Be Mindful for Optimal Mental and Physical Health
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”.
Some useful links
- Mindfulness Meditation
Begin seeing the world you actually have, not the one you think you are missing. Jon Kabat-Zinn’s program Mindfulness Meditation enriches your life. FREE audio clip…
- Relaxation Techniques for Stress Relief: Finding the Relaxation Exercises that Work for You
Learn how to relieve stress and boost your mood with powerful relaxation techniques. This article helps you evaluate your own response to stress and gives step by step instructions for simple meditation.
- Emotional Freedom Techniques explained
How to use the body mind interface to heal yourself.
This is a great starter for mindfulness
Rethinking old thought patterns
A more scientific view of the effects of thought on health
How out thoughts change our biology.
Introduction to Emotional Freedom Techniques