Science looks at objective reality. Scientists spend a LOT of effort try to determine the nature of our physical reality. This makes our lives better and allows us to create technology with repeatable results. Occasionally, every few centuries or so, there is a large paradigm shift in how we view things, but for the most part we have a pretty good handle of how things work in the physical realm.
Psychology (philosophy..etc..) looks at subjective reality. Inside each of our heads we have our own reality, our own inner world. This reality is somewhat subjective, based on our individual viewpoints and the lenses we see through. Of course we are still subject to objective reality, so that has a hard time changing based on our individual views, however, we humans still sometimes have a hard time determining the difference.
Spirituality proposes a link between the two. A link between our subjective reality (inner world) and our objective reality (outer world). It's important to note that most of the worlds major religions also propose that practitioners, seekers and others who transcended their limited view of reality...encountered this enhanced version reality. They describe a sort of enhanced reality where the individuals subjective view of things influenced the objective reality and transcended commonly held limitations. These are generally called "miracles" as they are considered to be an aberration from the norm.
Here are a few examples from major religions:
Jesus walked on water....turned water into wine....raised the dead...healed the sick.
Moses turned a staff into a snake....parted the read sea....called down fire from the sky.
That's just Moses and Jesus. Buddha and Pythagoras were alleged to have special powers as well, and the Siddhis are mentioned in the yoga sutras which described advanced human abilities.
Quantum physics has also identified a link between the observer (subjective) and the observed (objective), but has not as of yet identified powers that will enable people to jump over tall buildings or change the fabric of space time :)
As humans, we seem to want more. We seem to instinctively want to bridge this link between our inner and outer worlds.
These are just a few examples, there are also countless others stories of expanding human powers though out history including saints who fly, people who can be in two places at once...mind readers...telepathy... and the list goes on and on. For the most part, this is still the territory of debate between believers and skeptics...
So, regardless of where you may fall on this view...
There is a very substantial and quantifiable connection and benefit within our own body between subjective reality and objective reality. That's where our consciousness (thoughts and how we react to them) interface with our physical body. And so, WHAT I THINK (my subjective experience...whether it's true or not) DOES cause my physical body to react. (an objective experience) This physical reaction to my mental world creates responses in the body. Hormone releases, endocrine responses, muscle tightening or loosening, change in breathing and heart rate etc.. etc.. etc... This can create a very REAL benefit when used consciously, or very real suffering (physical pain or difficulty) when unconscious. Being unconscious of these things can lead to stress. Stress, of course, can then lead to many other physical or mental difficulties.
Imagine for a moment, that you are a pilot in one the army's most advanced helicopters. This helicopter has sensors connected to your clothing and helmet, that react to your movements. You turn your head..the guns turn. You think "shoot"...the guns shoot..etc.. The helicopter is like an extension of you.
I think our body is like that too, however we are integrated so well, we forget that we are not the body itself, but are the pilot. If you are anything like me, you may have had times where you're body feels out of control. Your chest gets tight, your heart starts to race and suddenly you feel like a prisoner on a runaway freight train.
So what we need to do is to raise our awareness of our bodies internal systems..or rather change the focus of awareness (from outwards to inwards). We are generally trained to focus outwards in our daily lives, and so the focus is away from our thoughts and then how those thoughts create a reaction in the body. The mental chatter at the level of thought becomes unconscious and the reaction to those thoughts in the body is even further from consciousness. So, in some ways it's like being the pilot of that advanced helicopter in which I have forgotten how to operate the controls...or at least quit paying attention... and then the machine itself is sending me feedback to pay attention, that's then causing me actual physical distress!
So, how does a person raise awareness? LEARN TO RELAX (mind and body). Relaxation doesn't necessarily raise the awareness itself, but, I believe it can return our physical bodies and minds closer to a baseline of equilibrium. Then, from that place of equilibrium we can begin the process of noticing when and how stresses appear. What are the thoughts associated with them. etc.. Much of this is VERY SUBTLE and can take place at a subconscious level, so being tuned inwards in order to notice is KEY. From my experience, meditation...yoga...and sound therapy are just a few things that can begin to help in getting back to that baseline of relaxation. In my case, I would also include, diet exercise and probiotics. From there it is up to each person to learn to direct their consciousness (thought patterns and chosen reactions), and focus it where they are able to release stress or discomfort. Then you can begin to make connections between the thoughts and feelings and the physical responses. Simply paying attention to the body and it's reactions can begin to bring awareness and change in this area.
Raising awareness can be disconcerting and freaky at first too. This, I believe, is at least part of what happened during my anxiety and awakening experience. Once the body relaxed... my mind began to feel like it was losing control... the "thinking mind" or ego identity (which is not truly me.. or you) then began to freak out and fight for control again. This is where surrendering to "what is" becomes important. The mind can play many tricks and fear and worry are two of it's main calling cards. Many of us have a "hidden world" too in the subconscious (aka. the shadow as Carl Jung described it). "The Shadow" is a world of hidden desires, suppressed traumas, fears and more. Part of the process for me was also learning to become conscious of this hidden world that is within me, so that I could adjust my body's reactions accordingly.
So, this is, in my opinion, is at least a part of the link between subjective experience and objective experience in the physical body...where it relates to stress. Our body doesn't know the difference between the reality or possible distortion of our subjective mental experience. Physiologically speaking, our bodies just reacts to our thoughts without stopping consider the validity of those thoughts.
Keep in mind also that everyday someone (or some experience) is trying to alter your view of reality..(sometimes consciously, but mostly unconsciously on their part) Whether it's your co-worker who wants to gossip and change your view of another co-worker, or the media that wants you to buy into certain concepts so it can sell you something. ..or someone that wants to tell you what you ARE...flattering or unflattering. Don't buy into it.
You alone have the choice to decide your point of view.
(So why not choose things that make you feel good?)
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Just a personal note: There is nothing new under the sun. I am just attempting to present info. here that has helped me. I hope to present it in a clear way based on my experience with anxiety which was a spiritual, psychological and emotional awakening for me. In retrospect of this experience I have been reading as much as I could to come to a deeper and more grounded understanding of this seemingly mystical thing that happened to me (so that I could share it with you). I'm not a doctor or a scientist. Please know this is only my experience. Yours will obviously be different, but since my experience was so similar to others I've talked to, I am hoping this may be helpful or useful to you in some way. It's also a way that I hope to share the love with you. That is my purpose here.