Understanding the Body-Mind Loop and How We Can Influence Change

Tom Meyers
2 min readJun 13, 2024

This is a work in progress based on my own thoughts and those of Professor R. Sapolsky’s books, including his latest, “Determined”, as well as A. Damasio’s “The Strange Order of Things” and elements of evolutionary and developmental mismatch theories.

The purpose of this simplified diagram is to gain a better understanding of whether and how we can evolve on purpose to better adapt and manage change. It illustrates the continuous body-mind loop where our body’s neuronal and molecular mechanisms, influenced by genetics, environmental factors, and individual experiences, govern our behaviour. Behavioural affect cognition, which in turn shapes the mind. The mind’s decisions, choices, and actions then alter the environment, creating new experiences that continue to influence our body’s neuronal and molecular mechanisms. Throughout this process, feelings are generated and play a crucial role at each stage.

At the moment, our rising “biological footprint” — a term I coined to capture the impact of our lifestyle, environment, and actions on our biological systems — is making us sick.

By understanding the interconnected elements of my illustration, I hope you/we can better comprehend what is happening and why, but also gain insights into how you/we can purposefully change or stimulate a process of evolving on purpose (evolopsis).

How do you feel about this? For example, by reading this, your body has created neuronal and molecular changes that alter your behaviour, perspective, emotions, choices, decisions, and actions, which in turn cause changes in your environment (internal and external factors), creating experiences that further influence your body, changing the way you respond, and so on.

What I’m striving for with this illustration is to shed light on my understanding of how you/we can foster better ways of adapting and managing change. In other words, how we can create stability through change and evolve with the changing times, thereby improving our physical and mental health and wellbeing and foster a more compassionate and humane society.

Again it is a work in process… and I’m awaiting Prof. Sapolsky’s view on this.

PS: The key message of Robert Sapolsky’s book Determined: A Science of Life Without Free Will is that human behaviour and decision-making are entirely shaped by a complex interplay of genetics, environmental influences, and individual experiences. Sapolsky argues that the concept of free will is an illusion, and our actions result from deterministic processes involving the body’s neuronal and molecular mechanisms, which influence behaviour and cognition.

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Tom Meyers

Tom Meyers is an osteopath M.Sc. D.0., Founder the Reaset Approach, Author Futurize Yourself & The Futures Effect