I was thinking about the medical system today and it dawned on me, ‘when did mental health become separate from our body‘s health?’ It might seem like a silly question, but think about it for a moment. When you go to see the doctor, the doctor — typically — is there to correct the imbalances in your body, right? S/he asks you questions about your body’s health. How are you feeling? Is your knee any better? Is your head warm? How’s your elbow been lately? Any pain in your stomach?
What I want to know is, when did general health questions stop including mental health?
I mean, it’s not really still taboo to think that an unhealthy mind can lead to an unhealthy body, right? There’s a whole field dedicated to it — psychoneuroimmunology.
The whole idea of dualism reminds me of a post I read, almost a year ago, that detailed some research about how our health can be affected by our philosophical bent:
Overall, the findings from the five studies provide converging evidence demonstrating that mind-body dualism has a noticeable impact on people’s health-related attitudes and behaviors. These findings suggest that dualistic beliefs decrease the likelihood of engaging in healthy behavior.
These findings support the researchers’ original hypothesis that the more people perceive their minds and bodies to be distinct entities, the less likely they will be to engage in behaviors that protect their bodies.
From a dualistic perspective, bodies are ultimately viewed as a disposable vessel that helps the mind interact with the physical world.
Simply believing (understanding?) that our minds are not separate from our bodies, but that they are one in the same, can lead to better choices that affect one’s health.
I wonder, if as a way to facilitate this understanding in people, doctors started to treat the mind as if it were part of the body and ask questions about one’s mental health during visits to the doctor, would we those who see the mind as separate begin to see it as part of the body?
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