Can your thoughts actually have a negative effect your health? Science says yes. Through the study of psychoneuroimmunology science helps us to see just how devastating negative thoughts and persistent stress will undeniably have on your health. From the reduction of white blood cells to the damage that can take place to your DNA strands. The effect that negative emotions can have on you physically can be devastating.
For example, take a look at what happens when your brain senses fear. A message goes to the amygdala that induces the fight or flight, conserve or withdrawal response in the brain. When this happens the body gets flushed with adrenalin and glucocorticoids. As a result the body can respond quickly, move fast, and flee from or protect itself from danger. This is a good thing-in the moment. The interesting thing is that the brain cannot distinguish from real or perceived danger. It will react the same way if you are nervous because you need to stand in front of a room of people and make a presentation.
According to Robert Sapolsky, a neuroendocrinology from Stanford University, this constant action in your body can have a devastating effect on your physical health. Even leading to premature aging of the brain.
Other researchers, like Elizabeth Blackburn, a biologist from San Rafael, CA has noted that extreme prolonged stress can greatly increase the aging and deteriorating of the telomeres that protect your DNA. This can cause for each year of chronic stress to equal 6 years of cell aging. Imagine that! This means that if you are under 10 years of high stress that produces negative thoughts and feelings your cells can actually age up to 60 years!
Hopefully this is enough evidence to encourage you to make active changes in your life. Here are some tips to get going in the right direction.
- Take stock of the things in your life that induce negative thinking and stress.
- Once you have identified them make a plan for reducing or getting rid of the source all together.
- For those things that can’t be removed design a plan for how to deal with them in a positive way.
- Join a support group or group with like-minded people who share similar circumstances, somewhere you can go to be understood and supported.
- Surround yourself with positive thoughts and things that make you smile.
- Take a break! Sometimes the greatest thing you can do to help you deal with stresses in your life is take some time to do something fun or relaxing to give you a recharge.
In the end, realize that maintaining a positive mindset is not just about making life more enjoyable, it’s also about making it last!
Julie “The Brain Lady” Anderson