Our own thoughts (positive and negative) may be even more important than we once believed when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight and physical fitness in midlife.
Weird question: Do you ever talk to yourself? Who hasn’t thought out loud from time to time?
With that in mind, it is super important to recognize that quantum physicists believe our thoughts determine our reality.
What is really cool about this is that our emotions or what we “feel” triggers chemical responses in our brains. Current science tells us that our brain is wired with opiate receptors. Dr. Candace Pert explains this in her book, “Molecules of Emotion Why You Feel the Way You Feel”. The Neurotransmitters that are involved in triggering these opiate receptors have an impact on our state of well-being, and our mood- be it positive or negative. Our organs and systems also function from multiple feedback loops involving these receptors and neurotransmitters.
Positive thoughts have an important role in health and wellness. This “mind-body” connection, is now recognized as a truth of physiology.
Here are 5 facts about negative thinking that prove ‘looking on the bright side’ is necessary.
1. Our brain can alter its function and structure simply from thoughts, be they real or imagined.
Perceptions and activities will turn genes “on” or “off” in our bodies, as well as other chemical reactions according to “The Brain That Changes Itself” by Dr. Norman Doidge. The truth is that our brain can alter its function and structure from thoughts be they real or imagined.
2. Negative self-talk is physically addictive.
in the presence of stress increases the release of hormones such as dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. These neurotransmitters known as catecholamines can build up a tolerance.
The presence of dopamine brings on temporary exhilaration. Negative thoughts are one of the behaviors that can initially increase dopamine. But to get the same exhilaration, more and more negative thoughts are needed. This is very much like being addicted to cocaine or sugar.
That’s right, negative self-talk can temporarily make us feel rewarded in an addictive fashion. This is a problem because it is shortlived and needs to be repeated and more intensely to get the same amount of exhilaration (reward)
3. Negative self-talk can shrink our brain.
Cortisol, better known as the stress hormone, becomes elevated in response to negative thoughts or self-speak. Elevated cortisol, especially if chronic, can decrease the actual volume of the left pre-frontal cortex of the brain, the part of the brain associated with positive emotions. We definitely do not want to shrink the part of our brain associated with positive emotions.
4. Talking to ourselves negatively has an impact on physical structures in our body.
Circulating neurotransmitters and hormones create feedback loops, that impact cardiovascular health, and digestion. Nobody wants to ‘think themselves’ into a heart attack.
5. Weight management is much more difficult.
Those same feedback loops can hamper, motivation, mood, anxiety, drive, and weight management.
Mind over matter is more important than previously believed. Negative thinking is addictive, stress-producing and habitual. It also impacts our physical well being. So HOW can we change our internal dialogue?
Now that we know how harmful negative thoughts can be for our fitness in midlife, it is important to work on ways to clip these thoughts.
We have to change how long we sit with negative thoughts. The best-known way to do this is to use affirmations. Just like any new habit, in order for this to work, we must practice. Writing down our daily affirmations has shown to be very helpful. It is also very helpful to use gratitude in a way that helps us to see life from a place of abundance.The benefits of cultivating an affirmation practice include improving our chances for joy, happiness, motivation, and active participation in life. Click To Tweet
Excitatory neurotransmitters, especially dopamine, come into play when feeling in love. Dopamine promotes motivation, interest, and drive. It keeps us from feeling numb. Buuuuut, we do not want our driver of dopamine to be negative thoughts. Because our overall level of contentment and physical wellbeing will suffer greatly.
Affirmations can help with hormone balance by maintaining those hormones that keep anxiety in check, generating feelings of self-worth, and maintaining happiness and protection against depression and have a calming effect.
These hormones are Gaba and Serotonin, and they are drivers of improved feelings of self-worth, increasing our level of happiness and protection against depression. Using affirmations improves GABA and Serotonin.
The benefits of cultivating an affirmation practice also include improving your chances for joy, happiness, motivation, and active participation in life.
We can count on a healthier heart and a better chance of healthy weight management by using affirmations. This becomes super important after going through tough times, loss of someone dear, or loss of self-worth/self-confidence, and the general struggles of midlife and aging.
Grab my free guide Affirmations for Women, here