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Women Living Well: Mind/Body Connection - 2002
Student Papers
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The Mind Body Connection

Tasneem Paghdiwala

The Mind Body Connection

When I'm stressed out, I can't sleep well. I start notice things happening to my body: I tend to break out, my gums feel swollen and sore, my hair feels dry and just sort of sits there on my head, my hands get really dry. The physical signs are soon followed by mental/ personality changes: I'm generally irritable, I don't have meaningful conversations with people, I laugh very often, and I can't concentrate on my schoolwork. This just stresses me out even more, and so I fall into a rut. I have found that it's hard for me to get out of these ruts by just "thinking" about it, but usually a change in location or circumstances will do it for me. For example, if I'm stressed out and haven't been sleeping well, and I go home for the weekend, I feel much better when I come back on Monday and feel ready to take on the week in a more positive way. Or if my friends and I go to a movie, or to the city, I come back feeling pretty good about things and recharged. This leads me to believe that the mind and the body are connected in ways that I don't fully understand.

I got the same impression from talking about physical and mental health issues in the Women Living Well seminars. It's so interesting, and scary, that missing a significant amount of sleep can be fatal to your health, and the health of a complete stranger, if you get behind the wheel. I've always held such high contempt for people who drive while intoxicated, but I know I've driven while sleepy plenty of times. And just 30 minutes of exercise, 3 times a week, can ward of depression. Another sign of the mind-body connection. I feel like I already knew most of this, but it's helpful to be reminded to take care of our minds and our bodies, and treat them as parts of a whole, rather than separate units. Especially at Bryn Mawr!

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