07 May 4 Ways Technology Can Strengthen Your Mind-Body Connection
The state of our physical health is often rooted in our mental and emotional health. While this may be obvious now, among Westerners, the discovery of the mind-body connection has only become a subject of serious exploration within the last 100 years or so.
In the 1930s, Sigmund Freud’s radical investigation into the psyche, as well as the research and development of mental health therapy, lead to his assertion that erratic behavior in both mind and body could be explained by subconscious factors. Before Freud’s time, it was commonly thought that mental illnesses that today we call depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder were symptoms of physical illness — not illnesses of the brain, which we understand them to be today, but illnesses of the body. As time went on, Freud’s in-depth approach was argued to alleviate emotional duress more successfully than such common prescriptions as special diets, enemas, and water immersion. With further advancements, the belief was that most emotional and mental health problems are not primarily symptomatic of illness in the body, but are more closely related to dysfunction in the central nervous system. Most recently, it’s clear that the brain and the body are intricately linked.
The brain, which is currently thought by mainstream neuroscientists to cause the mental activity of the mind, is clearly linked to the rest of the body through sensory and motor nerves, the release of hormones into the bloodstream, and feedback of hormones and other chemical messengers that influence brain activity.
Though the extent that mental activity influences the body remains an open scientific question, the concept of the mind-body connection itself is indisputable. For instance, the effectiveness of new drugs to treat illnesses must now be compared to the effectiveness of placebo (e.g., sugar pills that produce positive effects because of the beliefs of patients). This acceptance of the reality of the mind-body connection has opened the door to further innovation regarding ways to strengthen our understanding of it. Smartphone applications are among the more modern modalities for exploring this connection.
Here are four apps to put you in touch with your inner self:
- Choice Compass: This smartphone app works to facilitate your decision-making process by drawing on conscious deliberation as well as subconscious preferences. Based on extensive research that supports the clear connection between emotional states and changes in heart rhythm, Choice Compass monitors the body’s reactions to opposing ideas, thereby evaluating and concluding which the body believes would result in the most happiness. Available on both iPhone and Android.
- Anxiety Release Based on EMDR: Also available on both Android and iPhone, Anxiety Release employs bilateral stimulation — a technique used in eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy — providing an auditory or physical stimulus to communicate with the subconscious mind and alter deep-seated memories that have resulted in anxiety and its physical symptoms.
- Universal Breathing — Pranayama: The word “prana” translates as “life force” or “breath,” in Sanskrit, with “pranayama” meaning, “the extension of life force.” For thousands of years, Indian traditions have worked with breathing techniques to establish mind-body harmony. In recent years, it has been reported that these techniques can foster improvements in body and mind, including stress-related disorders, high blood pressure, asthma, and more. The Universal Breathing — Pranayama app for both Android and iPhone guides the user in both pranayama technique and focus to provide potential health benefits.
- Healing Hypnosis: Hypnosis has long been used as a tool for reaching the subconscious mind, to not only produce healing for emotional trauma but also for physical health. Healing Hypnosis features a powerful hypnosis session designed to relax the body and accelerate its natural healing processes through the power of suggestion. Available on Android and iPhone.
On the cutting edge of technology and mind-body innovation, these applications make accessing the subconscious mind easier than ever. With continued research proving the power that our subconscious minds hold over our lives, this connection can alter both our emotional and physical states equally, giving us opportunities to become happier, healthier, and more stable human beings.