Healthy brain healthy body?

The effects of your mental state on your body (and vice versa)
The effects of your mental state on your body (and vice versa)

Your mental and physical health work closely together. Your physical health directly affects how you feel mentally - and vice versa. Physical complaints can be related to mental problems, for example stress-related headaches. We look at the connection between mental and physical health.

stressStress, stress, stress

There are many studies on the human body and how our mindset affects it. One of the most discussed and often seen as one of the biggest culprits on your physical and mental state is stress. The function of the stress hormone is to put you in reactive mode; you are ready for danger.

So why does it lead to problems? Stress is exhausting for your body. The more stress, the harder it is for your body to process it. The perception of workload and stress has increased by 1.5 per cent each time over the last 20 years. Because of this gradual increase, it is less easy to recognize. We get used to the ever-increasing stimuli. But, your body cashes in and struggles more. As a result, overstimulation and overexertion are increasingly common these days.

When your body constantly has to process these stimuli, it has little energy to maintain your physical health and you are more susceptible. Besides stress, there are other factors, hormones and conditions that have an impact.

What are the physical effects?

Stress is often cited as a danger to your health. Research has shown that stress has a major impact on preventable health complaints, think of heart diseases. Stress and mental complaints also affect your sleep, not being able to fall asleep or not sleeping deeply. Those sleep problems in turn cause other problems, such as obesity, heart attacks and heart attacks in severe cases.

It also works the other way round, people with physical ailments are at significantly higher risk of having mental symptoms. Almost one in three people who have a long-term health complaint also have mental problems such as panic disorder and depression.

How your mindset helps

Your mindset helps to improve your health! If you alter your outlook on life you can improve your physical health. In one study participants were told that stress was helpful instead of dangerous. As a result, these participants had less symptoms of depression and anxiety than their peers going through the same changes. They felt more optimistic and their work improved, compared to the other group. Changing your mindset can help you embrace the feeling of stress instead of fearing it. It leads to better stress responses, as we can see in the hormones released.

So what is happiness?

How you experience happiness varies from person to person. The feelings of happiness, contentment, pride, are all emotions that constitute happiness. All in all, happiness is feeling the positive emotions and staying away from the negative ones.

These emotions arise because of the chemistry in your brain. Neurotransmitters are the messengers your brain uses to transmit information. One of these is serotonin, which conveys the feeling of happiness. The neurotransmitter dopamine makes you feel good as a reward, it essentially tells you this is good this is what you need to keep doing.

meditatieIs health being happy?

To relieve naturally occurring stress before it takes too much hold, it is important to find ways to relax your body and mind. The recipe: listen to your body and try to live as healthily as possible. Pay close attention to the signs and don't dismiss it with an 'ah, everyone has a thing or two'.

How do we become happier and therefore healthier?

At BODY WORLDS, we know that how happy someone is depends on three things. In fact, research shows that the circumstances of our lives make up 10% of our happiness. Another 50% is shaped by our genes, meaning that everyone has a different natural level of joy to which we return after failures or triumphs. The remaining 40% comes from our own actions.

So what are good healthy actions that you can do something about yourself? To increase your mental health try living account with a mission, setting goals, positive thinking, living more consciously, maintaining your friendships, eating healthy and tackling problems. This is easy to say, of course, but requires a lot of discipline. But, in the end, it is possible for everyone to change!


The search for happiness and love dominates our lives, but what determines whether we are happy? At BODY WORLDS: The Happiness Project, you will go on a journey through the human body in search of what makes us happy and how this affects our health.

During the exhibition, you will come face to face with the complex structures of the human anatomy. You will see what connects us and keeps us moving. How laughing and loving affect our bodies. Because, our actions affect how happy we are, and through the fine cooperation with the rest of your body, it helps contribute to how healthy we are!