• Question: How does the mind-body connection affect our emotions?

    Asked by Dennis Relojo-Howell II to Robert, Olly, Nicola, Jasmin, Dennis, Caroline on 12 Jun 2019.
    • Photo: Jasmin Moon

      Jasmin Moon answered on 12 Jun 2019:

      The mind and body are very closely linked, you could even say they are the same things since our thoughts all originate in the brain which is part of our bodies!
      In the same way that our body affects our mind (if we feel pain for example, we are also likely to feel anxious or low in mood), our emotions also affect our body (think about how your body feels when you are nervous – perhaps a bit shaky, dry mouth and sweating?). The CBT triangle explains this quite well if you are interested: https://thebluesprogram.weebly.com/uploads/1/4/2/1/14217397/original_student_workbook.pdf

    • Photo: Oliver Clabburn

      Oliver Clabburn answered on 12 Jun 2019:

      This is a good question and Jasmin has answered this really well. On a side note, I read something just last week about how our mind is heavily linked with our stomach! Think about when we’re really nervous and our stomach feels off… or when we feel ill, the last thing we want to do is something which requires lots of thinking! Consequently, what we eat may have a massive impact on how our minds work.

    • Photo: Dennis Relojo-Howell

      Dennis Relojo-Howell answered on 12 Jun 2019:

      Each of them can affect each other. They are buddies. How you think can affect how you feel. And how you feel can affect your thinking.

      As an example, if you are stressed about your homework it can give you headache and other pains in your bodies. And if you are not feeling well that can make you feel stressed.

    • Photo: Robert Dempsey

      Robert Dempsey answered on 12 Jun 2019:

      I think this is a reciprocal relationship (i.e. goes both ways) – there are different theories of emotion, some of which focus on ‘top-down’ processes (how the mind interprets/evaluates our bodily state and environment to cause emotion) versus ‘bottom-up’ processes (based on our perception first). It may depend on the type of emotion we are experiencing whether this is more ‘top-down’ or ‘bottom-up’?

    • Photo: Nicola Johnstone

      Nicola Johnstone answered on 13 Jun 2019:

      We talk about this in terms of feedback. Our ‘fight or flight’ systems cannot tell real danger from no harm. For example, anxiety arises from attentional bias to negative information, or that which might harm us. It means we are primed for danger, and might miss-categorise something as a threat, when really it is harmless. So we get nervous, shaky and want to run away and the affects are felt in the body. It can keep cycling for a while until we learn the truth.

    • Photo: Caroline Brett

      Caroline Brett answered on 15 Jun 2019:

      It is a two-way process. When our body is suffering (e.g. too tired, hungry, or physically injured/unwell), our mind doesn’t function as well as normal. When our mind is not functioning well (e.g. when we’re upset or stressed) our body can be affected too. It can become a bit of a cycle. For example, if we’re feeling stressed, we are likely to experience physical symptoms such as a racing heart, sweating, etc., which in turn can make us feel more stressed or even feel down because our mind tells us we’re not coping well with the situation, leading us to feel worse both physically and mentally. This forms the basis of a lot of psychological therapies or treatments, particularly in health psychology, such as CBT (as Yasmin outlines below).