The mind has a great degree of power. It displays this as we go through our everyday activities, continuously displaying the powers of logic, thought, memory and creativity. Yet, can the mind be more powerful than we know? Can the mind heal the body? It is possible that mental states have the capability to reduce or even eliminate pain, illnesses, and diseases of our physical body.
In order to understand if the mind can heal the body, we must first specify the connection between the body and mind. For many, the mind and body are two distinctly different and separate entities, each having little or no effect on the other. However, Nigel Warbuton suggests a different approach to the body and mind problem called functionalism. In this model, mental states are linked directly to behavior and “mental events can actually be causes of behavior” (Warburton 152). In other words, a thought can trigger a change in the body. Warburton concentrates on “inputs”, which are a stimulus or a thought, and “outputs”, which are the behavior produced. With functionalism, mental states act as the medium between the two and are created by the input, and in turn produce the output. “A functionalist defines any mental state in terms of its typical relations to other mental states and its effects on behavior” (Warburton 152). This means that mental states are distinguished and identified by the behavior they generate. For example, if a person were to experience the same type of pain in their foot by stubbing their toe and dropping an object on their toe, even though they are two different thoughts of pain, the same brain state will be produced. Thoughts do not have to be the same in order to reach the same behavior. Al...
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...ch, in turn, causes an increase in happiness. Studies have shown that with increased happiness, health conditions seem to improve. Laughter has been found to be a successful way of improving one’s psychological well-being and does seem to help lessen stress. When humans are stressed, it affects more than the mind, the body seems to show signs of stress as well. Finally, meditation or relaxation training is the practice of getting in touch with one’s self and eliminating any stressors that previously affected a person. It is thought to carry emotional and mental benefits, and is an effective method to reduce anxiety and stress associated with pain.
It seems that the mind does not have the ability to cure illnesses and diseases. However, it can help fight them and seems to have a direct correlation with alleviating bodily symptoms such as headaches, pain, and stress.
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