Women's Health

Body on the Brain

the phrase “mind-body connection” can feel ambiguous, even woo-woo, something to be reconciled during yoga class. But emerging science is now bearing out physiological connections between many seemingly unrelated mental and bodily issues—many seemingly unrelated on the surface. And it can go both ways: Mental health issues can lead to physical ones, and vice versa.

This new research is a revelation because, until the past few years, the interplay between mental and physical was often chalked up to a behavioral domino effect (e.g., you binge-eat because you’re depressed, then the extra weight ups your diabetes risk). Now experts realize it’s governed by a far more complex mix of factors. Inflammation, the immune system’s natural response to threats, is a biggie: If this healing process fails to shut off after a problem has been neutralized, immune cells continue to attack healthy ones. That can lead to serious health conditions and an overactive nervous system, where mind and body ping-pong distress signals to each other.

The research is even more relevant given that roughly one in five women now suffers from a mental illness, and

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Women's Health

Women's Health4 min readPsychology
Take Your ’Ship to the Next Level
You visit your gyno for your annual exam, eat healthy to avoid disease, and exercise to keep your body strong, but what do you do to nurture your relationship on a regular basis? Just a guess: not a whole lot. “Most of us operate in crisis mode with
Women's Health2 min read
Soft And Strong… And Proud Of It.
A few months back, I got it in my head that I wanted to do a full, unassisted pullup. The interesting thing about a pullup is that you don’t train by doing pullups. You break down the move into each of its parts: gripping, hanging, shrugging, then—fi
Women's Health3 min read
Lost Weight, Gained…Wrinkles?
After losing more than 30 pounds over this past year, I found myself having a classic Clueless Monet moment. While the image in my fulllength mirror reflected my newfound strength and energy, the face staring back at me in my magnifying one looked pu