AN ENDLESS DIET OF ANXIETY AND GUILT

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Are you aware of your mind/body connection?
What you feed you mind is as important to your health as what you feed your body.  Your mind and body are inextricably linked. Your thoughts and emotions have a profound effect on your physical health.  Chronic states of negative emotions have serious health consequences.
Psycho-neuro-immunology is a science devoted to studying the communication between mind and body. Its research has revealed how thoughts and emotions elicit responses from the nervous, immune, and endocrine (hormone) systems of your body. 
What is the body’s response to negative emotions?
Anxiety & Fear
Anxiety and fear trigger the adrenal gland to release adrenaline and noradrenalin into the body.  If the threat is continues the hormone cortisol will also be release.  These chemicals increase the heart rate, raise blood pressure, move blood flow from the body’s periphery to its core, and suppress the immune function all in an effort to devote all available resources to dealing with the immediate threat.  This is an important and necessary survival mechanism.  However, the body is not designed to stay in this heightened state indefinitely and it cannot distinguish between real and imagined threats.  Incessant worrying is an example of an imagined threat causing stress.  If stress is chronic these chemical reactions are very damaging to the body.
Guilt & Shame
Studies have proven the emotions of shame and guilt release the inflammatory inducing chemicals cytokine and cortisol. Chronic release of these chemicals can negatively affect the immune system.
Suppression of your immune system is the inevitable result of allowing these negative emotions to pervade your thoughts.  If it continues unabated the likelihood of autoimmune illnesses increases dramatically.  An autoimmune illness occurs when the immune system malfunctions and begins attacking healthy cells.  Autoimmune diseases include cancer, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, and celiac disease.  Many other common ailments have an autoimmune component.
  
 
What is the body’s response to positive emotions?
Joy & Laughter
In contrast to the negative emotions, laughter has been shown to reduce cortisol levels and increase T-cells, improving immune function.  Besides improved immune function, studies have also shown laughter to significantly reduce pain, improve circulation, lower blood pressure, heart rate, and stomach acidity.
Compassion and empathy also have measurable positive effects, including improved immune response, decreased heart rate, and decreased blood pressure.
 
The link between the mind and the body is clear.  You experience this yourself on a daily basis.  Think about how your body feels when you are filled with eager anticipation.  How about when faced with a task you dread/  
How can you improve your health and healing by working with your thoughts and emotions?
Self-talk
Just as your body utilizes survival mechanisms, so does your mind.  One strategy your mind uses is to repeat potentially threatening scenarios in your mind.  This is a survival mechanism to increases your awareness and avoidance of these situations.  
This endless conversation that goes on in your head is called self-talk.  The stories you tell yourself over and over.  Often these stories can be quite negative, such as “I’m not good enough”, or “I should have done better”.  Unfortunately the mind does not perform any “reality check” on these thoughts.  These negative emotions of anxiety and guilt produce measurable negative effects on your body. 
To change these stories you must first become aware of the self-talk by becoming aware of your emotions.  If you’re not a naturally introspective person you may need to schedule time to check-in with yourself and ask, “What emotion am I currently feeling, am I happy or angry, am I anxious or relaxed?”  You may be resistant to admitting your real emotion.  At times we all have unpleasant emotions we’re not proud of.  Once you identify the emotion, try to determine what triggered it.  Then challenge the self-talk.  Ask yourself, “Do I really believe these thoughts?” and “What are the real facts?”.  Stop allowing your mind to run un-challenged. 
You cannot change this self-talk overnight. It will take continued practice.  As you become better at it you will feel the difference in your physical health. 
The mind/body connection is a fascinating topic and has profound implications for your health.  If you’re interested in further guidance on improving your health and healing by working with your mind/body connection, I strongly recommend the audio book “The Mind-Body Code: How the Mind Wounds and Heals the Body” by Mario Martinez.


Written by Peter Wright
Peter Wright, NTP, CGP

Peter Wright, NTP, CGP

I’m on a mission to help you prevent and reverse chronic illness by utilizing nutrition to restore your body’s natural balance.

Contact me directly for a free 30 minute consultation.
Peter Wright, NTP, CGP

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