5 Must-Read Books to Help You Understand the Mind-Body Connection
For decades the belief that your mind and thoughts could play a role in healing physical ailments was considered quackery and dismissed by modern medicine. Yet a growing body of research is beginning to show what many of us in the holistic world have always held to be true. That our thoughts and beliefs have vast influence over our health and wellbeing!
The power of the mind to heal has been studied in connection with everything from the placebo effect to spontaneous remission. It is also shown to play a role in the onset of illness and disease, as well as its prevention.
Often, the mind-body connection may be the missing piece in one’s journey to getting and staying well. But don’t just take it from me. Dive into the study and science of mind-body wellness and learn for yourself just how impactful it can be! Below, I’ve gathered the titles of 5 potentially life-changing books that can open your eyes to the power of your own mind.
The Biology of Belief explores how cells receive and process information. Implications of this research radically change our understanding of life, showing that genes and DNA do not control our biology, but rather that DNA is controlled by signals from outside the cell. Signals such as the energetic messages emanating from our positive and negative thoughts. Bruce Lipton’s work helped to bring the study and understanding of epigenetics to mainstream health and science and is an excellent read for anyone who wants to learn more about the influence they hold over their own genetic expression.
Mind Over Medicine is a meticulously researched explanation of the crucial role our thoughts, feelings, and beliefs play in our health and well-being. In this book, Lissa Rankin, a trained OBGYN, explores a plethora of peer-reviewed medical literature and provides evidence that the medical establishment had been proving that the body can heal itself for over 50 years. She also lays out a practical plan for readers to heal themselves. Her exploration of the placebo effect and spontaneous remissions will have you hooked and wanting more!
In this must-read book on the effects of stress on our body, Sapolsky explains that when we worry or experience stress, our body turns on the same physiological responses that an animal does. But we don’t resolve conflict in the same way, through fighting or fleeing. Rather we typically stay in that state of worry and stress. Over time, this activation of a stress response makes us literally sick, causing or intensifying a range of physical and mental afflictions, including depression, ulcers, colitis, heart disease, cancer, and more. Yet Sapolsky also provides guidance on controlling our stress responses to help mitigate its effects and hopefully prevent these diseases.
Deepak Chopra is a pioneer of the mind-body connection. Inspired by the unexplained recovery of patients in his own practice who had been given just a few months to live, Dr. Chopra began to search for answers. He returned to his native India to explore the ancient healing tradition of Ayurveda, and then he combined those insights with Western medicine, neuroscience, physics, and more. He discovered what he deemed a “network of intelligence” in the human body with the potential to defeat cancer, heart disease, even aging itself.
Dr. Hamilton spent years as a pharmaceutical scientist. During those years he was astonished by how the control group of patients in drug trials consistently improved at similar rates to those who actually received the medicines. This led him to dive into the power of the mind and its relationship to the physical body. He explores the effect of visualization, belief, and positive thinking on the body, and shows how using our imagination and mental processes can stimulate our own defenses and healing systems to combat disease, pain, and illness.
While it’s best to dive into the literature and see for yourself the power of your own thoughts, if you don’t have time or can’t get your hands on them right away, you can start with these easy tips.
- Smile more often
- Breath deep (belly breaths help activate our parasympathetic nervous system and lower our stress response)
- Reframe negative thoughts and experiences
- Practice gratutude (even for the smallest of things)
- Try out some affirmations (say out loud “I have the power to heal” or “I am getting healthier every day”
- Pay attention to what you consume and I don’t mean food! Keep an eye on what messages your subconscious is receiving from what you watch, read, and listen to.
- Connect with your higher self or a higher power (spirituality, whatever that means to you, can be a powerful component of mind-body wellness)