Health benefits and positive thinking are intimately linked. Your mind forms part of your body and can send messages through to your heart, your limbs, your nervous system etc., so culturing a positive attitude can have huge effects on your health.
You can get on and start to improve your life and health right now by learning how to nurture a positive attitude.
The Power of the Subconscious Mind
It’s no longer realistic to consider the body to function separately from the mind. I believe that this outdated approach will eventually be recognised by all of us to be an unrealistic belief.
When you get scared or feel threatened, the subconscious mind triggers the sympathetic nervous system to come into play and increase your heart beat, dilate your bronchial tubes, contract your muscles, decrease saliva and digestive juices, covert glycogen to glucose for muscle energy and release adrenalin in preparation for fight or flight. All these physical responses, triggered in second by the mind.
In other words if you get scared, the fear is at first perceived by your mind, and then the result is a very real physical reaction.
The mind is also responsible for triggering the parasympathetic nervous system to calm your body back down again in order to allow you to function normally or relax or sleep.
When you live in a state of stress, your body will produce higher levels of the steroid hormone cortisol, known as the stress hormone. While cortisol plays a very important role in our well-being, increased levels are associated with many health issues such as suppressed immune system and increased blood pressure, among others.
So if you’re in the habit of being highly stressed and adding extra worry to your mind, you could be triggering many physical responses from your body, which is just obeying the signals of stress from your mind.
When we’re feeling happy we’re functioning overall much more efficiently than when we’re feeling low, tired, stressed or sad.
The Placebo Effect
Another well known example of the power of the mind over the body is the placebo effect. I’ve often wondered why people would refer to the placebo effect as though it were something to be discarded, as though it were totally unimportant.
How many times have you heard someone infer, ‘Oh that (recovery) doesn’t count, it was just from the placebo effect’. In fact that’s one of the major accusations levied against homeopathy by disbelievers. Homeopathy aside – if it were to cure people because of the placebo effect, well wouldn’t you think that you should consider that amazing?
The placebo effect is a process where a patient’s condition shows improvement after being given pills with no active ingredients, while believing them to be medicine. The reported success rate of the placebo effect varies greatly, from 17% up to 96% – but a frequently quoted and generally accepted average rate of success with the placebo effect is considered to be 30%.
This proves beyond doubt that the power of the mind over the body should be respected and further investigated. This well known phenomena that is completely ignored in mainstream thinking should be enough to show everybody that the mind cannot be ignored when it comes to health.
Health Benefits and Positive Thinking Tested
The relationship between health benefits and positive thinking has been tested by science and the evidence is conclusive – though lots more testing is still needed.
In tests optimism has been shown to improve cardiac health. Being optimistic helps to lower blood pressure, improve circulation and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Pessimism puts the mind under constant stress and leads to increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which in turn can suppress the immune system and lead to other health problems.
A positive outlook on life is also linked to longevity, less risk of disease and general good health and a quicker recovery post surgery. People who were in the positive thinking classification had lower levels of cortisol and showed improved immune function.
Laughter has been widely shown to improve our immune system and decrease our levels of stress hormone.
So What Can You Do to Improve Your Health Benefits and Positive Thinking Skills?
It’s important to understand that positive thinking doesn’t actually refer to just thinking positive thoughts. That’s one of the biggest misconception of the descriptive term positive thinking. Positive thinking is about deeply instilled behavioural patterns, subconscious beliefs, ways of reacting to situations and proactive habits such as always seeking solutions.
In relation to health benefits and positive thinking, you can’t just decide to think thoughts like, I’ll be fine, and expect to see a result. Just as you can’t intentionally switch on your sympathetic nervous system, you also can’t trick the body’s healing mechanisms into working by thinking superficial thoughts.
What you can do is start to be more conscious of your own behavioural patterns. Be aware when you react to situations, and start to nurture a positive attitude by following the steps below.
To maximise your health benefits and positive thinking skills you need to raise your vibrations. Some ways to do this are . . .
- Start to be aware of your thoughts and your reactions.
- When you hear your negative voice, put forward the opposite argument too.
- Start to develop your positive attitude – to search for solutions instead of problems. (Dedicate time to this as a long term project, it doesn’t change overnight.)
- Practise being optimistic rather than pessimistic. Whenever you assess a situation and find yourself being pessimistic, give yourself the opposite choice and present the optimistic side to the situation as well. It will take practice to get more and more optimistic so keep at it.
- Choose activities to include into your life which lift up your spirit and make you feel good.
- Try and increase how often you laugh.
- Find ways which you can help others as helping other people has been shown to make you feel good.
- Practise gratitude for all the good things in your life. The more you practise the easier it becomes.
- Make the decision to become a positive, optimistic thinker and feel the results.
If you have experienced the link between health benefits and positive thinking please leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you.