The importance of mental health has been increasingly emphasized in recent decades. Psychological well-being is a complex construct that concerns optimal psychological functioning and experience.
Elements of psychological well-being include a sense of balance in emotion, thoughts, social relationships, and pursuits which necessitates the active engagement of self-control processes such as emotion regulation. Emotion regulation is defined as the processes by which we influence which emotions we have, when we have them, and how we experience and express them. In integrative body-mind training (IBMT) practice, cooperation between body and mind is emphasized in facilitating and achieving a meditation state. A study tested the hypothesis that body (physiology) and mind (brain) interaction and balance are crucial to the observed effects of integrative body-mind training (IBMT). One group of college students was randomly assigned to the experimental (IBMT) or control (RT) conditions, and received brain imaging and physiological measures, whereas another group of college students was randomized into IBMT and RT conditions, but underwent electroencephalogram (EEG) with physiological measures. To monitor the activity at rest before, during, and after five 30-min sessions of IBMT or RT, in both conditions, the physiological measures included respiratory rate and amplitude, heart rate, and skin conductance response.
IBMT improves psychological well-being through mindfulness and body-fullness that mainly strengthen self-control ability. Bodifulness refers to the gentle adjustment and exercise of body posture with a full awareness, in order to achieve a presence, balance, and integration in our bodies.
Full awareness and presence of the body (bodifulness) could facilitate the mindfulness process, consistent with the literature that body posture and state affect mental processes such as emotional
processing, the retrieval of autobiographical memories, and cortisol concentrations. Taken together, if
interventions such as IBMT target increases in psychological well-being through the engagement of both body and mind, effectiveness may be enhanced.
IBMT has been shown to improve psychological well-being, and appears to do so via changes in selfcontrol that are reflected in changes in both the central (brain/mind) and the autonomic (body/physiology) nervous systems. In particular, IBMT changes the state of body and mind to lead to positive outcomes in emotion, cognition, and behavior. IBMT is a typical case of how it is possible to use an evidence-based intervention that targets the brain, physiology, and behavior to achieve the goals of psychological well-being and human flourishing.
Moreover, different interventions may target different brain networks, and it’s important to understand how different types of training programs differentially impact different brain systems and how different people might preferentially benefit from one type of intervention versus another.