Could what you think control how you feel?
Thoughts are things. Have you ever heard that said? I mean, think about it. How can a thought - something that is intangible and exists only within your own mind, be a thing? It all comes down to chemistry actually. Our bodies are literally a chemical test tube. Remember back in high school when you’d mix up all kinds of chemicals together and see what the reaction would be? That’s our bodies. We run on chemicals. Not the nasty type! All food is also made up of chemicals. These types of chemicals in ‘real’ food are mostly harmless (unless they are added to processed food - that’s a different story). And, most of the chemicals in food are actually desirable - such as vitamins and minerals, and the nutrients held in protein, carbohydrates and fats. When you eat something, your body causes a series of chemical reactions to occur - by using more chemicals that are released within your body. The end result of this is that the food chemicals end up broken down to their basic form, which can then be used by your body for various reasons. Your brain is one really big test tube…. Running on neurotransmitters (chemicals that exist within the nervous system to transmit messages), it performs its functions according to the chemicals that are present. Not enough serotonin? You feel depressed. Melatonin floating around? You feel tired. Not enough dopamine? You feel unmotivated. Of course, I’m simplifying things here for you. But in essence, chemicals within your body can dictate how you feel. So, what if it works the other way around as well? What if, when you think a certain way, specific chemicals are produced in your body that affect how you feel? This is, in fact, exactly what happens. When you think a thought, your body responds with a chemical reaction. If that was a negative thought, or one of anxiety or depression, for example, your body responds with the chemicals of stress. If that was a positive, happy, uplifting thought, your body respond by reducing the chemicals of stress. Could it really be that simple? Let’s think for a moment about the effect of stress on the body. We’ve all been told that stress is bad for us…. But why is that? Stress hormones (chemicals) such as adrenaline and cortisone, are designed to keep you safe. In the case of a threat to your life, your body responds with chemicals that allow you to defend yourself. Then, when the threat has passed, the stress response dissipates. The problem in today’s world is that so many things around us are interpreted as stress. Finances, relationships, career, kids, simply just rushing from one place to another with our busy lifestyles is actually triggering the release of stress chemicals. The list of effects that prolonged stress has on our bodies is long and depressing in itself. Notice also that stress affects both your body and your mind, and subsequently your behaviour.
- Sleep disturbances
- Chest pain
- Stomach ache
- Muscle tension or pain
- Change in sex drive
- Skin conditions - eczema, psoriasis, acne
- Sadness or depression
- Lack of motivation
- Social withdrawal
- Use of drugs or alcohol to cope