If you want to maximize your health, realize that the mind-body relationship is real and potent. A very basic example that some may have noticed before is the difference in the amount and odor of sweat when you are stressed versus when you are not stressed. This is no coincidence. According to Pilar Gerasimo on experiencelife.com, the emotions we experience on a daily basis trigger the release of information-containing molecules known as peptides that link up with receptors throughout the body to deliver messages that directly impact our physiology, which is the way a bodily part functions. The power we hold over our physical bodies is simply astounding. We all have the power to heal through positive thinking. Research has shown that breast cancer survivors who practice mindfulness meditation maintain the length of their telomeres – the caps at the end of each strand of DNA that protect our chromosomes – while they shorten in survivors who do not meditate. It is also widely known that cancer patients with positive outlooks have higher chances of survival than those who take on a defeatist attitude. If you want to heal, you can, you just have to believe it.
Notable physiological changes have been noted in people with depression. It is known that it can weaken your immune system as well as cause various aches and pains. More severe, depression causes blood vessels to constrict, which, in turn, leads to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Now, if you’re suffering from depression, you may be wondering, “what can I do?”. The solution is simple: MOVE. Go for a run, go to the gym, use physiology to your advantage to create the positive energy and emotions to dig yourself out of the hole. Movement is medicine for the body and the soul. The mind-body relationship works both ways; Not only can our emotions impact our physiology, but our physiology can impact our emotions. The script can be flipped. It is known that exercising is one of the best treatments for depression. Don’t feel like exercising? Even doing something as simple as smiling inspires feelings of happiness. Make a conscious effort to wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile. Additionally, the way you move during the course of a day impacts how you feel. Our motions are a guide to our emotions. As Tony Robbins, one of the nation’s leading psychologists, suggests in his book Awaken the Giant Within, we should “create patterns of movement that create confidence, a sense of strength, flexibility, a sense of personal power, and fun.” Ask yourself, “in order to feel this way, how would I walk, talk, and breathe?”
The mind-body relationship and the biochemistry involved is a crazy dancing act. The door swings both ways in terms of emotions and physiology. We all have the power to take control of our lives. We can control how we feel at all times by taking advantage of our own physiology, or, vice versa; we can control our physiology through our emotions. Realize also that you are the source of your emotions and can control them at any time. So don’t worry, be happy, and harness this great power we have been given.
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Onward and upward,
Jordan Paris, NASM CPT