Lesson#1--Introduction

Afew years ago, if I'd done a workshop on "mind-body connection," manyof you might have dismissed it as "woo-woo stuff." You know what I mean. Paranormal, metaphysical, woo-woo. After all, many of the books written on thesubject are found in THAT section of the bookstore, the one that lumpswitchcraft, Tarot cards and alien abductions with meditation and visualization.>>

Butin recent years, even mainstream medical physicians (even Dr. Oz!) agree thatthe mind-body connection is far more extensive than anyone had guessed. Consider the following statements:>>

Type-Abehavior, typified by aggressiveness and hostility, has been linked toincreased risk of heart attack.>>

Emotionalstress can raise your blood pressure and contribute to the formation of stomachulcers.>>

Biofeedbackand meditation can lower blood pressure, lower oxygen consumption, slow heartbeat and respiration, and lower blood lactate--which is connected to anxiety.>>

Fearor excitement lead to the release of adrenaline in the body, causing the fightor flight mechanism to come into play--and causing a certain amount ofpleasure.>>

Pantingduring childbirth relieves pain (for some people, anyway!).>>

Ahypnotized subject can produce welts on the skin simulating burns, when theyhaven't been burned.>>

Ratsand mice have been conditioned to enhance or suppress their immune systems.>>

Theplacebo effect can relieve pain and alleviate other symptoms of disease.>>

Chocolateelevates mood, especially for women.>>

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Mostof you will probably agree that some or all of the above statements aretrue. All have been shown to be trueeither through clinical studies or under laboratory conditions, so thedocumentation is clear: mind and body are connected; your thoughts can directlyaffect your body and vice-versa.>>

Whilethe mechanisms that make this true aren't always crystal clear--medical sciencestill hasn't explained why acupuncture works, even while they acknowledge thatit does work--researchers are learning more about this area of scienceall the time. One very active area ofresearch is studying neurotransmitters, the brain's messengers to thebody. Neurotransmitters, which includehormones, regulate everything from sexual desire to sleep patterns, appetiteand mood. Depression, addictions, PMS,insomnia and even chocolate cravings have a physical basis in our chemistry. There is even a chemical reason why we "freeze"when something grabs our attention.>>

Butrather than getting any deeper into the scientific aspects--and I couldn't,anyway--what I want to talk about is the implications these scientific findingshave for us as writers.>>

Themind/body connection probably has more relevance for creative artists,including writers, than for the average person.>>

Whatyou do to your body affects how you think, how you create, and how you feelabout what you've created. And how youdirect your mind, what you allow yourself to focus on, has a profound effect onyour body.>>

Tomorrowwe'll start getting into the specifics. Meanwhile, feel free to introduce yourself, and if you have anything to add to the topics as I address them--studies you've read about or personal experiences--feel free to share. I am not an expert on this subject, just a very interested student.>>