The following is an excerpt from my upcoming e-book on Amazon.com, Happiness IS Possible! (C)Copyright 2012 Michael Likey. All Rights Reserved.
Chapter 3- Your Body: How Your Attitude Affects Your Physical Well-Being
How you feel about yourself affects whether or not (and to what degree and consistency) you maintain the health of your physical body. (Masters, 1989) Your moods and emotions also have a physiological affect on your health. This is already a scientifically-proven fact. (Holmes, 1998) Again, some of this is pure logic.
“Loser” or “Winner”?
Look in the mirror (if you can) on days when you feel somewhat blue, or like a “loser”.
I’m willing to bet that you appear awful to yourself; you’re more aware of blemishes, wrinkles; any minor shortcomings appear a lot worse. Your shoulders and posture might reflect this, even how fast or slowly you move. On days when you feel good, like a “winner”, look in the mirror and notice your posture, your hair, your skin. You feel great about your appearance on these days, but you might take it for granted and be more self-critical on those other days. Just take advantage of the days when you think you look great to get a lot done. If you follow the advice and techniques in this book, in time you’ll have more “great days” than not.
There’s a condition referred-to by some psychologists, psychiatrists, and therapists as “Body-Issues”: essentially dissatisfaction with the appearance of one’s physical body. It is important to evaluate with the help of a professional, if this is a condition relevant to you in order to work through it.
The deeper reasons why you don’t like what you see in the mirror, especially if you have more days like that than the other, must be addressed. Likely you were told from infancy that you’re not good enough or not handsome or pretty enough, or smart enough. All of this will affect your sense of worth and self-esteem, and will shape your attitude about yourself, your life, and your attitude of others.
The long-range forecast for your physical health, if you continue with these negative beliefs, is not good. You’ll make yourself physically sick, because deep down you don’t believe you’re worthy of being healthy. You might even self-sabotage your health by doing unhealthy activities, eating unhealthy foods, or even ignoring your physical health altogether.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (which is tens of thousands of years old) and its methods treat (among many other things) the person’s organs, which in theory store various negative attitudes/beliefs, and energies. (Williams, 2003)
For example, it is believed in Traditional Chinese Medicine that fear affects the kidneys, where it is stored; the liver absorbs anger, the spleen, worry; the heart, agitation, and the lungs, grief. Qi Gong and Tai Chi Chuan, both extentions of the Traditional Chinese Medicine system, purport to cleanse, and therefore heal the body of these negative emotions. Western medicine has proven that we get a “nervous stomach” and even ulcers from worry! At the very least, extreme worry and anxiety affect our concentration and ability to perform. There is no doubt that the unconscious mind somehow affects the function and health of our physical bodies. Worry and anxiety also stresses your body, causing it to slowly break down. This is the basis to “Holistic Health”. The mind affects the body which affects the spirit, (emotional well-being) the spirit affects the mind which affects the body, and the body affects the mind which affects the spirit, and so on. Another way to say this is that we are “Psycho-Physical Units”.
Scientists have proven time and again that relaxation therapies like meditation will slow down your mind-chatter, relaxing you enough to lower your heart-rate and even lower your blood-pressure. Meditating daily (much more on this later) is just as effective in maintaining your mental, emotional, and physical health, as physical exercise is! Scientists from the NASA space-program took their visualization program to the Olympics, to help athletes reach peak performance. It has been scientifically proven that our physical body cannot tell the difference between physical reality, and a “reality” seen/created in the mind: the Olympic athletes’ bodies would perspire and their muscles tense up when they ran the race in their mind, so they were able to just as effectively physically train by using their mind, in addition to their actual physical training. In fact, combining the psychological advantage of mentally visualizing themselves winning during the mental training, a sort of self-hypnotically-induced belief of being a winner, gave them the edge every time over the athletes that only physically trained. (Byrnes, 2006)
Peak Health=Peak Performance=Peak Health
Notice how much more you’re motivated to exercise and meditate on the days that you feel good; notice how physically inactive and less-motivated you are on the days that you don’t mentally or emotionally feel as strong. This applies to your job as well.
Peak health (mental, emotional) equals peak performance and physical well-being!