This will be the FINAL blog in the series that started with “Living Healthy & Happy…. Should Be Simple”… If you have not yet read that one, start there and read through all of the others (5 blogs total), covering the Magnificent Seven Lifestyle Strategy.
THINK RIGHT and TALK RIGHT
“You are what you think. All that you are arises from your thoughts. With your thoughts you make your world.”
The final two habits for the Magnificent Lifestyle Strategy to live a healthy & happy lifestyle are reflected in the quote above.
Our mind is constantly thinking about all sorts of things – annoying relationships, hilarious memories, stressful deadlines, etc. There’s a lot of brain electricity going on in there, like a machine with a switch that is always turned on. This constant background stream of thoughts is called your automatic thoughts and self-talk.
Generally speaking, we tend to think of our bodies and minds as two distinct systems and believe they function, for the most part, independently, it turns out they are much more entwined than we might assume. Researchers are continually finding evidence that the brain has a distinct power to manipulate the body’s physiology. Our thoughts affect neurotransmitters, the chemical messengers that allow the brain to communicate with different parts of itself and the nervous system. Neurotransmitters control virtually all of the body’s functions, from feeling happy to modulating hormones, to dealing with stress (perceived and/or real). Therefore, our thoughts influence our bodies directly because the body interprets the messages coming from the brain to prepare us for whatever is expected.
The body is multilingual. The immune, endocrine, and neurochemical systems are all speaking to each other in many cellular languages from chemical to energetic. Notably, cells that are thought to be brain, endocrine, or immune cells all contain all of the brain and immune-peptides creating the opportunity for trillions of communications dictated by chemical affinity for a receptor.
Chronic stress from negative attitudes and feelings of helplessness and hopelessness can upset the body’s hormone balance and deplete the brain chemicals required for feelings of happiness, as well as have a damaging impact on the immune system. New scientific understandings have also identified the process by which chronic stress can actually decrease our lifespan by shortening our telomeres (the “end caps” of our DNA strands, which play a big role in aging). And poorly managed or repressed anger (hostility) is also related to a slew of health conditions, such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease, digestive disorders, and infection.
So if all of this is true, wouldn’t it be prudent to become aware of the ongoing chatter that is occurring in your brain, and make an effort to shift to a more positive and “helpful” internal dialogue? Here are some suggestions to get you started creating the thoughts that you want and in effect the physiology in the body to support a happy healthier you:
#1 Become aware of your inner dialogue, and when you find it chattering negatively, make the effort to stop it, and turn it around or challenge it. A great method is to say “That is not helpful. Cancel Cancel” each time you find yourself saying something negative, whether in the mind or verbally. At first, you may be amazed at how often you are talking negatively about and to yourself. This process will get easier with persistence.
#2 Affirmations and creating a positive script of your desired goal(s) is another awesome tool to spin the subconscious beliefs that can hijack your mind. Start with short, believable and focused statements about what you want and how it makes you feel to reach your intention. “Energy goes where your attention flows”. At first you may feel skeptical or silly but when you habitually create a positive story in your mind, you start to internalize your goals and dreams as if they are something you already have achieved.
#3 Confront fears and stay present if you find yourself daunted by the many things you need to do in order to achieve your goal(s). Concentrate on the present moment and what step(s) you can take right now that will attribute to a better tomorrow. A mantra I recently heard in a movie about boxing said it perfect, “One step. One punch. One round, at a time!…” Fear is often what holds you back from your success and can get your mind caught up in an endless stream of worry. Change your mindset from a future of anxiety one, to one that is focused on the more manageable inner talk on the NOW. What can I do right now?
#4 Replace negative influences and focus on gratitude. It is important to identify external negative factors in your life which may be holding your thoughts hostage. It’s been claimed, “You are an average of the five people you spend the most time with”. These influences can elevate you as much as bring you down. So it is important to limit your exposure to “toxic” people, places and things. Surround yourself with thoughts and actions that will inspire and empower you to reach your highest potential. Focus on enjoyable moments and things in your life and give gratitude for all the little things you can in your day to day experiences. Choose to consciously fill your mind with positive thoughts and images this will assist your self-talk to be in alignment with one of JOY…and ultimately that is TRULY what we are all after, isn’t it?
Those who succeed possess a certain type of mind. It is true that they have ambition, vision and driving power, capacity for work, and a strong will. Also they never spare themselves, and, in addition, they seize each opportunity when it comes. But their principal cause of success is their type of thinking. They think in terms of success and achievement, abundance and prosperity. The life tends, in course of time, to express the type of thoughts habitually dwelt upon. If we think consistently in terms of success and prosperity, then, sooner or later, we express these things to a greater or lesser degree in our life.
One way to understand what’s going on in your life is to take an inventory of your thoughts. What are you thinking about? When you consider this, you’ll find there’s a strong connection between your thoughts and your life.
“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”
― Abraham Lincoln