Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) –
Psychoneuroimmunology – the study of the relationship between psychological processes, the immune system, and the nervous system. I became interested in this field in 1994. I wanted to learn more about what we can do with our minds to boost immune functioning. We all know that stress takes a toll on our bodies. The good news is that we can use the power of our minds to improve immune functioning.
I am not saying to give up traditional medicine. I am highlighting the power of our minds on our health, and how exercises with the mind can not only benefit mood, but also have an impact on physiology and physical health.
Methods of cognitive psychology not only boost mood, but they boost physical health and immune functioning. You can use these methods both as prevention of physical illness, and to help with current symptoms of physical illness.
My favorite books in this area are oldies but goodies!
- Love, Medicine, and Miracles, by Bernie Siegel, MD (Oncology Surgeon)
- Peace, Love, and Healing by Bernie Siegel, MD
- Minding the Body, Mending the Mind, Joan Borysenko, PhD (Cell Biologist/Licensed Psychologist)
- Fire in the Soul. Joan Borysenko, PhD
- Full Catastrophe Living: How to Cope with Stress, Pain and Illness Using Mindfulness Meditation by Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD (Founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction)
- Anatomy of an Illness by Norman Cousins
- And newer – autobiography Into the Magic Shop, James Doty, MD (Neurosurgeon)
There are hundreds of techniques, and they vary greatly. Discover what works well for you.
Here are two mind-body simple exercises that you can easily incorporate into your day. Remember that these enhance emotional well-being, immune functioning, and physical health.
- breathe in to the count of 4, hold for the count of 4, breathe out for the count of 4, and pause for the count of 4 – repeat.
- For an explanation – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJnJ4xTkEOY&t=151s.
- To use this exercise following a video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aPYmZOhJF5Q
Every time you hear the sound of water, imagine that the water is washing away toxins in your body. You can also imagine that unwanted feelings are being washed away, leaving you with a sense of peace. You could do this while you are washing your hands, washing dishes, or in the shower.
If you are struggling with a physical, psychological, or emotional difficulty, feel free to contact me to set up a consultation where we can devise a plan tailored to your specific needs. Or you may be interested in my monthly membership program, Come Alive with Dr. Peggy, where I teach these methods. You can check that out for just $5 for your first month, and $24/month thereafter.
These methods can help you if:
- You’re feeling overwhelmed with COVID19, feeling anxious and depressed, and are beginning to feel the stress on your body.
- You’re experiencing racing,intrusive thoughts about the future, and feel the tightening in your chest with shortness of breath.
- You’re finding yourself eating more than usual, or drinking more alcohol than usual.
- You’re finding yourself emotionally numb – you can’t take it anymore – all that’s happening in the world, so you’re shutting off your feelings, to experience less emotional pain, but now you can’t feel joy.
- You’re having trouble falling asleep, or staying asleep.
You are not alone.
I am fascinated by the mind-body connection. I am grateful for advances in science and technology that demonstrate the effectiveness of these exercises.
The Gratitude Psychologist