When it comes to your overall health, a healthy mindset is the best tool at your disposal.
Question: Do you know how much your mindset influences health?
Answer: A whole lot. Read on to learn how a healthy mindset can influence your physical, emotional, and mental health, and learn 3 ways to become more mindful.
Free Your Mind, and the Rest Will Follow
Conscious awareness of your perceptions is the first step in understanding how a healthy mindset can support your overall health. How you interact with the world influences your perceptions. These perceptions greatly impact everything you do and how you respond to everything that happens to you.
Altering your mindset, sometimes even a little, can have a positive or negative outcome on your physical health. Below, we’ll discuss how you may be able to get healthier simply by thinking that you’re healthy.
Make Stress and Ally, Not an Enemy
Chronic stress can have many negative side effects such as heart disease and cravings for high-calorie foods. However, stress can also be an instrument for growth and enhancement if channeled properly.
When your body reacts to stress, it activates the sympathetic nervous system and releases the hormone cortisol. This response improves physiological and mental capability by giving you focus for the task at hand and the energy to complete it.
Research shows that your mindset concerning stress can affect your body’s reaction to stress. If you approach stress as an enhancement instead of a harmful reaction, you’re more likely to have a positive reaction to adversity. You’ll see challenges not as obstacles but opportunities for growth.
Furthermore, a healthy mindset towards stress can also help better regulate the cortisol response in your body, leading to a healthier level of exposure to the stress-induced hormone. This method of stress reduction through perception and response is a powerful illustration of how mindset influences health.
Healthy Mindset: Change Your Perceptions
A recent study shows that your perceptions about health behaviors may play an important role in shaping your health outcomes. Simply put, your mindset influences health so much that you can change your results by changing your perceptions.
The study shows that people’s perceptions about their health can directly correlate with mortality rates. People who thought that they were more active than others lived longer than those who thought that they were less active.
The research further shows that people who have a negative mindset about health are less likely to engage in proactive measures such as eating well, exercising, and visiting a physician. In other words, your mindset can influence your health in both positive ways and negative.
In addition, the study goes on to reference a group of room attendants (housekeeping staff) who cleaned rooms all day, every day. These room attendants objectively met recommended levels of physical activity simply by carrying out their daily work. However, they still perceived themselves to be physically inactive since they didn’t realize that all the walking, pushing, and lifting involved in their work constituted healthy activity.
The researchers conducted an intervention. They informed the room attendants that their daily work satisfied exercise recommendations and highlighted the benefits of their active lifestyle. This intervention not only shifted the room attendants’ perceptions but also led to significant physiological health improvements including reductions in weight, body fat, and blood pressure over time.
This example illustrates that mindset plays an important role in overall wellness.
Healthy Mindset: Mind Your Mind
Brain health begins with mindfulness. Here are 3 things you can do right now to become more mindful:
- Approach every situation consciously, with presence of mind.
- Understand that perceptions may have significant long-term effects on health, and use this knowledge to your advantage instead of unconsciously allowing it to be to your disadvantage.
- Try Vaccinium uliginosum (Bilberry) to promote neurological health and improve your mental acuity.
With conscious awareness and a healthy mindset, you’ll soon become the master of your overall health.