Research suggests that our negative thoughts and emotions can make us sick and even affect our lifespans. Aside from having positive and happy thoughts for the rest of their lives, what is a person to do?
There is light at the end of the tunnel for all the negative Nancies out there: simply changing your thoughts and perspectives is the first step to improving your overall health.
Preventing disease and then healing disease requires approaching the challenge from three different aspects — from the physical, spiritual and emotional. There’s a large variety of mind-body approaches that can help you deal with your emotions and develop inner peace and physical wellness.
To avoid the buildup of harmful thoughts and emotions you need to be conscious of your daily thoughts. By paying attention you can identify harmful emotions as they come about, process them and choose the correct response. One effective way to express your feelings is to talk about them with a friend or therapist or even journal them.
By eliminating negative thinking, we can actually improve our brains. Replacing negative thinking with positive thinking is training your brain to respond to positive thoughts. Thinking positive thoughts creates pleasure in the brain, which is a reward. Once we feel that pleasure we want more of it, so feed your brain positive thoughts.
How do you feed your brain positive thoughts? Unlike negative emotions that we can hold onto, positive emotions actually help rid the effects of negative emotions in the body. Positive emotions don’t get stuck in our bodies, but it is believed that they trigger cellular changes that improve the function of the body. You need to focus on the things that you are grateful for in your life. Try not to obsess about things that lead to negative thoughts, problems like work or home life, etc. Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to hide from issues or pretend to be happy when you feel stressed or upset. It’s extremely important to talk about those negative feelings, but we must focus on the positive things in our life too. There is research out there that shows having a positive outlook can actually improve your quality of life. But in order to improve your quality of life, you need to find a way to let go of things that cause you unwanted stress and you must make time for things you enjoy.
Here are a few practical strategies you can use to help alleviate negative thoughts and emotions:
You need to identify what’s causing your stress. When you begin to feel stressed, write down what caused it. Journal how you felt at that moment, your thoughts and your mood. You have to monitor your emotions throughout the day. Once you better realize what’s bothering you, you can make a plan for addressing it.
Positive relationships. We have all been in toxic relationships. All they do is bring stress, but healthy relationships can act as stress buffers. Reach out to friends and family and talk to them. People who you have a healthy relationship with may be able to offer support, useful ideas or just a fresh perspective as you begin to tackle whatever is causing your stress.
Walk away and calm down when you’re angry. Before you attack and react, take time to gather yourself and regroup. Take a little walk, count to 10 and gather your thoughts and reconsider the problem from a different angle.
Keep moving. Exercise, even walking, increases the production of endorphins, your body’s natural mood-booster. Committing to some type of exercise, even low impact things like walking, can make a big difference in reducing stress levels.
Give your mind a break. Stress keeps more than 40 percent of adults awake at night thinking about stressful things. Research has shown that activities like yoga and different types of relaxation techniques or exercises not only help reduce stress but also boost immune functioning. To help get a good night’s sleep, eliminate or cut back on caffeine, don’t watch the news or read the paper right before bed, remove electronics from your bedroom and go to bed at a consistent time each night.
Journal. Keeping a record in a personal journal when facing negative thoughts can help you to identify and defeat these attitudes. It is also extremely important to journal positive thoughts so that when things are tough, you can see how blessed you really are.
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Dr. Wayne M. Fichter Jr. is a chiropractor at Natural Spine Solutions. The business is located at 3913 Schreiber Way in Coeur d’Alene, 208-966-4425.