My last post reported on the fascinating new medical research on how our beliefs change our brain. I’ve long collected research on mind/body connections. Our tangible physical world is powerfully affected by our intangible thoughts and feelings.

I found researching Chapter II (“Reality Check”) of Growing @ the Speed of Change to be especially intriguing. I tried to show that we really need to pay attention to what our thoughts produce in our lives. Here are a few excerpts:

“The relationship between emotion and health is turning out to be more interesting, and more important, than most of us could have imagined. Viewed through the lens of 21st-century science, anxiety, alienation and hopelessness are not just feelings. Neither are love, serenity and optimism. All are physiological states that affect our health just as clearly as obesity or physical fitness. And the brain, as the source of such states, offers a potential gateway to countless other tissues and organs – from the heart and blood vessels to the gut and the immune system. The challenge is to map the pathways linking mental states to medical ones, and learn how to travel them at will.”
Herbert Benson (Mind/Body Medical Institute Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School), Julie Corliss (medical writer at Harvard Medical School), and Geoffrey Cowley (Newsweek’s Health Editor)

“Placebo treatment can dramatically reduce pain compared to no treatment, but only if the subjects know it is happening. It is not the placebo itself that reduces the pain, which makes perfect sense since it is inert. It is the knowledge of the placebo that does the trick… Human biology is comprised of neurons, neurotransmitters and synapses; but it is also comprised of meaning, experience, knowledge and practice.”
Daniel Moerman, Meaning, Medicine and the ‘Placebo Effect’

“All the major diseases of our day – heart disease, cancer, hypertension, and more – were shown to be influenced, at least to some degree, by the mind.”
Larry Dossey, Recovering the Soul: A Scientific and Spiritual Search

“My research has shown me that when emotions are expressed – which is to say that the biochemicals that are the substrate of emotion are flowing freely – all systems are united and made whole. When emotions are repressed, denied, not allowed to be whatever they may be, our network pathways get blocked, stopping the flow of the vital feel-good unifying chemicals that run both our biology and our behavior.”
Candace Pert, Molecules of Emotion

“When athletes think they are taking a performance-enhancing drug, their performance tends to get better – even if they never really take the drug. ‘This is a very relevant finding of the biology of the mind,’ said study co-author Dr. Ken Ho, head of the pituitary research unit at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney, Australia. ‘There is a very real placebo effect at play in a sporting context, in which a favorable outcome can be achieved purely on the basis of a belief that one has received something beneficial – even if one hasn’t.’”
“Sports Doping’s Effect May Be in the Mind,” HealthDay