Creating Desire

In my last blog I wrote that we live with a continuous, largely automatic and unconscious, two-way communication, in that our bodies have an effect on our minds and our minds have an effect on our bodies.

The ‘White Coat Effect’ is a well-known example, where concern about having blood pressure checked by a doctor actually causes a rise in blood pressure.

This happens so automatically it can be tough, if not impossible, to know what is creating any particular problem we may encounter. Especially as there tends to be a combination of both:

1. attitudes that make an impact on the physical body – and
2. physical states creating effects on consciousness.

How can we possibly know which is the more significant contribution?

As an example, it was once believed that depression developed through ways of thinking; distorted beliefs such as, “there’s something wrong with me” and “things can only get worse”. In the past few decades, though, serotonin deficiency has become the far more common explanation. In other words, the body – in this case the brain and the part of our body that produces serotonin, which is the gut – has an influence on our state of mind.

The more recent theory of systemic inflammation suggests that depression is the brain’s inflammatory response to diet and stress. The diet part being a body-mind explanation, and the stress perhaps more mind-body.

The emphasis varies between disciplines. The more traditional, medical models tend to favour the body as the cause, while self-help and alternative approaches often focus on the mind as the key factor.

Surely the smart money is on both, and no matter what is the problem in question, approaching from both ends is more likely to meet in the middle with success.

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  1. Assumpta

    Thank you for your email, it’s very interesting. My problem is I tend to eat to cope with stress. It’s the evening the problem is worse. I have improved since I got your book. I agree that I create the addictive desire to feed the desire. Thanks again. Assumpta.

  2. nicole

    Hi Gillian,

    I have LOVED your book and your understanding of addictive desire, it’s head and shoulders beyond every other diet book i have read (and believe me, I own the library!) I would appreciate just some advice on how to keep up the good work, something simple (is this simplistic ??).
    I eat extremely heathy food, I have followed your times and plans as the best tool. I choose to give myself a break on friday nights (it’s celebration night in my house). I just need the upkeep good word every so often… any ideas, mantras….?

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