Welcome to the “mind and health” series. In this series, we will be considering issues that are related to building a healthy body by building a healthy mind. Yes, you can build a healthy body, free of sickness and disease, by developing a healthy mind. We will be considering factors that aid the acquisition of a healthy mind, and by extension, a healthy body.
The state of your mind, to a large extent, determines the state of your health. In other words, if you have a healthy mind, you will most likely have a healthy body; and on the other hand, if you have an unhealthy mind, you will most likely have an unhealthy body. Indeed, it has been scientifically proven that the state of your mind will either attract sickness and disease to your body, or it will send sickness and disease parking.
A University of Michigan Health publication says, “Your mind and your body are powerful allies.” This means that the way you think affects the way you feel. What you think and how you think affect how you feel; and how you feel in turn affects what you think.
For instance, if you are feeling miserable and down about your situation, it is because you have been thinking thoughts that reflects your present situation. It shows that in your thoughts, you have concluded that your situation is miserable. Once you reach such a conclusion in your thinking, it automatically affects the way you feel.
Your feelings can lead you deeper into thinking harmful thoughts, or it can lead you to thinking healthy thoughts, depending on how you choose to handle your feelings. Do you know you have power over how you feel? If you change what you constantly think about, you can change how you constantly feel.
If you constantly worry and get stressed out over your job, finances, or other problems, it will affect the way you think and feel, and that can cause the muscles in your body to begin to get tensed up. Once your muscles begin to tense up, you may start experiencing pains in your body, as well as headaches, stomach problems or even high blood pressure or other serious problems.
Constant worrying and fretting about your situation will negatively affect your emotions, and when your emotions are negatively affected, it could lead to depression, anxiety and fear. Anxiety and fear are sicknesses of the mind, which can lead to sicknesses in your body, if you harbour them. When you allow anxiety and fear in your mind, they can negatively affect how you treat, manage, or cope with symptoms of illness, sickness or disease.
Worry is defined as a state of being anxious and troubled over actual or potential problems. When you become overly anxious and troubled over actual or potential problems, you are in a state of worry, and it becomes your state of mind. When you start worrying over an actual problem or a potential problem, you open your mind to all sorts of negative thoughts, which may lead to attracting more negative circumstances to yourself.
Fear it, see it
When you worry and get anxious over a potential problem, your mind begins to interpret a potential problem as a real problem, and when that begins to happen, the symptoms of the real problem may begin to manifest in your body and environment.
When you are anxious and fearful about an anticipated problem, your body will begin to feel as if the real problem has occurred. When you persist in a worried and anxious state of mind, you may eventually attract what you are worried and anxious about to yourself, which may lead to illness, sickness and disease.
Your body does not know the difference between an actual problem and an imagined one; both actual and imagined problems can put you in a state of worry, and once you get to that state where you are worried and anxious, you open your mind to attract the things you are worried and anxious about. That is why the Holy Book admonishes us in Philippians 4:6 that we should not be “anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
When you allow anxiety and fear in your mind, you expose yourself to the danger of being harassed and molested by the things you are anxious and fearful about. When you are fearful and anxious, it affects the way you can cope and manage symptoms of illness, sickness or disease that comes your way.
Your state of mind can affect your mood to the point that you lose your appetite for food and lose interest in life generally; on the other hand, your state of mind can lift you up to the extent that you have a peaceful disposition about every aspect of your life.
Curbing harmful emotions
Scientists have identified at least four common states of mind that can promote and encourage the manifestation of sickness and disease in your body. They include anxiety, depression, anger and fear. All of these four states of mind are unhealthy states of the mind.
When you find yourself constantly experiencing these four states of mind, it exposes your body to sickness and disease. It is important that you learn to properly manage your moods, to ensure that you are not giving room to these four states of mind to become your constant reality.
Managing your mood means that you have learnt how to positively respond to situations and circumstances in your environment. Instead of becoming anxious, depressed, angry and fearful over situations, you can choose to commit every situation to God in prayers.
You may not have the strength and ability to deal with and control the situations and the circumstances that are presently around you, but you can choose how you respond to them. When you commit your situations to God in prayers, there is a confidence that rises up in you. You can be confident that a Force greater than the situation you are going through and capable of helping you to overcome the situation has taken charge of your life.
This kind of disposition will boost your confidence and reduce your chances of getting anxious, depressed and fearful. Stop giving unnecessary power to your negative situations and circumstances. Instead, take a bolder and more creative approach. Turn to God, the source of divine wisdom in prayers and your mind will be at rest and continue to be at peace.
When your mind is truly at peace, your body will be at peace also, and when your mind is at peace, it gives your body great immunity against illness, sickness and disease. The Great Book says, “I will keep in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on me.” Isaiah 26: 3
Diagnosing worry and anxiety
If you find that you are always focusing your thoughts on how bad the problems around you are, rather than thinking about solutions to them, you are in a state of worry. If you allow your thoughts to constantly dwell on the unpleasant things that have happened to you or you find yourself thinking about the unpleasant things that could happen to you, you are a worrier.
As a worrier, you uncontrollably allow unpleasant thoughts, unpleasant images, and unpleasant emotions of past events or anticipated negative consequences of past events to take over your mind. As a worrier, you are putting yourself into a danger zone of illness, sickness and disease.
It has been proven scientifically that your brain produces certain substances that can either improve your health or cause a regress in your health as a result of your persistent state of mind. While there are many external factors that can influence your mood and your state of mind like the weather, your job and your relationships, there are also some chemicals called neurotransmitters that are released by your brain that can play a big role in influencing your mood and state of mind. These chemical substances are usually released based on your mood or state of mind. Some of these chemicals are serotonin, dopamine, adrenaline and oxytocin.
Your body needs a regular release of certain amounts of these chemicals to function in a healthy way. When your brain is producing too little or too much of these chemicals, it could cause a problem to your health.
Research shows that the amount of chemicals your brain produces depends, to a large extent on your thoughts, feelings, and expectations. For instance, if you are feeling sick but you have a strong positive attitude and believe that you will get better, your brain is likely to produce chemicals that will boost your healing. On the other hand, a negative attitude and lack of hope that you can recover from your sickness will likely shut down your brain from producing chemicals that could boost your healing.
Negative thoughts and emotions like fear and hopelessness can keep your brain from producing some of the chemicals that can help your body to heal. Though some illnesses and sicknesses are beyond your control, your thoughts and your state of mind are great resources that can aid you in keeping sickness and disease away and get better. The Psalmist says in Psalm 23:4 “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadows of death, I will fear no evil for thou art with me.”
Whatever you are going through, keep your hope alive, and maintain a positive attitude.
Segun Lufadeju is an author of three books focused on developing a healthy mind and discovering your true Identity. He hold seminars on his most recent book titled ‘The New Identity’, where he delves into the subject of Identity and how your identity defines your results and outcomes in any sphere of life. He is also the host of Thirty-Five Plus, an outreach programme to people above the age of thirty-five.
You can reach Segun Lufadeju or order for his books via: +234-703-2168-649 and E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.