The reason is very simple. Like it or not, our mind controls all bodily functions. Therefore, a healthy mind leads to a healthy body, and a healthy society. In the same way, an unhealthy mind leads to an unhealthy body. The body and the mind are interconnected. In this article, we’ll learn the importance of Mental Health, how it affects the body, and why mental health is the key to living a meaningful life.
How Many Minds Are There?
It is arguable, but we are clearly aware of two distinct minds- the Conscious and the Subconscious. There is also a debate on the existence of the third called the Superconscious mind, but we’ll leave the debate to professionals and philosophers.
Functions of the Conscious Mind
Our conscious mind is the thoughts and emotions that make us who we are. It is responsible for our perceptions, senses, voluntary actions, and emotions.
- Perceptions: When you look at t tree leaf, a certain frequency of light comes through our eyes, and our brain registers the frequency. Our conscious mind then tells us that the color is green. In reality, there is no such thing as a “green color”. Our conscious mind makes it green.
- Senses: All tastes, smells, and other senses are also given identity by our conscious mind. You can distinguish the smell of rose from the smell of jasmine because of our conscious mind. Some food is spicy and some are salty because of that as well.
- Voluntary Actions: Our voluntary actions are also controlled by the decisions of our conscious mind. If you want to lift your arm, you do it almost instantly. That is definite proof that bodily functions are controlled by the mind.
- Emotions: Emotions are responses to external stimuli. When you are in a situation, your conscious mind responds to it. It determines whether it is a “Good” thing or a “Bad” thing. You can also determine whether a person is a friend or a foe.
The conscious mind also has the ability to influence the subconscious mind. We’ll tackle that in the next section.
Functions of the Subconscious Mind
The subconscious mind is deeper and more powerful. It maintains the inner functions of the body. Say you decide to run (the conscious mind makes the decision). Yet, you don’t do the inner calculations. How fast do you need to burn calories? At what rate should your heart and lungs function so that you can run? What other chemical reactions will be required for you to run? You don’t decide any of those. You just run, and the Subconscious mind takes care of the rest.
You can also transfer behavioral patterns from the conscious mind to the subconscious. When you first learn to drive or play the piano, you have to think about every little thing that you have to do or where your finger should go. After repeated practice, you will realize that you no longer need to think. You shift your gear or press the key automatically. That means that the subconscious mind has taken over the functions. You can drive like it’s walking, and play the piano while looking only at the notes.
Functions of the Superconscious Mind
Although not scientifically proven, the existence of the Superconscious mind is frequently discussed among those who live a more spiritual life. Yogis and philosophers claim that there is another mind which is universal. The superconscious mind connects you to the entire world (All beings). It is a source of deep awareness and wisdom. Yet, since we cannot scientifically prove it, we’ll temporarily stay away from it and let the philosophers handle it.
The Importance of Mental Health
Mental Health, especially for the Conscious mind, is therefore of utmost importance. It is sensory, and it reacts to external stimuli. A vital part here is that it can influence the Subconscious by repetition (Just like learning to drive), which means that an unhealthy conscious mind gives birth to an unhealthy subconscious mind. When that happens, Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, and other mental dysfunctions become a person’s nature. We’ll set an elaborate example.
How is Anxiety Disorder Born?
In the beginning, it may start from an event. Say John has just experienced a car accident and the fear has taken root in his conscious mind. When in danger, our body pumps Norepinephrine (Adrenalin) in our body. This hormone prepares our body for a ‘fight-or-flight’ response. The result of Norepinephrine flow is elevated heart rate, higher blood pressure, and release of a huge amount of energy. It helps to save yourself if you are in real danger.
For the next few weeks, John is afraid. Even if he sees a car accident on TV, he feels the same and has the same responses (Flow of Norepinephrine). By having this repeated in his conscious mind, it gets registered by the Subconscious. Now, any time he sees a car, it becomes a “Trigger”. He remembers his own accident and Norepinephrine flows. He is afraid of cars. He doesn’t want to drive, ride, or even go near the road. If he does, his heart rate increases, energy is released and he wants to run away.
He has developed a Phobia, a type of Anxiety Disorder. This now has become a serious problem and it impedes his ability to do anything. His work and social life are getting affected in a bad way. He tells a friend about his problems and the friend suggests that Valium can help. But John doesn’t want to see a doctor so he goes on the internet to find some Valium for sale online. He buys some Valium 10mg online. It initially helps, but now there is the addiction problem.
This is how a situation can go from bad to worse.
What are the Other Causes of an Unhealthy Mind?
It doesn’t necessarily have to be an accident. Children under immense pressure from parents to do good at school, a heavily controlling employer, or other social pressures from their peers can lead to stress and anxiety. And repeated over a long period, they can lead to an unhealthy mind and a disorder. When it does, it becomes a physical problem because our internal chemistry is unbalanced.
I hope we understood how important mental health is. A healthy mind can create a beautiful life, and an unhealthy one can destroy it. Therefore, we’ll continue to discuss this topic further.
In our next articles, we’ll discuss a few things about how to stay mentally healthy and what we can do to prevent Mental Disorders from becoming a serious problem. Stay tuned.