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Positivity is much more than new age, airy fairy talk! Stress, negative thoughts and emotions change the inner workings of your body and interfere with healing and immunity.

     Hi there, it’s Elaine Gardner, the founder of DesignYourHealthyLife.com, and I want to talk to you about why positive thinking and happiness, and a positive mental attitude are so important to your health. They all sound wonderful but, truth be told, it’s not something that most people focus on. I heard someone say recently that Americans wear their stress like a badge of honor, and I thought a lot about it and I think it’s true. Most of the time when you see people, they’re telling you about their woes and their busyness and their craziness, and how stressed they are. And while it sounds like a complaint, it really is just so common. When was the last time you really heard people talk about the wonderful things in their life, and how they’re pursuing fun and how happy they are, and how much they love their families? We just don’t focus on the positive side of things and I think it’s really tragic for many different reasons: one, it certainly feels a whole lot better to be happy and loving your life and creative and in passion at work, and all of those kinds of things. But it’s so much more than that because your attitude and your mindset and your thoughts actually affect you directly at the cellular level. So it is a huge factor in personal health as well.

     Some of that is hormonally based, based on hormones signaling; so when you’re stressed, the stress hormones affect you from a whole body perspective. They prohibit your body from healing. They’re actually catabolic in nature, meaning they break down bodily tissues. So they prevent your body from healing and they steal all your rebuilding hormones to funnel the stress response, because stress is always considered a life-threatening emergency. So your body uses all of its resources for the stress response and it’s severely damaging to your immune system as well. When you’re under a lot of stress, your immune system is almost deactivated, so you can pick up all kinds of bugs and viruses and things like that, and your body can’t even mount a response to them. And as you come out of that stress response, it’s very likely that you can encounter an illness or another significant health challenge because your immune system has been suppressed during that stressful time.

     A lot of people never come out of their stressors, so the things that are happening in their bodies are lifelong and they’re breaking down and aging much faster than they should be. And often times they develop really critical, sometimes life-threatening diseases, and often feel victimized when they get those type of diagnoses. But it’s actually something that they’ve created, obviously not intentionally, just by the environment they’ve created in their bodies from the stress and the lack of joy. And the hormones that are secreted when you have positive feelings of love and connection and joy and laughter and creative passion… those things just light your body up with the hormones that are anabolic in nature, they build bodily tissues, they strengthen your system all over, and they really contribute to healing and are a huge part of healthy aging as well.

     So that is the hormonal factor involved, but there’s also neural pathways that are formed, so when you have negative thoughts you actually have nervous system pathways that are laying down, that make it much easier for you to have those negative thoughts over and over and over again because you’re developing communication pathways that facilitate and encourage that. And on the flip side that’s true as well; when you have positive thinking, you’re laying down nervous system pathways that make it much easier for you to have those continuous thoughts over and over and over again.

     So positive thinking is much more than just this new age airy fairy type of language. It actually means a whole lot and affects your body at the cellular level, and it’s really something that you can do to dramatically change the way that your physical health is and the way you feel on a day-to-day basis. So it’s really worth investing your time into figuring out how to do that.

     Of course when you’re used to being in a stress response and you have the neural system pathways that encourage the negative thinking, it takes a lot of effort and practice in order to change your thoughts, and it’s hard to catch yourself sometimes too. Sometimes this is an unconscious thing, so you’re not even aware that you’re thinking from a negative perspective. There’s many, many tools you can use to reprogram your brain, but just the awareness, just thinking about how you’re feeling now, if you go back over the past 24 hours of your life and consider – maybe do a scale of 1 to 10 – what would you say the strength of the positive thoughts has been over the last 24 hours? And do the same thing with your negative thoughts. You may be surprised to find that you’re not aware that you’re really staying in a negative mindset much more often than you’re staying in a positive mindset. And once you realize that and you make a commitment to make a change, your awareness will increase so it will make it easier for you to shift your thoughts into happier, more positive thoughts when you are feeling down.

     But if you’re really struggling with that, also reach out for professional help to reprogram those thoughts and patterns. There are lots of great resources online. I personally love a technique called Emotion Code that I will do with a licensed mental health counselor. It really resonates well with me. But I’ve also done Emotional Freedom Technique or EFT, and EFT is something that you can do on your own at home. You can find lots of videos and books about EFT by just doing a Google search on the internet. Nick and Jessica Ortner are a brother-sister pair who do a lot of great Emotional Freedom Technique or EFT work. Bruce Lipton is a cell biologist and he is one of the people that has helped me understand how our emotional life affects our physical life, and he has lots of great resources on his website, as well as a wonderful book called The Biology of Belief. So you can look up Bruce Lipton online or get a copy of The Biology of Belief and read through that. If you’re scientifically minded, I think you’ll love the book. If you’re not, I don’t think you’ll be able to get into it. I recommend it to lots of people and some people are very disappointed because it is very scientific.

     As always, I have additional resources for you. It is absolutely my passion to help you move into greater physical, emotional, spiritual health. So if you have a question for me or have a stumbling block in finding a resource, or you just need to reach out to somebody just for compassion and for understanding, please feel free to do so. I am happy to support you in any way! It truly is my passion to help you find the best health possible, and hopefully to keep you out of what I struggled with for so many years. I spent more than two decades of my life in very poor health and I’d like to help other people avoid that or figure out how to get themselves out of that and get themselves a whole lot better a whole lot faster than I was able to.

     And I’d also like to share a resource today: Carol Tuttle is another wonderful person that’s been really helping me discover my own true nature, and really a huge contributor to peace of mind and positive mental attitude and emotional health. So I would highly encourage you to read the resource section in the newsletter, and to follow through on some of those resources. So please send me a comment, let me know if this has been helpful for you and also again, do not hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions or need any additional support.