Stuck in a rut? Mind got the better of you? Find ways to improve your health, life and happiness with a positive mind.
Most ancient healing practices, such as Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic medicine, emphasize the important links between mind and body. Western medical views, however, have been shaped by systems of thought that have emphasized the opposite - that the mind and body are separate. This is not the view taken by Deepak Chopra, acknowledged as one of the world's greatest leaders in the field of mind-body medicine. He, among many other pioneers in philosophy, believes our thoughts, feelings, and beliefs create the biochemistry of our body and shape our health and wellbeing. Furthermore, he states core beliefs and painful memories can contribute to emotional distress and physical illness.
Now while phrases such as "mind over matter" and "you are what you think" have been around for years, only recently have scientists found solid evidence that mind-body techniques actually do combat disease and promote health.
Researchers have found that stress hormones are associated with particular unhealthy emotions. These hormones affect systems and organs throughout the body. For example, stress related to hostility and anxiety can result in disruptions in heart and immune function. Similarly, depression and distress may diminish the body's natural capacity to heal. In contrast, emotional expression that encourages openness and active coping with problems helps stabilize the immune system.
Certain emotions have been linked to disease. For example, hostile attitudes may increase your risk for coronary heart disease, obesity (particularly having excess fat around the waist), insulin resistance (which can lead to diabetes), and abnormal cholesterol (specifically, high triglycerides and low levels of high density lipoprotein or HDL -- the good kind of cholesterol).
Generally, research shows that being stressed and having negative emotions is unhealthy. One study found that unconsciously being defensive or stifling feelings resulted in serious medical consequences, such as high blood pressure. High blood pressure is also associated with feelings of hopelessness. How a person processes emotions also affects how long they may survive a chronic illness.
The goal of mind-body techniques is to activate the relaxation response and reduce the stress response. When you are relaxed, the levels of hormones related to stress are reduced and your immune system is more efficient. High levels of stress hormones circulating in the body may actually prove to increase one's susceptibility to infection as well.
So in order to keep your health and wellbeing in a state of complete balance, maybe its time to do an emotional detox and take a closer look at how your beliefs are impacting your life.