Matter over Mind

Transcript of the Feature ‘Health Matters’ on Radio X from 02 June 2014

I’m Tom Meyers Stress Coach and welcome to another episode of Health Matters.

This week I like to talk to you about how your body in other words your biology influences your mind and behaviour.

That the mind can influence your body is a widely accepted concept and referred to as the mind over matter. This influence of the mind can be positive when you uphold for example a positive mindset and when you are compassionate. Meditation and mindfulness are for example practices that are based on this interaction between mind and body.

The other side of the coin is that the mind can also have a negative effect on your health. For example excessive worrying, anger and hatred can lead i.a. to cardiovascular problems and chronic stress due to increased levels of adrenalin and cortisol.

But have you ever heard of the principle ‘matter over mind’? No, fact is that the body or matter has far more influence over your mind, emotions and behaviour then you might give it credit.

Lets go back to look at Mind over matter this is when the neocortex, the outermost part of your brain and which is responsible for consciousness and logical thinking, influences the deeper lying emotions and memory related limbic part and the instinctive reptilian brain.

Matter over mind on the other hand is when the reptilian brain and limbic system influence your behaviour and way of thinking.

Lets look at few examples of matter over mind : When you have a fever, how do you feel, what behavioural changes take place and how well can you concentrate in that moment?

Chronic stress has also a body over mind perspective that is often overlooked. Remember that stress is a biological response to stressors where certain neurological structures and hormones are stimulated or inhibited and is associated with memory loss, reduced solution based thinking and creativity. In times of stress you also become more short-tempered and reactive instead of rational.

Stress also leads to structural changes in your brain due to the interaction of the hormone cortisol. When brain structure changes it changes it’s functioning and thus your thoughts, behaviour and can end up in changing your personality.

As mentioned before meditation and mindfulness are the examples of mind over matter based practices. But are there matter over mind practices that you can practice. Yes there are, a good therapeutic massage or an osteopathy treatment can do wonders.

Another is breathing exercises. Specific breathing exercises increase parasympathetic tone that in turn inhibits the release of adrenaline and cortisol and increases the release of serotonin thus effecting body, mind and behaviour.

Read more about this topic in the June edition of Together Magazine which you can find on

I’m Tom Meyers Osteopath and Stress Coach for Body and Mind and contributor of thought to your health and well-being

Would you like to know more about my work or presentations on Understanding & Managing Stress then go to


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