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Be Mindful for Optimal Mental and Physical Health

Updated on September 5, 2012
Sunrise behind Mt.Baker by CatSimmons
Sunrise behind Mt.Baker by CatSimmons

One of the key influences on human health is our inner emotional landscape. This area is still not well understood, but it is known that our thoughts directly cause the release of chemicals, hormones for example, into our bloodstream and these subsequently affect the functioning of our organs. In this context stress can play a very significant role in disease and can result in heart disease, mental illness and even some forms of cancer to name but a few.

The interesting point is that we can have some control over the chemicals we release into our bodies by developing self-awareness. This is often called mindfulness, and allows us to moderate our thoughts, and fill our minds with positive affirmations that can literally change the functioning of our whole bodies. Ultimately, we need to understand that although there are so many aspects of our lives that we cannot control we can actually choose what to think and our reactions to situations – with practice. This also includes taking time to rest and sleep, so that we give ourselves chance to re-charge.

Another technique that has been practised for centuries is meditation. Those who have mastered this, are able to observe their thoughts without reaction, and therefore reduce or eliminate production of adverse chemicals in their bodies. This technique also invokes the “relaxation response” which effectively gives us a feeling of safety and security, bringing an inner calmness. Meditation does not actually require sitting on the floor “cross-legged” and can even be done while cleaning or painting a wall for example. All that is required is an internal space to be cleared of distractions even for a few moments.

It has also been shown that even taking time to get outside and enjoy a natural environment has positive effects on well-being. Honouring our connection to the natural world gives us a fresh vantage point and a better perspective on issues that may otherwise overwhelm us.

So next time you start to react emotionally, take a deep breath and count to ten. Relax your shoulders and remind yourself that it really is “all in your mind”.

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    • catsimmons profile image
      Author

      Catherine Simmons 6 years ago from Mission BC Canada

      watch this space ;-)

    • MicheleLynn profile image

      MicheleLynn 6 years ago from Wilmington , NC

      i didn't know that. I wonder why that is??? i'd love to read more about it!

    • catsimmons profile image
      Author

      Catherine Simmons 6 years ago from Mission BC Canada

      it's actually easier to think negative thoughts than positive thoughts, just because of the way our brains are wired...maybe I'll create a hub about that sometime :-)

    • MicheleLynn profile image

      MicheleLynn 6 years ago from Wilmington , NC

      super interesting! I always promoted positive self talk to clients i had who suffered eating disorders and it is a difficult task, but I truly find that it makes a difference. As if it paves a way in the brain to think more positively as opposed to constantly allowing our thoughts to go into a negative space. eventually those paths become accustomed to the positive thinking areas of our mind. voting up and interesting :)

    • catsimmons profile image
      Author

      Catherine Simmons 6 years ago from Mission BC Canada

      Thanks Phil, glad you are now having a positive experience :-)

    • Phil Plasma profile image

      Phil Plasma 6 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

      Great advice - we could all benefit from some positive internal thoughts. I used to have a very negative mantra about my job but then it dawned on me that I wasn't enjoying my job most likely because of the mantra. I changed it and things got much better.

      Voted up, useful and interesting, terrific first hub.

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