What is the Mind-Body Connection?

In this episode, I briefly explore the role physical exercise plays in building a healthy body and mind as well as some tips for how to bounce back after injury.

Episode Goal

Ideas on the mind-body connection are as old as time. And while we know a lot more today about the mechanics of it than our ancestors, we’ve only really begun to scratch the surface of understanding the relationship between this gelatinous mass between our ears and the rest of our bodies.

We remain a mystery to ourselves and still, we’re running around drinking enormous amounts of coffee to stay awake and alcohol to calm down. Eating more processed foods than ever before and so connected (yet ironically isolated) that experts from the World Health Organization are already talking of a looming psychological (silent) pandemic.

And all the while we’re meant to return to work. Things are meant to go back to business as usual, but I think it’s very clear to everyone that there is no going back to the status quo.

In this episode, I briefly explore the role physical exercise plays in building a healthy body and mind as well as some tips for how to bounce back after injury.


Kenneth Duge is a physician associate with a decade of experience in the medical field working across the United States. Originally hailing from Buffalo, he now resides in Maine, where he continues to practice medicine. Kenny is passionate about primary care and has a holistic approach to health (diet, exercise, etc.). He is also very interested in lifestyle and workplace changes that can help reduce burnout and which foster an overall better quality of care; firstly as a care provider and then how that translates into better patient care. Kenny and I actually studied psychology together during undergrad and have been friends ever since.


The discussion is over. By now the mind-body duality is essentially a thing of the past. The notion that the mind (which we have yet to define) and body function as a single unit is now the commonly accepted view of our nature. While the exact details of this remain a question of heated debate; certain things are now known and accepted as true.

  1. You are what you eat - the role of nutrition is an irrevocable part of ensuring your flesh machine keeps running. And it makes sense. Our knowledge of nutrition grows by the day and people are clearly interested. Books, courses, and material on nutrition are in no short supply. More often than not is actually more difficult to figure out what will work for you and your body than it is to access the knowledge itself.
  2. Some exercise is better than no exercise - This is not really up for discussion anymore either. The benefits if exercise, even moderate exercise in the form of cardio several times a week or strength and resistance training one to twice a week are well-documented facts. While we would never advocate pushing your body to the point of outright hurting yourself, it is a biological and medical fact that we were built to move.
  3. Everyone's flesh machine runs differently - Thankfully, the science on this is getting better, and fast! As the technology for things like synthesizing genetic material and processing massive datasets becomes more accessible, we are learning more about just how differently people's bodies actually are. While certain universal health guidelines remain the same, it's ultimately up to you to figure out how best to run your body. You are your own lab.
  4. A healthy body is the foundation of a healthy mind - Recent research has begun to point specifically to how certain foods interact with the guttural microbiome to influence mental and emotional states. While the empirical research is still new, it builds on decades of work across multiple fields and has massive implications.

Moving Forward

Kenny and I were only able to cover the tip of the iceberg due to time but I've taken the liberty of curating a book for those who are interested in taking their mind-body health into their own hands. Dr. John Medina is a developmental molecular biologist focused on the genes involved in human brain development and the genetics of psychiatric disorders. His book Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School remains one of my favorite books on the matter for its ability to take very complex science and make it accessible to everyone.

The Rules (and book chapters) Are:

Rule 1: Exercise boosts brain power - Our brains love motion - The incredible test-score booster - Will you age like Jim or Frank? - How oxygen builds roads for the brain.

Rule 2: Survival - The brain evolved too - A brilliant survival strategy - Meet your brain - How we conquered the world.

Rule 3: Wiring - Every brain is wired differently - Neurons slide, slither, and split - Experience makes the difference - Furious brain development not once, but twice. - The Jennifer Aniston Neuron

Rule 4: Attention - We don't pay attention to boring things - Emotion matters - Why there is no such thing as multi-tasking - We pay great attention to threats, sex, and pattern matching - The brain needs a break!

Rule 5: Short-Term Memory - Repeat to Remember - Memories are volatile - How details become splattered across the inside of your brain - How the brain pieces them back together again - Where memories go.

Rule 6: Long-Term Memory - If you don't repeat this within 30 seconds, you'll forget it - Spaced repetition cycles are key to remembering - When floating in water could help your memory.

Rules 7: Sleep - Sleep Well, Think Well - The brain doesn't sleep to rest - Two armies at war in your head - How to improve your performance 34% in 26 minutes - Which bird are you? - Sleep on it!

Rule 8: Stress - Stressed Brains Don't Learn the Same Way - Stress is good, stress is bad - A villain and a hero in a toxic stress battle - Why the home matters to the workplace - Marriage intervention for happy couples.

Rule 9: Sensory integration - Stimulate more of the senses - Lessons from a nightclub - How and why all of our senses work together - Multi-sensory learning means better remembering - What's that Smell?

Rule 10: Vision - Vision trumps all other senses - Playing tricks on wine-tasters - You see what your brain wants you to see, and it makes stuff up - Throw out your PowerPoint.

Rule 11: Gender - Male and Female brains are different - Sexing Humans - The difference between little girl best friends and little boy best friends - Men favor gist when stressed, women favor details - A forgetting drug.

Rule 12: Exploration - We are powerful and natural explorers - Babies are great scientists - Exploration is aggressive - Monkey see, monkey do - Curiosity is everything.

Encouraged Reading

Brain Rules by John Medina The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan

The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk

Want more?

If you're having a hard time getting rid of old habits and building new ones, check out my services for individuals and invest in yourself with time-tested techniques for self-awareness, regulation, and productivity.

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I welcome all my guests to the CCT podcast gratefully and equally. I welcome and entertain their thoughts, views, opinions, and concerns. However, I do not endorse any particular view unless otherwise explicitly stated. I aim to be as transparent as possible with the resources provided. None of the information provided is intended to be taken as a prescription solution or medical/psychological advice. The CCT podcast is a form of media intended to educate and entertain. In the event that you are seeking treatment, we strongly encourage you to seek medical and/or psychological attention from a licensed specialist.

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