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State of Mind Can Improve State of Health

Norman Cousins had been an editor of the Saturday Evening Post and later went on to help UCLA start what, after his death, became known as the Norman Cousins Institute for Psychoneuroimmunology. This became one of the first centers for serious research into the interplay between mind and body. After his experience of recovering from very serious illness, he devoted his life to helping the field of medicine research the connection between state of mind and the ability to recover from serious illness.

A famous quote by Norman Cousins is: “Anything that restores a sense of control to a patient can be a profound aid in treating serious illness. That sense of control is more than a mere mood or attitude, and may well be a vital pathway between the brain, the endocrine system, and the immune system.”

Many researchers have reported that a sense of control can improve immune function. The ironic challenge is that the more you try to control situations or the actions of other people, the more you realize that you are powerless to control those situations or people. The path to cultivation of a sense of control over your life is to do everything in your power to improve your situation, but to then cultivate acceptance for the outcome.

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State of Mind Can Improve State of Health

Dr. Larry Berkelhammer

Dr. Berkelhammer is a retired mind-body medicine psychologist. He writes about mindfulness-based practices with a unique emphasis on optimization of wellbeing and health. Dr. Berkelhammer also lectures at San Francisco State University and UC San Francisco, and is currently teaching a class in Marin County through College of Marin. He is the author of the book "In Your Own Hands; New Hope for People with Chronic Medical Conditions".

See his extensive website:

In Your Own Hands: Mindfulness-Based Practices to Optimize Wellbeing - College of Marin Community Education

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APA Reference
Berkelhammer, D. (2016). State of Mind Can Improve State of Health. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 4, 2020, from


Last updated: 6 Apr 2016
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