How the State of Your Mind Affects Your Health
The mind and the body have a much deeper connection than we understand. Although the mind and the body are different, whatever happens to one affects the other. The mind controls our moods and the things we think about, and our body responds to the way we think and feel. The human mind is always in a state of constant change, and these changes are called mood swings.
Our moods can swing from happiness to sadness, pessimism to optimism, anger to joy, from hopefulness to hopelessness; and as our mind swims through these tides, it takes the body along, and affects our health in so many ways.
Scientific data has shown that bright moods such as happiness, optimism and hope reduce the severity of cardiovascular hypertension, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. It has also been found that depression and anger worsens cardiovascular disease to a near-death stage.
Fear increases the flow of adrenaline in the body. When something scary happens, our body releases a large amount of adrenaline to induce the fight and flight reaction. This ability of the mind to cause the release of hormones is the basis of body-mind medicine.
Let’s relate this to real life scenarios; have you ever attended an urgent job interview or written a professional examination you didn’t prepare well for? In such scenarios, your mind will be filled with so much anxiety that you’ll feel your palms sweating unusually and your heartbeat racing rapidly. You might even get nauseous instantly. All these bodily reactions are proves that the mind has very strong effect on the body.
How does a Stressed Mind affects your Health?
Excessive thinking leaves a heavy strain on the mind and when this becomes habitual, it can cause series of illnesses. Excessive stress suppresses the immune system and triggers panic attack. Chronic stress and panic attack activates the sympathetic nervous system, causing a rise in blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, and increased muscle tension. Increased muscle tension causes a diversion of blood flow from the four major groups of muscles to the minor ones, thereby resulting in rapid muscle weakness.
Also, adrenaline and cortisol released during panic attack and chronic stress strains the digestive system, causing irritable bowel syndrome.
Recently, scientists have also discovered that chronic stress causes hormonal imbalance and depletes the levels of serotonin and endorphin, which are brain chemicals that trigger happiness. Same scientific study shows that chronic stress decreases the rate of DNA replication by reducing the telomeres located at the end of DNA strands. Thus, stress can affect reproductive ability.
Depression and Health
Depression suppresses the immune system and leaves the body defenseless against infectious diseases. Depression always comes with lifestyle changes such as substance abuse and overfeeding, both of which have negative effects on health. Research has also found that chronic depression can lead to infertility, mental retardation, and rapid aging.
A Relaxed Mind Makes you to live Healthier and Longer
Unlike depression, stress and sadness, positive emotions can improve our health tremendously. A recent study in the field of mindfulness has found that meditation and positive imagination causes muscle relaxation and activates of the parasympathetic nervous system to release hormones that causes calmness and relaxation. These hormones also stabilize blood pressure, reduce cortisol levels and normalize the heart rate.
Having known these facts, we have to guide our minds diligently, stay away from stressors, and pursue happiness because a happy mind translates to a healthy body.
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