“Our life always expresses the result of our dominant thoughts.” – Soren Kierkegaard
Did you know that the foremost cause of physical pain can actually be overcome, and prevented – just by directing your thoughts?
Our overall physical health is a reflection of the energy that we give off; in this way, we literally become what we think about most. If we focus on negative thoughts and feelings, this creates disease within the mind, which carries over into the body as well. Plenty of scientific literature can attest to this; in fact, in a groundbreaking global study performed by Canadian researchers in 2004, they found that “psychosocial factors,” such as stress, anxiety, and depression, posed as much risk for a heart attack as smoking cigarettes.
While some level of stress can benefit a person’s life, chronic stress or anxiety can impair many functions in your body, resulting in digestive problems, heart disease, weight gain, memory problems, depression, and insomnia, to name a few.
In today’s modern society, we’re exposed to almost constant stressors, which leads to the overproduction of the hormone cortisol, which is a stress hormone that enables us to respond quickly to a perceived threat. In pre-industrial times, this hormone would’ve signaled our flight-or-fight response, designed to help us survive in times of peril or hardship. However, our modern world can sometimes cause this hormone to go into overdrive, leaving us with a weakened immune system and frazzled mind.
On the other hand, when we turn our attention to the things that make us feel good, our brains release chemicals such as serotonin and oxytocin to help us relax and feel joy. According to a study performed by Randy Blakely, Ph.D., director of Vanderbilt University’s Center for Molecular Neuroscience in Tennessee and John Gordon, Ph.D., a professor of cellular immunology at the University of Birmingham in England, positive thinking can indeed impact the immune system, reducing the risk for diseases such as cancer.
In test tube experiments, the scientists studied the effect of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that affects mood, on a type of cancer called Burkitt’s lymphoma, which impacts the immune system. In high concentrations, they found that serotonin entered the cancer cells, causing them to self-destruct.
Another professor from the University of Birmingham, Dr. Michael Frenneaux, discovered that depression doubles an otherwise healthy person’s risk of having a heart attack.
Although emotional pain does eventually manifest physical pain in some manner, it can be managed and even reversed with relaxation techniques and becoming aware of predominant thoughts. According to Gregg Braden, a scientist, author, and speaker about how thoughts can change human DNA and other “New Age” topics, just two to three minutes a day of practicing mindfulness can drastically reduce cortisol levels in the body.
“Studies documented by the Institute of HeartMath (IHM), a pioneering research organization based in Boulder Creek, California, have shown that cortisol levels can decrease as much as 23 percent, and levels of DHEA, a life-affirming precursor to other vital hormones in the body, can increase 100 percent if we spend as little as three minutes using focused techniques designed to produce such responses,” according to Braden’s website.
As we’ve stated before, negative thinking can wreak havoc on your mind and body, making you energetically imbalanced and prone to a slew of dis-eases. In order to keep your immune system functioning properly, maintaining positive thinking patterns can determine your overall health just as much as eating a balanced diet and getting plenty of rest. All of these lifestyle factors and habits work together as a team to keep you healthy, and when one player starts to show signs of weakness, it brings the whole team down in flames.
So, how can you ensure that your mindset doesn’t become clouded with toxic thoughts that cause pain and disease?
Try these practices out in your daily life:
- Write down positive quotes, affirmations, or mantras, or speak them aloud if you prefer.
- Meditate for at least 10-15 minutes each day. Practice becoming the awareness behind your thoughts, meaning that you shouldn’t attach yourself to anything that enters your mind; rather, just let the thoughts come and go without judgment.
- Exercise for 30 minutes at least 4 times per week. This releases endorphins, giving your brain clarity and making you feel more positive.
- Smile at strangers.
- Make sure your friendships make you feel excited and inspired, not depressed and tired.
- Make some time each day to exercise your creative muscles, whether that be through yoga, writing, drawing, pottery, etc.
The connection between our thoughts and how we feel has been scientifically proven time and time again, and shows that we can literally transform our lives through the power of positive thinking. If you don’t feel very vibrant either emotionally or physically, tune into your thoughts and see what they’re telling you. Then, make sure to practice some of the positive practices in your life, and watch how your health improves over time. Our minds have such incredible power, and we as a species have so much potential to lead fulfilling, productive, and meaningful lives.
Through our thoughts, we can map out a life that far surpasses our wildest dreams, leading us into lives of abundance and great health.
“The mind is everything. What you think, you become.” – Buddha