The Body – Mind Conundrum

How do you react to the following statements:
– He Smiled and that triggered his happiness
– He felt cold which led to a feeling of loneliness
– He was feeling warm an therefore felt friendly
You will rubbish such statements saying the guy is out of his mind and is simply confused between the cause and the effect. Our conventional wisdom clearly establishes supremacy of the Mind over our Body. Right? We are all taught that Mind and Mind alone controls the Body – that is, first the mind feels the emotion and then it is transmitted to the body which is shown up as the corresponding movement or gesture. But consider the following recent astonishing findings from Neurology on how our Body influences the Mind:
In a recent paper published in the famous American Journal NEW SCIENTIST(15 October2011), it has been claimed that our entire body is actively involved in the thinking process. Mind no more enjoys the monopoly of thinking! It is influenced in many ways by the body. The mind is constantly receiving information from the body. And this information surely does influence the way the mind processes the information.
For instance, does happiness cause a smile or the other way around? Studies show that the physical sensation of smiling triggers a happy feeling! Thus it seems that physical sensations are closely associated with emotions. There are more examples. When we feel cold, it seems, we feel lonely or alternatively our bodily warmth is linked to a feeling of friendliness. There are even more bizarre findings – Mathematical thinking is affected by our posture. For example, a study shows that when people are asked to think of random numbers, the guys who look down and to the left are more likely to come up with smaller numbers, while the guys who look up and to the right think of big numbers. In another study, it appears that those who were encouraged to indulge in hand gestures understood difficult explanations better in comparison to those who didn’t make any gestures.

Here are a few more interesting and useful body-mind correlations:
A bursting bladder was found to improve your will power and resolve. So before taking an important decision next time drink lots of water and experiment with putting off the visit to bathroom for a few hours. In fact walking backwards or tensing your muscles also gave similar results on will power and resolve. And what will make you quite persistent on the task on hand? The answer is, as you might have guessed, folding your hand. Mind you, these are well experimented and researched correlations.

Among the reported Body/Mind correlations, this one tops’em all and I bet you will love it! The studies say that people solved puzzles 10% faster when lying down flat compared with standing! The reasons are not far to seek. Supine position is the most relaxing and stress free state in which creative juices would flow freely. In the light of this evidence, if you can’t convince your boss to provide you with a relaxing bed in the office to enhance your creativity, you may, alternatively, try a more mundane posture of stretching your left arm out in front or bending your arm at the elbow, which also apparently has the same positive effect on creativity.

So, now the scientific verdict is out on how meaningful and significant are one’s bodily movements. Interestingly, in the Hindu tradition, there is not a single ritual without hand or body movement. I am sure all these movements have significance which none of us understand now. Perhaps some Indian scientist may get motivated to take up a research project on this subject after seeing this NEW SCIENTIST article.

Published in: on March 4, 2012 at 1:04 pm  Leave a Comment  

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