Unlocking the Powerful Link Between Mindset and Health
The way your body responds is influenced by your positive or negative thoughts. Through techniques such as hypnosis, meditation, yoga, and medical trials, individuals have come to understand how their thoughts can impact their physical well-being.
We’ve all heard of clinical drug trials in which half of the patients were given medication and the other half a placebo. These clinical drug trials are a cornerstone of modern medicine, and their results are often considered the gold standard for determining the effectiveness of new treatments.
However, the use of placebos in these trials has shed light on the power of the mind-body connection. Patients who receive a placebo may still experience a significant improvement in their condition simply because they believe they are receiving an effective treatment.
This highlights the importance of treating the physical symptoms of a disease and addressing the patient’s mental and emotional state as a part of the healing process. This show just how significant a factor the mindset of these patients plays in their healing process.
In her book “Cure: A Journey into the Science of Mind over Body,” Jo Marchant, a scientist, journalist, and author, details how fake surgery had a positive impact on Bonnie Anderson, who had sustained a spinal fracture after a fall. Anderson participated in a clinical trial for a new surgical procedure called vertebroplasty, and Marchant highlights the placebo effect on the patient.
Anderson didn’t know she had been selected for the placebo group. She had undergone the same surgery as the patients in the non-placebo trial, the only difference being that cement hadn’t been injected into her spine.
After surgery, her symptoms had improved so much that she could play golf again. This clinical trial showed the measurable effect of mind over matter. Ms. Anderson’s belief that the surgical procedure would allow her to lead a normal life again tremendously affected her body.
It’s Not What You Say, But How You Say It
Jo Marchant also writes about how a clinician’s “bedside manners” impact a patient’s symptoms. There were different clinical trials in which a clinician who administered a placebo, treated different group participants differently.
In one trial, patients who were given placebo acupuncture from a kindhearted clinician felt a significant improvement in their symptoms. In contrast, those given the same placebo treatment from an uncaring clinician didn’t feel as much relief.
The two responses show how psychological factors triggered their body’s response mechanism.
Believing that you’re getting stronger, feeling less pain, no longer depressed, etc., and having conscious expectations about your health helps determine a positive outcome of your physical well-being.
Changing Your Mindset – The Game Changer
In the TED Talk “Change Your Mindset, Change The Game,” which was given by Assistant Professor of Psychology Dr. Alia Crum in Traverse City, Michigan, on February 5, 2017, she mentions a study conducted on 84 hotel housekeepers who had been split into two groups.
In her talk, she mentions one group of housekeepers who had listened to a short presentation and read a poster describing the benefits their work had on keeping their bodies physically fit.
After a few weeks, this group of women showed positive changes in their blood pressure, their mental attitude towards their job had improved, and they had lost both weight and body fat. Their health had improved even though their daily routine had stayed the same.
This study showed the connection between their positive attitude and their improved health. This can also be summed up by the famous line from author James Allen: “As a man thinketh.”
Your Body’s Negative Reaction To Stress
The negative effects that your mind signals to your body, whenever you feel scared, anxious, stressed out, or nervous, can be very debilitating.
Do you feel nervous knots in your stomach whenever you have to do something out of your comfort zone?
Maybe you have to give a presentation and feel uncomfortable speaking in front of a large crowd. This is an instance when you should summon your inner strength by using positive self-talk through meditation by repeating mantras.
What if you suddenly have a medical issue that requires you to spend a few days in the hospital? When you’re struggling to accept that a scary change in your life has thrown you for a loop, your body reacts negatively.
This is when your body’s cortisol level rises because it’s reacting to your thoughts, which are filled with anxiety. Cortisol and adrenaline are the stress hormones the body produces whenever it’s in a fight or flight mode, which prepare the body to either fight the stressor or retreat from it.
While this response can be beneficial in short bursts, prolonged exposure to stress can negatively affect the body. These effects can include physical symptoms such as headaches, muscle tension, and fatigue and mental symptoms such as anxiety and depression.
The negative effects of stress on the body can also contribute to the development of various health problems over time, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and chronic pain.
Stress also weakens the immune system, which makes it hard for the body to function properly. This often leads to the development of autoimmune diseases, cancer, and other illnesses.
Therefore, managing stress through healthy lifestyle habits, such as exercise, adequate sleep, and relaxation techniques like meditation or deep breathing exercises, is important.
Finding Different Ways To Overcome Challenges
Worrying about your health issues will only lead you down the negative rabbit hole of helplessness. Focus on maintaining a positive attitude. This will help make dealing with your health issues much easier.
You can overcome challenging circumstances if you operate from a growth mindset. Try to accept and make peace with the situation, and plan to find helpful ways to make yourself more resilient.
Try talking to a friend or associate who has experienced a similar challenge and comes out of it unscathed. Their story could lead to discovering solutions you hadn’t thought of yet. This will add to your mental arsenal.
Learn to love your body and use visualization techniques by focusing on what you would like to accomplish. Visualize what your body will look like when you are healthier and stronger.
Deep breathing exercises will lower your adrenaline and cortisol levels and raise dopamine and oxytocin, the feel-good hormones. Feeling good will help you gain a better perspective of the situation and help you to think more clearly.
I hope this helps you recognize how beneficial your mindset can be for your overall health. Apply the solutions, and you will surely experience a happier and healthier life.