It is important to remember that the mind and body are inseparably connected, and you cannot affect one without affecting the other.
So make sure to do what is necessary to maintain a positive attitude and good physical health. The time and effort you put into it will pay you back in spades.
When an individual feels secure, loved, and passionate, the hormones released by the brain and body can have a healing effect on the body.
That effect is sometimes strong enough to help a person recover from injury and disease where previously they could not. Therefore, in a very literal way, laughter, love, and other forms of enjoyment can actually be a very potent form of medicine.
Other physical benefits of positive mental states include:
- Increased energy (that lasts even longer than the effects of cortisol)
- Better sleep
- Better sexual performance
- Better weight control
- Reduced sensation of pain
- Better focus and concentration
- Better ability to cope with stress and how you perceive stress
- Reducing risks for chronic disease and nervous system disorders
When your mind perceives a stressful situation it causes the body to release a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol has a few different effects on the body. In the short term, it causes the digestion of fat, protein, and bone tissue to increase the amount of energy available to the body. This also causes a slight increase in blood sugar levels, causing a heightened sense of energy and awareness.
This is highly beneficial whenever you have a strict deadline to meet, or when you are running towards the in-zone to make the game-winning touchdown. However, over time this process can lead to a depletion of bodily resources, causing a sense of exhaustion.
It can also be damaging to the health as the continual breakdown of bone and protein can cause weakened muscles and bones, leading to increased physical pain and risk of injury. Suddenly the increased performance and endurance an individual enjoyed previously now turns into chronic exhaustion and lack of motivation.
If the effect continues even longer, or if the perceived stress is too intense, it can even cause irregularity in the levels of other hormones. The change in hormone levels throws off other physical process and can cause people to suddenly gain weight and have difficulty sleeping.
It can also cause women to stop menstruating and become infertile. It also reduces the function of the immune system, leading to increased frequency and duration of common illnesses.
Typically, when stress has reached this kind of severity it becomes anxiety, and if left untreated, can turn into depression, which has even more adverse effects on the body.
So overall, it definitely pays to do what is necessary to maintain your emotional and mental health in good working condition.
In order to keep your mind and body in elite performance condition, here are a few regular habits that can help.
- Be careful of your work schedule. It might not be worth it to work late for several weeks in a row if afterwards you are going to suffer from decreased productivity for an equal amount of time.
- Pulling an all-nighter to study for a final exam might have the downside of being so mentally depleted afterwards that you can't even remember what it was that you studied. Many students have studied for weeks on end, pushing themselves to the limits only to get to the test and pass out from exhaustion.
- Taking some time to relax at the end of the it day can work wonders.
- Watching an episode of television, playing with the kids, chatting with a spouse, getting some exercise, and playing a game are all good options. This will help terminate the stress cycle at the end of the day, preventing the effects of chronically high cortisol levels.
- Make sure to take some time away each year as well, and fill your weeks and months with periods of time to participate in your favorite hobbies.
- Giving service to your community or to someone in need is a powerful way to eliminate the effects of negative emotions. Helping and serving others is a natural tonic that increases the amount of love, gratitude, and hope that we feel, and is well worth the investment of time it takes to do.
- Working on confidence levels and being self-secure can have far-reaching implications in all facets of your life.
- Become a positive person!
- Promote positive emotions; practice gratitude, meditation and journaling which can help you reach a calm state of mind no matter what the day brings.