“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, the rational mind a faithful servant; we have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”Albert Einstein
Our modern biomedical system is heavily influence by a theory of mind-body separation that arose from 17th century ‘mind-body dualism’. Before that, the mind and body were treated as a whole system, a theory that integrative health care is bringing back into light. New emphasis is being given to the control of attitudes and the relation to self and environment. This approach recognizes and values the internal psychological transformation, effort, and active participation of the individual, and its impact on health and well-being. We now view the brain as dynamic throughout the lifespan, influenced by positive and negative experiences.
Well-being is comprised of six key components: self-acceptance (awareness of self and limitations), purpose in life (overall sense of goals and direction), environmental mastery (management of life situations), positive relations (connection and belonging), personal growth (use of personal talents and potential), and autonomy (living with personal conviction). Well-being is correlated with overall better health and lower risk for disease. Higher levels of well-being have been associated with lower levels of cortisol, lower inflammatory markers, reduced cardiovascular risk, and improved sleep. Yoga has been shown to assist in cultivating well-being on each of these levels.
Positive psychology focuses on nurturing a positive self-image and increasing self-awareness (clear sense of identity, purpose, and meaning), looking for learning opportunities, and growing in the face of challenge and adversity. Optimism and resilience have been studied for their links to improved well-being, creating an upward spiral of positivity and flourishing.