How your thoughts affect your health

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Personal/Fitness Training Blog

Your thoughts and emotions can have a big impact on your health. Emotions which are easily experienced as well as expressed – with no judgment or attachment – tend to flow fluidly without having an impact on our health. Conversely, emotions that are repressed (especially fearful or negative ones) can deplete our mental energy, which negatively affects the body.  This could result in health problems. It’s important that we recognise our thoughts and emotions. In addition, we need to be aware of the effect they have – not only on other thoughts that we may have also on our bodies, behaviour as well as relationships.

Individuals who have good emotional health are conscious of their thoughts, feelings as well as behaviours. They have learned ways which are healthy in order to cope with the stress as well as problems that are a part of everyday life. They feel good about themselves and have strong relationships.

What can cause stress?

A lot of things which happen in your life have the possibility of disrupting your emotional health. These things can lead to powerful feelings of sadness, stress or – alternatively – anxiety.  Good or wanted changes can be as traumatic as unwanted changes. These stress-causing changes include:

  • Being retrenched,
  • Having a child leave or come back home,
  • Grappling with the death of a loved one,
  • Getting divorced or married,
  • Suffering an illness or an injury,
  • Achieving a job promotion,
  • Experiencing money problems,
  • Moving to a new home, and
  • Having a baby or adopting one.

Your body reacts to the way you think, feel as well as act. This is a kind of “mind/body connection”. At a time when you are stressed, anxious or – alternatively  – upset, your body reacts in a way that may tell you that something isn’t right. For example, it is possible that you may develop high blood pressure or a stomach ulcer after a particularly stressful event, such as the death of a loved one.

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The mind/body connection explained

The mind-body connection can happen on a physical as well as a chemical level. The brain is the hardware that permits you to experience mental states. These states are labelled the “mind” and encompasses mental states including thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, and emotions.

It is possible for different mental states to positively or negatively affect biological functioning. This occurs as the nervous, endocrine, and immune systems have a common chemical language. This permits constant communication between the mind and body through messengers such as hormones as well as neurotransmitters. For example:

  • Neurological pathways link parts of the brain – which process emotions – with the spinal cord, muscles, cardiovascular system as well as digestive tract. This connection allows major life events, stressors, or emotions to activate physical symptoms.

Exercise and thoughts

Exercise is heavily affected by our thoughts, feelings as well as beliefs. Research promotes exercise as a way of reducing your risk of disease and living a longer as well as healthier life. One study looked into if your beliefs about how much you exercise impact longevity. The researchers found that those who perceived themselves as less active were 71% more likely to die in the 21-year follow-up period than their peers, even after they adjusted for the actual amount of physical activity each person performed.

In an era of exercise concerns, where many people struggle to get a sufficient amount of exercise, this study offers a helpful proposition: By changing your mindset to become less critical, more inclusive and more positive, you may have the power to improve your health. Nevertheless, if you’re one of those people who absolutely LOVE exercising and can’t get enough of it, you should really consider becoming a personal trainer.

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