Your Body and Mind Relationship Revealed

Generally speaking, we tend to think of our bodies and minds as separate systems and believe they function, for the most part, independently. Yet instinctively we know that is not the whole story. For instance, can you remember the last time you had an interview for a job? Or went on a first date with someone you were really trying to impress? In either case, no doubt you wanted to appear calm and collected, but at the same time you were feeling self-conscious and nervous. Can you recall how your body felt? Self-consciousness will tighten your buttock muscles (so you are literally sitting on your tension), you will sweat more than usual, may feel slightly nauseous, and you’ll probably fluff your words, just when you want to appear suave and confident.

In other words, our emotions affect us physically. It might be easy to understand that a scary thought gets our heart beating faster, but it can be harder to realize that loneliness, sadness, or depression can also affect us physically, and when it comes to more complex emotions or illnesses, few of us consider our emotions as having any relevance.

In Woody Allen’s movie, Annie Hall, Diane Keaton wants to know why he isn’t angry. “I don’t get angry,” Allen replies, “I grow a tumor instead.”

Deb remembers having an upset stomach when she was a child and her grandmother asking if she was having a problem at school. What she knew instinctively, we are at last beginning to prove scientifically: that there is an intimate and dynamic relationship between what is going on with our feelings and thoughts, and what happens in the body.

Illness is very real, accidents happen, and medicine can really help. But the role of the mind and emotions in our state of health is a vital one, and by understanding this relationship we can play a greater role in our own well-being. It is only a part of the overall picture, but it is the part that is invariably overlooked or ignored.

If we separate either a machine or an organism into its component parts, it can’t function. Each piece has a role to play; even if it is a very small role, and only one part is malfunctioning, it affects the whole. Recently, our car broke down. After it was fixed, we were told that it had been just one small wire that had caused the problem, yet the engine could not function properly without it. In the same way, if we ignore the role our feelings and thoughts play, we are ignoring one of the most important parts that make up our whole being.

Understanding the body-mind relationship may not cure your physical difficulties, but by learning the language of symptoms and illness you can discover what is being repressed or ignored in your psyche and emotions, and how this is influencing your well-being. From this vantage point you can discover that there is an extraordinarily intimate two-way communication going on between body and mind that affects both your physical state and your mental and emotional health.


Your Body Speaks Your Mind: A 4-week webinar (on-line course) with Ed and Deb Shapiro, to learn how repressed, denied, or ignored thoughts and feelings are linked to specific body parts and illness. Starts September 19 but you can join in and download classes anytime

Meditation – The Best Friend You Will Ever Have: A 4-week webinar (on-line course) with Ed and Deb Shapiro, on discovering the greatest friend you could have: meditation. You can join in and download classes anytime.  A free introduction on September 20, and a 4-week webinar starting September 27.

Deb is the author of the award-winning Your Body and Mind Relationship Revealed: Decoding the Emotional, Psychological, and Spiritual Messages That Underlie Illness.

See our latest book: Be the Change: How Meditation Can Transform You and the World, with forewords by the Dalai Lama and Robert Thurman, and with contributors Jack Kornfield, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Byron Katie and many others.

Our 3 meditation CDs: Metta—Loving Kindness and Forgiveness; Samadhi–Breath Awareness and Insight; and Yoga Nidra–Inner Conscious Relaxation, are available at:



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Leisha Wharfield
Leisha Wharfield5 years ago

I would complain it looks like you're trying to sell something here, Manuel B., but it looks like the Shapiros are, too, so it's a push.

Bob P.


Mari Garcia
Mari Garcia5 years ago

This reminds me of a lesson I recieved on the first day of my genetics class in high school. About this cycle, but it involved the levels of conscienousness. That what enters the conscience, enters the subconscience and reflected in our bodies/body language.

Lin Moy
Lin M5 years ago

I went thru relaxation a long time/ I was such a mess all over, inside and out. Finally it did help but I go thru same thing over everything I have to do. Now it's harder to relax than used to be. Thoughts in the mind never stop and it just wears a body down.

Lenee K.
Lenee K5 years ago

Thank you !!

Talya Honor
Talya H5 years ago

Thanks for the share!

Lisbett C.
lisbett C5 years ago

I absolutely believe that our bodies are like the movie screen of what we hold in our minds, ignited by our emotions. I went through such an upsetting time during my divorce that my enteric nervous colon deteriorated from all the anger I had to "swallow" and a situation that I couldn't "digest , culminating in recently spending 6 months and 2 operations in the hospital to cut out what I had projected onto myself. During those 6 months I seemed to just go into a practice of gratitude for everything and everyone. I became acutely aware of the energy from people that communicated with me and simply expressed that I couldn't afford to spend my energy on negativity.

Norma V.
Norma Villarreal5 years ago

I have wasted too much time on tumors....

Rosie Jolliffe
Rosie Lopez5 years ago

thank you!!

andrew h.
- -5 years ago


on mind and body relationship too from Yogananda
some benefits of meditation:

"All materially-minded men and women should understand that their lives can be freed from endless physical and mental ills simply by adding deep daily meditation to their schedule."