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Today each one of us is suffering from some of the Other kind of health problem, in spite of the tremendous scientific advances in the medical field. The market is flooded with health supplements that claim to bring the perfect state of health. However, we are ignoring the simplest, fastest and indispensable source of perennial health – the mind.
According to Ayurveda, the mind is the supreme controller of the body. If therefore if the mind is not stable, then the body metabolism also will be unstable. According to Ayurveda if you have anxiety depression or stress, it will lead to vata vitiation in the body. Vitiated vata Dosha will cause constipation, indigestion, bloating and multiple other digestive problems.
If if you have bouts of extreme anger, then you will have a huge tendency to develop acidity, inflammation in the intestine, peptic ulcer and other pitta dosha related disorders.
If you have a dull and unexciting life, you may develop a kapha dosha imbalance leading to sluggish digestive system. In this case, you might suffer from anorexia, heaviness after meals, lethargy, indigestion.
And these problems will never be permanently corrected on the level of the body in if we do not fix them on the mental plane. Therefore, it so happens that people go on taking medications for the decades without any permanent relief.
If we look at this concept from the modern from the perspective of modern medicine, we will find a similar correlation between the mind and body.
According to modern medicine, there are two types of nervous systems working in the body. These nervous systems are the sympathetic nervous system and parasympathetic nervous system. They have contrary characteristics and the balance the requirements of the human body in different conditions.
Stress, anger, anxiety, fear, and all the negative emotions Trigger the sympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system is programmed to ensure the protection of the body in all circumstances. It stimulates a fright-flight-fight response in the body.
So if you are extremely stressed, you will naturally choose one of the above three modes of response.
The sympathetic nervous system ensures that the vital organs in the body and the muscles get more blood supply as compared to the rest of the organs which are not required for immediate protective response. According to this nervous system, muscles need more energy and nutrition to fight or to run away.
Incidentally, the blood supply to other organs like the digestive system, urinary system, skin, etc. decreases significantly under the influence of the sympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system also reduces the activity in all these body parts.
And this is why anger, anxiety, stress, worries immediately show a negative effect on the digestive system as the sympathetic nervous system is switched ON and it reduces the blood supply and activity in the digestive system. The sympathetic nervous system can maintain this effect for a reasonably long duration. For this reasons, ancient Hindus refrained from eating anything when unhappy!
Therefore if you are always stressed, anxious or worrying, your entire body will be working under the influence of the sympathetic nervous system. And for this reason, stressed people have dull skin, lousy digestion, lack of hunger, tiredness, and multiple other health problems.
In the body, stretched for too long under the influence of the sympathetic nervous system, the organs become too tired to work and give up. This stress is the reason for the high prevalence of lifestyle disorders like diabetes, hypertension, hormonal disorders et cetera.
It is like a man who when forced to run for a very long time, eventually drops down. He can only get dragged after that.
Prolonged exposure to the activity of the sympathetic nervous system also accelerates the rate of aging in a person. Due to the hyperactivity of the sympathetic nervous system, the body parts become overused. The body is not able to replace the old cells at the rate which can match the requirements of the sympathetic nervous system.
This lag in replacement and repair happens partly because of excessive requirements of the sympathetic nervous system, and partly due to lack of proper activity in the digestive system. The digestive system is the only source to receive nutrition in our body. If it is not working correctly, then the body’s nutritional supplies will fall short.
The only option left for the body is to deteriorate and age faster. Today most of the people are worried about health, aging, fatal disorders like cancer. Cancer cells are present in the bodies of all individuals. The disease happens only when the body is not able to kill cancer cells. Stress hormones provide a suitable condition for the cancer cells to grow in the body.
Here I would say that the law of attraction works in the case of health as well. If you are worried about any health problem, you are contributing towards creating it.
However, people don’t realize that stressful aspiration about a good life is the only cause for and for an unhealthy, short, and miserable life.
On the other hand, if you have a peaceful mind, it triggers the parasympathetic nervous system in the body. The parasympathetic nervous system relaxes the body and focuses on repair and rejuvenation.
The effect of the parasympathetic nervous system is entirely contrary to that of the sympathetic nervous system. We can compare these two effects with an example of two countries, one engaged in a war and another in peacetime. The land at war depletes its resources, whether it is the human resource or natural resource.
The war continues for a very long time, and it becomes the culture of the land. Local development subsides, basic human amenities become dear, law and order crises becomes rampant in the war-stricken country. If we look at the countries suffering from terrorism, there are unfortunate instances of even small children getting engaged in weaponry and active warfare. A body continuously under the influence of stress becomes like a country afflicted with war for details decades.
Now if we look at the effect of the parasympathetic nervous system, it provides peacetime in the body.
Major civilizations have flourished not under the influence of war but the impact of peace. Peaceful society allows time space and resources for development in all dimensions. Citizens of a peaceful reaching will have better facilities, law, and order. A non-violent society provides all the essential amenities to its citizens. Significant refinements in the form of art music and culture can happen only in the peacetime.
Now in this context, we can look at the functioning of an effect of the parasympathetic nervous system in the body. Parasympathetic nervous system triggers the “rest and digest” and “feed and breed” response in the body.
First of all, the parasympathetic nervous system relaxes nervous hyperactivity. Nervous hyperactivity creates overstimulation of all the body parts. As this hyperactivity is balanced, the blood supply gets diverted to the organs neglected under the influence of the sympathetic nervous system, like the digestive system, and the excretory system, reproductive system, etc. We cannot eat, grow, or make a baby while on the run.
Parasympathetic nervous system makes us more conscious of the body. We become aware of pain, inflammation, or other problems in the body. This body consciousness is the first step toward preventing and solving health issues. Under the influence of the sympathetic nervous system, the body gets under the effect of natural pain killer, which helps to focus all the attention on the survival.
Parasympathetic nervous system regularises heart rate. It has a cardioprotective effect contrary to the erosive force of the sympathetic nervous system.
The parasympathetic nervous system focuses the body resources on repair and rejuvenation of the cells. It activates the digestive system, stimulates hunger, and salivation reflexes. Therefore it ensures nutritional abundance in the body. The parasympathetic nervous system relieves the toxin load by activating the excretory system.
With ample nutrition available in the body, the rate of cell replacement and repair increases compared to the speed of deterioration. Therefore, we find the monks with a radiant face, flawless skin, and perfect digestion. They can maintain ideal health without the availability of the latest health supplements our other health resources just because they have a peaceful mind.
Therefore we can safely conclude that mind is the sole cause of health or disease. And it is essential to focus on the promotion of Mental Health mental state before engaging into any other kind of health activity. Because if the mind is not healthy, it is impossible for the body to maintain health with the help of external means.
For a long healthy and happy life, we must mind our body!
This article is based on another article from Sahajmarg meditation blog – https://www.sahajmarg.org/newsletter/sahajsandesh/2019.7