Are Your Thoughts Hurting Your Health?
Your thoughts are quite powerful, with the ability to affect your health and well-being for bette...
Your thoughts are quite powerful, with the ability to affect your health and well-being for better or worse. Just as the power of positive thinking can be used to improve health, fitness and even overall happiness, negative thoughts, and even some subconscious ensuing actions, are linked to all types of health problems.
The most important thing to do is to recognize those thoughts and actions, and to be aware of their potential impact. Just by increasing our awareness, we can choose to adjust those thoughts and automatic responses to enjoy better health and happiness.
Surrounding ourselves with information and people that match our beliefs
As human beings, we often choose friends who have our same beliefs and automatically look for information that matches those beliefs as well. What happens then, is that we often subconsciously ignore anything that conflicts with our beliefs and threatens our view of the world, but this can be harmful, particularly if it negatively impacts the ability to improve our health and well-being.
For example, if you are obese and don’t believe that your health is at risk, you may surround yourself with other people who feel the same way. You may tend to focus on information that encourages you to remain obese rather than to seek out information that spells out the benefits of weight loss.
In this case, it would be harmful to continue to perpetuate those beliefs, but because “everyone else” you know is doing the same thing, you just can’t see it. It’s called “confirmation bias.”
Believing memories over fact
In the 1980s, a war was waged against fat. It became low-fat this and no-fat that, with everyone encouraged to eat as little as possible when it came to foods that contain fat. If you were growing up, or already an adult during this time, this message probably stuck with you.
Even if you read scientific studies today that show healthy fats are actually good for your body and can help boost weight loss, it may be tough for your brain to actually comprehend that. You may have to force yourself to make the better choice until it becomes a habit.
Worrying is like a rocking chair. While it gives you something to do, it gets you nowhere, except perhaps to worse health. Constant worrisome thoughts can weaken the immune system resulting in all types of health problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure and digestive disorders.
Think about it this way, when you’re scared, for example, you can feel your heart begin to race, an obvious indication that your thoughts and your body are interconnected.
A negative attitude
Negative attitudes as well as feelings of hopelessness and despair can cause chronic stress that is harmful to the body’s hormone balance. It also depletes brain chemicals that are needed for feelings of happiness in addition to negatively impacting the immune system.
Chronic stress has been shown to decrease life span and speed the aging process as well as result in a wide range of health conditions like cardiovascular disease, irritable bowel syndrome, infections, and more.
While negative thoughts can harm the body, the opposite is also true in that positive thoughts can promote healing. Regular meditation, for example, has been shown to reduce stress, promote relaxation, better sleep and an overall sense of well-being in addition to lowering the heart rate and decreasing cortisol levels.
So, think about your thoughts, and commit to an improved, healthier thought life. Your body, and the people around you, will be grateful.