Is It All In Your Head?

By Janice B Gaines BS LMT

You bet it is!   The path to a peaceful, healthy and happy life comes from the capacity to channel your thoughts in a positive direction. Our body and mind are intimately connected to each other; your thoughts affect your physical health.

I know I have addressed this subject before, but it is so significant that I want to attempt to present it different way.

Biologically our brains produce chemicals, called neurotransmitters that regulate mood, emotions and even how we experience pain.  Neurotransmitters communicate information throughout the whole body. The transmitted message goes from one nerve cell called neurons to another across the synapse. The health and balance of these (about 50 of them have been identified) neurotransmitters are very important. Statistically it is estimated about 80% of Americans are running at a suboptimal level.  A neurotransmitter imbalance can cause Depression, anxiety, insomnia, irritable  bowel, eating disorders, obsession, compulsions, Seasonal Affective Disorder, Fibromyalgia, headaches as well as a host other health issues.

Why is our society experiencing these symptoms at such alarming rates? Chronic stress, poor dietary choices, (which I will address in my next article), toxic exposure such as industrial work, pollution and drug use are affecters. Also genetic predisposition, however whether we have good genes or bad new research from Yale University found that genes contribute only 25% to the health of your life. The last major influence of neurotransmitter imbalance is thought patterns.

Mens sana in corpore sano (a healthy mind in a healthy body) is a famous Latin quotation, often translated as "A sound mind in a sound body." Attitude and train of thoughts have a key role in the balance of our brain’s chemicals.

A strong and hearty mind is what we all wish for. Life is intended to be positive, despite the difficulties that come along. The powers of our mind determine our future.  Attitude drives that power. The utmost discovery we can make in our lives is when we realize we can alter our life’s experience by altering our attitude. It’s something that you can put into action immediately. It’s a choice you a can make over and over again.

While we may not be able to control all that happens to us, we can control what happens inside us. -- Benjamin Franklin, 84

Attitude or thoughts cannot be changed overnight. We have habits and patterns that we have to catch in action. So to make this change you have to keep in mind (pun intended) and remind yourself of your “new” way of thinking of things. Here are some exercises that I like. Remember this isn’t something you do one time only.  As the Nike phrase goes “there is no finish line”. This focus and discipline is like physical exercise, diet and flossing!

1.      Make use of positive words in your conversations, try not to use negative words or perpetuate negative thoughts and conversations. Don’t spread negativity there is enough of it in the world as it is!

2.      Replace negative feelings with positive thinking. Inspire yourself!

3.       Fear is often the key factor behind our negative feelings but often it’s just “smoke and mirrors”. Don’t let it hold you back. What if you do fail? So what?

I have become my own version of an optimist. If I can't make it through one door, I'll go through another door--or I'll make a door. Something terrific will come no matter how dark the present. -- Joan Rivers, 77

4.      Surround yourself with positive, happy and optimistic people. If you need to talk to someone, pick one of the happy ones. It’s contagious!

5.      Visualize a positive outcome. Aim for the best outcome and your actions will likely follow.

An optimist is someone who goes after Moby Dick in a rowboat and takes the tartar sauce with him. -- Zig Ziglar, 80

6.      Set backs are part of life; they are part of the journey, valleys as well as peaks. Do not to judge setbacks too hard, just ride them out and take care of yourself. Do something for someone else that needs help I guarantee that will make you feel better!!!

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.  If you want to be happy, practice compassion.  ~Dalai Lama