We already know that rejection and heartbreak elicit a reaction in the body that looks a lot like our reaction to physical pain.
Science writer Jo Marchant’s latest book explores how our minds exert influence over our bodies, and how we can use that to our advantage in the healing process. In an interview with NPR, she elaborated on what she’s learned, including one simple tip that can help when you're feeling stressed or anxious: mindfulness.
On the power of mindfulness, she says: “There have been hundreds of studies on mindfulness now, and there's very good evidence that it reduces stress and anxiety, and that it reduces symptoms such as chronic pain and fatigue. So that's very well shown now in the analysis of lots of different studies, and that's in healthy people but also in people with depression or people with serious illness.”
She continues: “With a stress response, the brain and the body are influencing each other in both directions, so if we see a danger then that's going to make us feel stressed and one of the follow-ons from that is that our breathing is going to speed up… And, equally, if you calm the breathing down, you're kind of forcing your body into a more relaxed state and you will then experience probably fewer negative thoughts as a result.”
Time to take a deep breath.
You can read the full interview with Jo here .