Mind & Body Connection

February 22, 2009

Stressors in our life can produce profound health consequences

By Dr. Carolyn Anderson

Family PicnicThis connects what we think to our health. There is a science to the “Secret” and I see it in many of my patients. The positive patients appear to be attracting health and well being into their lives, and the negative patients attract the opposite. I propose that the connection is more than just an external universal law.

I propose that the principles of psychoneuroimmunology actually explain why the happy patients are healthy. Psychoneuroimmunology investigates the relationship between the psychophysiological and the immunophysiological dimensions of living beings. In simple terms this means that what you think, effects the release of chemicals and hormones in your system that can directly impact your immune system. There is now sufficient data to conclude that immune modulation by psychosocial stressors can actually lead to health changes. There is evidence to support the notion that we can “think” ourselves sick. Stressors in our life can produce profound health consequences.

The most straight forward connection is that negative thoughts, anger and resentment induce stress which in turn supresses our immune system. The body’s primary stress management system is the hypothalmus (an area of the brain) and it’s interaction with the pituitary and adrenal glands called the HPA axis. The stress of negative thoughts or negative perceptions of events causes an increase in the release of cortisol. Cortisol is considered the stress hormone and if chronically present will impair the natural immune and healing response of the body. Impairing this healing process will lead to premature aging and disease. So it appears that Dr. Norman Vincent Peal was really onto something with the “Power of Positive Thinking”. The power lies not only in having a happier life but also in having a healthier, longer more vibrant life.

If people truly knew they could affect their health by their attitude wouldn’t more people focus on the positive? Could this not be life changeing for many. I see on a daily basis with hundred’s of my patients how those of the older population that retire with goals, dreams, hopes and passions are healthier, more vibrant and more vital. In contrast to those that are stressed, depressed and miserable and usually develop chronic disease that significantly decrease the quality and length of their lives. It seems that getting older wrinkles the skin but giving up your dreams wrinkles the soul.

The bottom line is to get happy and you are far more likely to be healthy. Stay in touch for more specific techniques to help out think the negative and increase your positivity.

About the Author: Dr. Carolyn Anderson is the founder of Impowerage. Her mission in life is to empower older adults with the information they need to continue living healthy active lifestyles.

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