Friday, July 22, 2011

What Are You Thinking

The mind has great influence over the body, and maladies often have their origin there.  ~Moliere
The Science of Being Well
Chapter 4 - What to Think (27:57)

Even though there are those who say we have no control over what we are thinking, in all actuality, we do have the ability and we must use it if we want to be healthy! What we choose to think about has a huge influence on how we feel and those feelings significantly impact our health.

The first step to better health  is to become aware of what we are thinking at any given time. Make an effort  to pay attention to the dialogue going on inside your head.  Become conscious of what you are thinking  throughout your day.  Begin right now.  What are you thinking in this moment? 

Most of us have a running monologue in our heads.  Whether we are consciously aware of  it or not, it is playing in the background and affects everything we do. 
If the self-talk is negative, and unfortunately, it has been reported that seventy percent of all thoughts are negative, these redundant, negative thoughts become the energy patterns of disease that, when continuously held in our mental body,  may manifest as disease.  
Take control.  Use your inner thoughts to talk to yourself in a positive manner, as frequently as you can, in order to create a healthy body.  Take action to increase your well-being.
We can make a positive impact on our well-being by beginning our day with gratitude. We can appreciate the opportunities a new day brings and embrace the possibilities that are available.  We can set the tone for our day by deliberately intending it to flow with ease and joy.  Expect miracles; they really are everywhere!
There are many actions we can take to improve our mood and our ability to keep our thoughts toward the positive.  Here are some of my favorites. 

1.  Set aside short spans of time to monitor your thoughts, quickly replacing any negative ones with a positively reframed statement. When I catch myself in a negative thought, I like to say "Cancel, Cancel, Cancel" and then state the positive revision.  

2.  Spend some time outdoors.  Spending time outdoors can make a dramatic difference in how we feel.  Sunlight stimulates the brain to produce serotonin and just 10-15 minutes a day can significantly improve our mood.   

3.  Stand up Straight.  Good posture makes you seem more tall and thin and reflects self confidence. It also affects our mood and our productivity in a positive way.  Standing or sitting tall makes us feel happier and smarter.  Good posture also keep our organs and muscles working optimally, which in turn, improves our overall well-being. 

4.  Engage in some type of activity.  Moderate activity releases endorphins. Endorphins work to help decrease stress, reduce anxiety and improve mood which are all good things when it comes to keeping our outlook positive.  All these good things can be had by jumping rope for just 30 seconds.  More good news: you needn’t jump fast -- even a slow skipping pace does the trick.

5.  Laugh or at least smile.  Laughter increases health. Even fake laughter is beneficial.  If you just can't bring yourself to laugh then at least smile... David Lewis, a psychologist and director of research at Mindlab International in Brighton, England, which conducted the study, says a warm smile can create a "halo" effect, helping us "feel more optimistic, more positive, and more motivated."

Our  well-being really is dependent on how we think and behave.

Someone with an erect posture and happy facial expressions evokes positive responses from the people around  them. These positive responses, in turn improve the mood of everyone around.  It is a cycle worth continuing!

When we take the time to monitor our thoughts and gain a measure of control over them, equanimity - maintaining inner peace –  becomes our constant state.  Training our thoughts toward health is the secret to a long, joyful life!

Tip of the Day:

Smiling is a great prescription for health.  Smile as much as possible and notice that things just appear better somehow.  Practice smiling frequently to get your facial muscles used to the physical act of smiling.  Go to the mirror and smile  a big, open, happy smile.   If you don't know how to smile, then try this:  
1)  Open your eyes as wide as you can - (try and get your eyebrows right up to you hair line) 
2)  Slightly open your mouth  
3)  Pull the corners of your mouth back to your ears (If you’re unsure pull them back with your fingers so you understand what it feels like and then try again without your fingers).   
4)  Repeat these steps about 50 times to get your facial muscles accustomed to smiling. 
If in our daily life we can smile, if we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone will profit from it. This is the most basic kind of peace work. ~
Thich Nhat Hanh 


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