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 Table of Contents  
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 161-162

Body and mind: Two maps but one territory. mental coaching in support of somatic correlates in times of COVID-19


1 Department of Geriatrics, Neuroscience and Orthopedics, Institute of Psychiatry and Psychology, Fondazione Policlinico Universitario A. Gemelli IRCCS, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore; U.P. ASPIC Università Popolare del Counseling, Rome, Italy
2 Department of Translational Medicine and Surgery, Fondazione Policlinico Universitario A. Gemelli IRCCS, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Rome, Italy
3 Department of Geriatrics, Neuroscience and Orthopedics, Institute of Psychiatry and Psychology, Fondazione Policlinico Universitario A. Gemelli IRCCS, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Rome, Italy

Date of Submission10-Aug-2021
Date of Acceptance27-Sep-2021
Date of Web Publication30-Nov-2021

Correspondence Address:
Eleonora Gaetani
Department of Translational Medicine and Surgery, Fondazione Policlinico Universitario A. Gemelli IRCCS, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Rome
Italy
Dr. Marianna Mazza
Department of Geriatrics, Neuroscience and Orthopedics, Institute of Psychiatry and Psychology, Fondazione Policlinico Universitario A. Gemelli IRCCS, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Roma
Italy
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/hm.hm_50_21

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How to cite this article:
Marano G, Gaetani E, Sani G, Mazza M. Body and mind: Two maps but one territory. mental coaching in support of somatic correlates in times of COVID-19. Heart Mind 2021;5:161-2

How to cite this URL:
Marano G, Gaetani E, Sani G, Mazza M. Body and mind: Two maps but one territory. mental coaching in support of somatic correlates in times of COVID-19. Heart Mind [serial online] 2021 [cited 2022 Jan 20];5:161-2. Available from: http://www.heartmindjournal.org/text.asp?2021/5/4/161/331566

The mind and body act in a way that affects individual's state of health. Mind-body interaction is bidirectional: Psychological factors can contribute to the onset or exacerbation of a wide range of physical illnesses and organic pathologies can have an important impact on the person's thinking or mood.[1] In a harmonious condition, body and mind are integrated into a balanced dialog. In a disharmonious context, sensoriality may prevail and compromise thinking and reflexive capacities causing a conflict between body and mind, or when intellectual abstraction and a lack of interest in emotions prevail, the body can be concretely attacked.

A good mindbody agreement can be achieved through the mental coaching process, which represents a functional imprinting activator of the person's mental abilities to improve the personal state of well-being.[2] When the subject's body becomes unreachable by the mind and vice versa, when these two systems are mutually exclusive, and a body-mind dissociation is generated. A somatic symptom can testify to a disconnection between the mind and the body systems, it can be the manifestation of a defense or an alexithymic condition. Discomfort through the body also indicates that at that moment the individual is unable to reveal himself differently, therefore it can still represent a precious expression, compared to a total absence of expression: For this reason, somatic symptoms in some circumstances can be recognized as a possible evolutionary value.

The literature demonstrates the influence of emotional, relational, and social factors on the body's immune response capabilities. Stress can produce physical symptoms, even in the absence of organic pathologies, because the body physiologically responds to emotional stress.[2] Mental coaching helps to heal stress, trauma and threatening circumstances working on emotional, mental, and behavioral patterns. By incorporating the body into the coaching process, people can access a depth that would otherwise be inaccessible.[3]

Stress is clinically identified as a nonspecific response of the organism to any external or internal stimulus that constitutes a threat to survival or induces an adaptive response aimed at restoring internal homeostasis. Events that can cause stress can be of a physical or even psychological nature. An event becomes stressful so far as a person evaluates it as threatening. Coronavirus can act as an external stimulus to which every person has been continuously exposed in recent years. On the other hand, the fear deriving from the current situation can be considered an internal stimulus that can be a potential source of stress. COVID-19 causes a serious disease that affects many people and determines an experience of the epidemic that resonates with the fears and tragedies related to the great epidemics of the past. This condition can perform the function of activating the life drive and provoking survival actions that help to resist the crisis.[3] Conversely, the Coronavirus forces to deal with the vulnerability of the human being and could initiate movements of anguish or even denial of danger, which can threaten the psycho-physical integrity and determinate psychosomatic manifestations due to exposure to a state of subtle and persistent stress, at individual and community levels at the same time. The pandemic has caused stress levels to rise in people who have lived for months with the fear of contagion for themselves and their loved ones, likewise with the anxiety and worries caused by loneliness, isolation, and economic repercussions.

These sources of stress can have an effect not only on the mind but also on the heart. Prolonged psychological stress, with the cascade of hormonal signals that it can trigger, risks putting the heart under pressure and can consequently cause a cardiovascular event in predisposed patients.[4]

Our clinical experience[3] suggests that sensitive listening to somatic communications through a mental coaching intervention represents an active and constructive path to develop strategies to cope with feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. In this perspective, the chronicization of the discomfort is avoided, and the quality of life and the state of well-being of the person are improved.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
Qingshan G. Preface of heart and mind. Heart Mind 2017;1:57-8.  Back to cited text no. 1
  [Full text]  
2.
Mazza M, Marano G, Antonazzo B, Cavarretta E, DI Nicola M, Janiri L, et al. What about heart and mind in the COVID-19 era? Minerva Cardiol Angiol 2021;69:222-6.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Marano G, Traversi G, Gesualdi A, Biffi A, Gaetani E, Sani G, et al. Mental health and coaching challenges facing the COVID-19 outbreak. Psychiatr Danub 2021;33:124-6.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Liu M. Heart and mind: A research update of heart diseases caused by psychological factors. Heart Mind 2017;1:4-7.  Back to cited text no. 4
  [Full text]  




 

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