Cognitive Function and its Relation to Physical Well-Being

Cognitive function and well being is a pill-free pain remedyThe link between mental and physical health is widely discussed in the medical community. The standard for many years (at least when it comes to examining the brain and how it works with our bodies) has involved a very “brutish” method of only examining physical reactions and aspects of the body and how the brain “controls” these actions. Over the last 20 years, research has provided quite a bit of credible evidence that proves our brains, and often our emotional state, has a direct effect on our physical well being. This evidence has led to an all-inclusive “biopsychosocial” model of thinking which emphasizes that to fully comprehend someone’s health issues or illness, one should first discover the relationship between biological, physical, and even social influences that the person has experienced. Some physicians (unless they are psychotherapist, psychopharmacologist, or a licensed health practitioner) may discredit the fact that mental and psychological factors have any relation to biological or physical illness. If they feel this way, then they most likely believe that an illness causes mental issues or mood changes, but do not think that mental issues or mood changes cause illnesses to occur. At times, the discussion is a “chicken or the egg” scenario with the medical community arguing over which came first: the mind or the matter? Researchers are continuously discovering validity to support the theory that our thoughts, feelings, and attitude may have a physical impact on our bodies. Psychologists who work in the field of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (a type of psychotherapy that believes that our thoughts and feelings shape our behaviors in the world around us) claim that it is possible to influence the pain that we feel in our bodies by focusing on, and possibly changing, the cognitive processes (thoughts/inner-talk) that we use. Many people who suffer from nerve or musculoskeletal disorders that cause severe or chronic pain may want to explore this type of counseling or psychotherapy. The idea behind Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is to practice certain methods with the client that may help rearrange negative and destructive, everyday way of thought like: overgeneralized thinking, labeling, blaming others, and even the act of “jumping to conclusions.” Thoughts like this create stress in our everyday life, and that stress causes physical implications on our bodies. We will talk about stress in greater detail, later in the article, and how it can cause various other problems that can be linked to the physical pain that we feel.