memories and beliefs.
It is a healthy lifestyle, holistic in nature. No extreme can ever lead to good health. Bhagavad Gita defines the one who lives this way— whose diet and movements are balanced, who does his actions in a proper manner, whose hours of sleeping and waking up are regular, and who follows the path of meditation, can destroy pain or unhappiness.
The tenets of mindful living are:
• Right diet
• Right exercise
• Right breathing
• Right attitude – Stress Management
Stress is truly the reaction of the body or the mind to the interpretation of a known situation. Stress management, therefore, involves building healthy attitude and preparing the body and the mind in such a way that stress does not affect them.
Building healthy attitude
By improving the power of interpretation and analysis and by cultivating good thoughts one can change the present situation and alter the occurrence of a disease.
• Attitude of learning from experiences: every opportunity good or bad should be taken as an opportunity to learn for future betterment.
• Replacing negative thoughts is necessary as fear, doubt and persistence of negativity in the mind are the three fundamental causes for the development of diseases. According to yoga sutras of Patanjali, to remove the negative thoughts of mind, opposite thoughts should be cultivated — thoughts of love, forgiveness, compassion and happiness.
• Positive thinking and positive behaviour produce endorphins in the body which can change the health scenario of a person. Think positive and consistently and you can achieve everything in life.
Mind Body strengthening
It is to nullify the effects of stress, to reduce the over activity of the sympathetic nervous system and to reduce resting heart rate, the methodologies available are pranayama, regular exercise, having a hobby and mind-body relaxation techniques.
• Walking in nature with a silent mind and experiencing the sounds of nature can be as effective as 20 minutes of meditation.
• Pranayama and meditation helps to experience silence in the thought, speech and action. The silent spaces in between the thoughts consist of the space for a pure potentiality. Twenty minutes of meditation provides the same physiological parameters as that of seven hours of deep sleep.
Living with Awareness
To be happy and healthy, to keep away lifestyle diseases the mantra would be to live consciously. Practicing conscious awareness of each and every action will instigate to take charge of our life and participate in our health. Breathing awareness, eating awareness, thinking awareness, etc. all are the practical ways of doing the same thing.
► Dr Renu Mahtani is a physician and yoga consultant
♦ Positive thinking produces endorphins which can improve a person’s health