We all know the phrase: “You are your own worst enemy.” What does it mean to you? Take a moment or two to pause and reflect. Nope, five seconds is not “a moment or two”. Search deep inside yourself. Seriously. This is your health that is at stake.
Tick tock. Excuse me, let me grab a cup of coffee while you work your interior magic. Keep up the good work reflecting.
Proof Positive: Negative Thinking Is Bad For Your Health
Done it? Good. Unfortunately, this is a one-way conversation so your thoughts stay where they are (if someone out there has a way to convey their thoughts telepathically, the rest of us are all ears… or all minds, or whatever!). My particular sentiments on this are that it hurts. Yes, it kills me inside. It is known as “the nocebo effect”, the other side of the coin to the placebo effect. “The term nocebo (Latin noc?b?, “I shall harm”, from noce?, “I harm”) was coined by Walter Kennedy in 1961 to denote the counterpart to the use of placebo (Latin plac?b?, “I shall please”, from place?, “I please”); as a substance that may produce a beneficial, healthful, pleasant, or desirable effect”, affirms Wikipedia. Using the mind in life, we can either hurt or help ourselves.
With the placebo/nocebo effect, take Raj in The Big Bang Theory as an example, who had an irrational fear of talking to women without alcohol. With a bottle of (non-alcoholic) beer in his hand, he confidently walks up and talks to Summer Glau, a famous actress, on the train. He really impresses her with his charm until Howard points out what Raj is drinking and the poor Indian astrophysicist returns to his fearful self and timidly walks away.
Another example of the placebo effect is the golfer Ben Hogan, however this is a story best told by Wikipedia. Examples such as these happen every single day in many situations. As these are produced by the placebo and nocebo effects which are positive or negative respectively, we can imagine what happens when negative thinking is in play using the aforementioned examples.
According to Dr. Masaru’s water experiments, Dr. Masaru Emoto studied water crystals for years with intentions of just studying the crystal structures that water forms he actually landed on a beautiful piece of evidence of how negativity impacts the structures. He would play the crystals different kinds of music and would also expose the crystals to different emotions. What Dr. Emoto found was that positivity led to beautiful crystal forms whereas hate and negativity led to the dissipation and irregularity of the crystal form.” What does this have to do with humans? I thought you would never ask: This has implications for the health of the human body as we are composed of 50-70% water
Emiliana Simon-Thomas, PhD, science director of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, was quoted as saying by Health.com: “Many negative emotions such as anger, fear, and frustration become problematic when those emotions turn into a more permanent disposition or a habitual outlook on the world.” Health.com does not stop there. It also talks about some negative emotional states and their impact on the physical and neurological parts of the well-being of a human being.
They continue… “Take cynicism, for example: A 2014 study published in the journal Neurology linked high levels of cynicism later in life, i.e. a general distrust of people (and their motives), to a greater risk of dementia compared to those who were more trusting, even after accounting for other risk factors like age, sex, certain heart health markers, smoking status, and more. This way of thinking may also hurt your heart.
A 2009 study from the journal Circulation looked at data from nearly 100,000 women and found that the most cynical participants were more likely to have heart disease than the least cynical folks. The more pessimistic women also had a higher chance of dying over the study period, versus those who were more optimistic about humanity.” Fear not, dear friends. We can change this. Simon-Thomas goes on: “We know that neural pathways are changing every minute of your entire life and that your brain is generating new cells throughout your life. And this neurogenesis is not only associated with the formation of new memories, but with mood stability, as well.”
Simon-Thomas concludes: “We can be deliberate about shifting our habits of feeling and thinking in the world.”
So, how do you feel about that? Are you stopping yourself from being happy and healthy? The onus is on you to change if you must. Take a moment or two to pause and reflect…