How Thoughts Affect the Physical Body
We’ve often heard people say: “We are what we eat.” The logic of that statement is undeniable. The quality of the food we eat and the beverages we drink directly affects the health we enjoy in our bodies. If our daily intake of food includes large quantities of fried foods, milkshakes, and high-caloric desserts, not only do the pounds mount up but also a toll is exacted on our cardiovascular health. Food and drink, instead of being healthful and life-giving, become toxic and life-shortening.
So, too, with our thoughts. Negative thoughts can affect our bodies in not too subtle ways. Think back to the last time you worried about something. Let’s say you had a disagreement with your best friend, boyfriend, girlfriend, partner, or spouse, and the two of you stopped talking for a time. How did you feel in your body during that time? Was there tightness in your throat? A feeling that you had just been punched in the stomach? Did your heart beat faster? Did your thoughts race? Did you find it hard to concentrate on other things? Do you remember what you were thinking? Were you angry or anxious at first? Or did your thoughts make you angrier or more anxious?
STOP. FEEL. OBSERVE. To understand the effects your thoughts were having on your body, observe what you are feeling in this moment now that you are thinking again of that incident. Amazing, isn’t it? Thoughts can and do have powerful effects on the body, both negative and positive.
How then do we claim the health benefits of positive thoughts? We begin by becoming a “silent observer” of our selves. Try this experiment for a week or two. Each morning set the intention to observe your thoughts throughout the day. Ask your body to signal you, in a way you will recognize, when a negative thought moves through your awareness. Notice how many times a day you become aware of a negative thought. At each moment of awareness, STOP, FEEL, OBSERVE. How does your body feel? At the end of a week or two, you may come to the same conclusion I reached, that is, that negative thoughts put the body into a “fight” or “flight” pattern, stressing the many systems in the body meant to work harmoniously. Don’t be fooled into thinking that thoughts are contained only in the brain-mind to the exclusion of the body-mind. Eastern and Native American cultures have always recognized what we in the Western world are just beginning to appreciate—that thought is everywhere within us and around us, and we share responsibility for the thoughts that define us. Thoughts are a form of energy, and energy affects the body, right down to the cellular level.
To counteract the effects of negative thoughts, use breathing and grounding techniques. See a cone of white light above your head. As you breathe in through the nose, see that light come into every part of your body. See yourself surrounded by the light, as well. Exhale through your mouth as if blowing out a candle. Think “I let that negative thought go.” See the light go into your feet. Watch, as roots of light grow from your feet into the earth. Ask Mother Earth to accept the negative thought, now surrounded by light, and send that thought through your roots and into the earth. With love and gratitude in your heart, thank Mother Earth and repeat this affirmation: “I surround myself with positive thoughts and energies.”
Claim your right to define yourself with positive thoughts, enhancing body, mind, and spirit.