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The key to good health is in your mind

Think back to when you last had a big belly laugh. Did you think happy thoughts ? Did your body feel relaxed ?

We know that when the mind, body and soul work together we experience wellness, and it is the brain that helps them work together.

Professor Ian Bernard Hickie (psychiatrist and executive director at the University of Sydney:

"There is no denying the mind-body-spirit connection. Research shows that a sense of wellbeing arises when our physical, mental and spiritual parts all work in unison, and the brain plays a vital role in allowing this to happen".

The brain regulates the body's key systems, including the cardiovascular, immune and endocrine systems.

"We understand better than ever before that there is a continual feedback loop between the brain and the body's organs" Professor Hickie says.

So improving your physical state will improve your brain function and vice versa.

"Your brain health is important for maintaining your physical health", Professor Hickie says. "But it is not just about completing crosswords. The brain functions best when it's interacting with the world and engaging in social relationships."

Your body is the vehicle that allows you to eat, sleep and talk.

Your brain is the organ that processes these experiences.

Your state of mind is the result of your brain integrating these experiences.

"To have a positive state of mind, you need to be well in your body and happy in the way you interact with the world", Professor Hickie says.

While it's tempting to withdraw when you're stressed, don't.

"When people quit their jobs, leave their relationships and disengage from the world, their brain function slows and they deteriorate further psychologically, physically and spiritually".

A strong sense of spiritual connection is usually found in people who are extremely engaged in the world. The spiritual connection feeds back into the health of their brain, and the brain feeds back into the health of the body.

"The brain by itself is just another organ, but it mediates your overall sense of wellbeing".

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