The Differences Between the Mind and the Brain

Although often viewed as one and the same, the mind and the brain are different yet intertwined in a complicated relationship.

The Differences Between the Mind and the Brain

Although many see the mind as being synonymous with the brain, it’s important to know the distinct differences. It may help to view the brain as “hardware” – it processes and allows us to experience mental states. Our mind is made up of said mental states – thoughts, emotions, beliefs, attitudes, images, etc.

Simply put, the brain is the anatomical organ with complex connections that we can see. The mind is made up of equally-important things that we cannot see.

The brain is somewhat finite and limited to its physical capabilities. The mind is not limited by physical structure. Therefore, the brain is more closely related to the “body” aspect than the “mind” aspect since it is a physical and structural object.

Similar to how the mind and body have a dynamic relationship, the brain and the mind are intertwined. Thoughts can affect how the brain works. And how the brain works can affect thoughts and mood.

Important Difference Between Brain and Mind

“Mental states can be fully conscious or unconscious. We can have emotional reactions to situations without being aware of why we are reacting. Each mental state has a physiology associated with it—a positive or negative effect felt in the physical body. For example, the mental state of anxiety causes you to produce stress hormones” (University of Minnesota).

Many mind-body therapies are focusing on getting people to become more conscious of their mental states in order to guide themselves into a less destructive direction.

It’s becoming clear, now more than ever, that we cannot only take care of our bodies. We need to take care of ourselves mentally and spiritually as well.