Psychologist explores mind-body connection

Valley News Dispatch

Psychologist Nancy Mramor has an ambitious goal for herself and others: spiritual fitness.

On the staff at UPMC Shadyside Hospital since 1999, she is recognized as an authority regarding the mind-body connection.  She believes she cured herself of leukemia five years ago by using those techniques.

Mramor says doctors told her her survival rate was “slim to none.”  She told herself otherwise.

“If you want your mind, body and emotions to be healthy, you first need to be spiritually fit,” says Mramor, a regular contributor to KDKA-TV’s “Pittsburgh Today Live” program.  She also is a producer, writer and on-air personality for WQED-TV’s “On Q” program.

She hopes her book will be a catalyst for people to examine their lives.

“I hope that people begin to look more on their inside instead of their outside to find themselves,” she says.  “There are so many people getting plastic surgery and buying things to find happiness, and if you go inside, find your connection to your spirit, and take the direction you feel spiritually, you may find that the outside things aren’t as important.”

Mramor understands that people bring varying definitions to terms such as “spiritual,” “spirituality” and even “religious.”

To Mramor, “spiritual” means that a person is in touch with his or her spirit, with the side of themselves that has a connection with God.  It means that a person believes in a higher power and feels God’s presence.

“It means that you have faith,” she says.

The psychologist says that some people find that in religion, others in nature and still others in parenthood.  “You can be religious to be spiritual, but it is not necessary.  I like the metaphor of the boat to get across the water.  Religion, like the boat, is a vehicle to get you to the other side,” she says.

Mramor says she always has been a spiritual person.  “By immersing myself in spiritual studies of the major religions and practicing meditation and prayer, I have grown spiritually,” she says.

As for the concept of “embracing your soul,” definitions once again are in order, because the concept of “soul,” like “spiritual,” can be interpreted in many ways.

“The soul is different from the spirit, and many people define them differently,” Mramor says.  “I like to think of the spirit as the energy of the soul, sort of the fuel for the fire.”

When people “catch the fire” they usually begin spiritual study or work, she says.  “I have a nephew who entered a Franciscan friary when he ‘caught the fire,’ but we can all do whatever we are inspired to do, once we recognize what that is.”

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