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Minding the Body, Mending the Mind Paperback – November 13, 2007
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"An integral holistic workbook for those seeking to lie more sane, healthier, happier lives...Borysenko's text glows with compassion and clarity."
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Top Customer Reviews
This is a book that is based on the belief that the mind can help heal the body. There's physical exercises and stretches to relieve tenstion and anxiety, there's deep breathing instructions to initiate the relaxation response, meditation to calm the mind and expand the soul, and there's even a psychological evaltional of questions and answers to guide you in your stress, anxiety, and depression levels, which may be contributing to your physical illness.
Joan Borysenko presents her knowledge in a straight-forward, down-to-earth way that makes the reader sit up and listen.
Truly a helpful book to anyone who has a phycial illness, and wants to help the mind heal the body.
Borysenko is the cofounder of the Mind/Body Clinic at New England Deaconess Hospital at the Harvard Medical School and has her doctorate in anatomy and cellular biology from Harvard. This book reflects her experience in the relatively new medical field of psychoneuroimmunology, which studies how the mind interacts with the body for illness and for healing.
The book is specifically about meditation and can be used as a how-to for self instruction in the practice. What I liked about it is that it provides a physiological case for the helpfulness of meditation while it teaches the reader how to use what Borysenko has pioneered in medical circles, that meditation and controlled relaxation have a positive impact on general health and, sometimes, on specific illnesses.
Borysenko explains how our bodies become conditioned to stress and respond accordingly with anxiety symptoms and that, through meditation practice, individuals can recondition themselves not to feel the physical manifestations of stress, which are so taxing to general health.
Borysenko's medical credentials are meaningful to me, and her ability to illustrate how the brain and the body are interdependent was helpful to me, as we are taught in our culture to keep the two separate and devalue our ability to impact our health through our mental reactions and proactiveness.
Even if one doesn't use the book to learn to meditate, Borysenko has a great deal to offer in terms of quality of life to her readers. The book really helps the reader to recognize harmful mental patterns and stop them, to exercise cognitive control, so that stress is diffused before the anxiety is felt in the body. She writes about "awfulizing," obsessing over something stressful, second-guessing ourselves, etc., and how to stop it through positive thought that is healing, rather than stress-making. The chapter called "Mind Traps" is especially helpful in this regard, and I find myself using her tips to diffuse tension AND improve the situation.
I strongly recommend this book, even for those who aren't interested in meditation. Borysenko provides evidence on how positive thought processes can be achieved and how they can make a difference. This book is considered a classic in the field, and it deserves the esteem that has made it so.
Only criticism is that parts of it are a bit too "new age-y", but overall, it's very good.
If you have panic attacks, depression, or anxiety, Dr. Borysenko offers practical exercises to help you manage.