These are questions that have been debated for decades. Some experts feel that your attitudes and beliefs have no bearing on whether or not you fall ill while others suggest that your mind has an amazing amount of power when it comes to your physical health. Who wins? Research is showing that it’s the latter.
The Mind/Body Connection
“Aside from eating breakfast, the biggest predictor of longevity is psychological resiliency – being able to roll with the punches that life throws at us,” says Mark Hyman, MD. Dr. Hyman goes on to say that although people generally think of the mind and body as two separate entities that share a connection, it’s more than that. They are one system that works together for the sake of the body.
One study published in The New England Journal of Medicine confirms that emotional distress has a huge impact on physical health. They studied nineteen people who suffered cardiac issues after they were involved in an unexpected emotionally upsetting situation. Their conclusion? Emotional stress can cause heart issues in otherwise healthy people.
Several studies have found similar results. Sheldon Cohen, PhD, David A. J. Tyrrell, MD and Andrew P. Smith, PhD conducted research on 394 healthy individuals by giving them nasal drips that contained a cold virus. They found that the people who perceived their lives to be stressful had a higher rate of infection.
How to Think Yourself Healthy
So, science has confirmed that your attitude and how you deal with stressors greatly affects how prone to illness you are. Therefore, if you want to stay healthy, it starts with getting yourself in the right mindset.
Here are some things you can do today that will keep you healthy tomorrow:
• Learn to live in the present. Let go of yesterday and don’t worry about what may or may not happen in the future. Deal with what is before you right this moment and you’ll have an easier time fighting off whatever virus is going around.
• Let go of the things you cannot control. If there is absolutely nothing you can do to change a circumstance, accept it and move on. You don’t have to like it, but you do have to understand that worrying about it isn’t going to change anything.
• Speak with positivity. As Pastor Joel Osteen says, “Whatever follows ‘I am’ is going to come looking for you.” Say to yourself, “I am healthy. I am strong.” Project positive health to the world and that is what will return to you.
• Focus on what you do have, not what you don’t. Instead of concentrating on where your life lacks, count your blessings for all that is right with you. Is your family healthy? Be thankful. Do you make enough money to pay the bills? Show gratitude. When you live with the attitude that you have many wonderful things in your life, it’s hard to be upset by what you don’t have.
• Engage in stress relief methods. If you’re feeling anxious and tense, find a way to release the negative energy. Try meditation. Get the cold and flu inviting thoughts and feelings out and let clean, refreshing thoughts in. Pamper yourself with a massage to relax your tense muscles. Do something frequently that you enjoy, taking your mind off whatever is bothering you.
• Surround yourself with positive, uplifting people. One of the best ways to be positive is to have positivity and happiness all around you. Choose to spend time with people that have motivating and inspiring dispositions. If someone is bringing you down or trying to drag you into their negativity, remove them from your world. If you can’t eliminate them completely, at a minimum limit the amount of time you spend with them.
Your mind is a powerful tool in your overall physical well-being. Keep yourself healthy by giving it the right mindset. What do you have to lose other than illness and disease?