Modern society is conditioned to think of health as a physical or mental-only phenomenon – as in the two are disconnected. However, plenty of medical research suggests otherwise, noting that the way we think affects how we feel, and more importantly, how our bodies respond at the physical level.
As it turns out, our attitudes toward our own health can either support or hinder it further. Developing and maintaining a health-positive consciousness, then, is a critical part of wellness. In this way, positive thinking about our health is a self-fulfilling prophecy. If we think good thoughts about our health, good health is easier to achieve.
Positive Thinking Supports Positive Health Outcomes
It’s understandable why people would be skeptical about the power of positive thinking. How can health-positive thoughts influence the way our bodies function? While there’s clearly a connection between what we think and how we feel, this connection isn’t well-understood. The connection is there, though, and several medical studies confirm this. Three of those studies include:
- A meta-analysis that reviewed more than 300 studies over 30 years. This meta-analysis was published in Psychological Bulletin and considered the impacts of acute and chronic stresses on immune system expression. The researchers found that while some forms of acute stress could actually improve immune function, chronic stresses reduced both humoral (extracellular) and cellular immunity. In other words, chronic stresses reduce our ability to fight infection, and researchers found that immune downregulation was more pronounced in older people and people already affected by disease.
The researchers also found that people who reported their lives as stressful were more likely to express quantifiable measures of immune system downregulation. Specifically, researchers noted a reduction in natural killer cells, which are responsible for identifying and destroying pathogens and tumors.
- A small 2016 study published in Behaviour Research and Therapy that followed 102 people suffering from generalized anxiety disorder. The participants were split into three groups, each required to visualize or verbalize positive messaging when experiencing anxiety episodes.
After several weeks of trying these positive messaging methods out, all three groups reported a reduction in negative thoughts, intrusive worry, and anxiety. Clearly, we are capable of influencing the way we react physically with our thoughts.
- A huge analysis of several research papers, published in the 2005 edition of the Psychological Bulletin. This analysis considered more than 275,000 participants and the goal was to determine whether positive thinking lead to better life outcomes. The study confirmed what most people realize is obvious – positive visualization leads to better health outcomes through better health choices. In other words, people who were more likely to think positive thoughts were less likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors like drinking alcohol, smoking, or maintaining an unhealthy diet.
Moving in the right direction, health-wise, starts by developing a health consciousness. By influencing our thoughts in a positive direction, we influence our actions and our health in a positive direction as well.
A Few Ways to Build Better Health Consciousness
Of course, for many people it’s a challenge to think positively about their health. Diabetes, COPD, cancer, arthritis – how can someone convince themselves they’re healthy while suffering from a serious, chronic condition?
It’s a challenge, but one worth taking on. A health-minded consciousness can help your body fight infection and disease better. It can improve your mentality in the face of illness and improve your chances of attaining better health outcomes. The benefits are considerable, and here’s how to get started:
- Use positive visualization or verbalization – In the above studies, participants were asked to verbalize positive messages (“I am healthy,” “I am strong,” “I can handle this”) repetitively or to visualize themselves in good health. Both approaches produced positive results, with statistically insignificant differences in effect between them.
Taking time every day to reinforce that you are healthy, even if you’re not as healthy as others, is an essential first step in creating a health consciousness.
- Make better health-related decisions and believe in them – An effective health consciousness relies on optimism. The optimism that if you make better decisions, those decisions will improve your health. Whether it’s adding nutritious foods to your diet, supplementing with digestive enzymes, or getting exercise, committing to these changes fully will reinforce your positive thinking.
- Establish an environment that will support your health consciousness – Minimizing intrusive negative thoughts is also key to developing health consciousness. One way to do this is to create an environment where intrusive thoughts are unlikely to develop. Maintaining an orderly, clean household can help maintain orderly thinking, for example. The presence of beloved photos or keepsakes can also support a positive mindset. Filling your home with bright colors and artwork can also help keep you in a positive frame of mind.
Change Your Thinking and Change Your Life, Including Your Health
The interplay between the conscious and subconscious mind is poorly understood, but it’s clear that our consciousness can alter the way our subconscious behaves. And as our subconscious mind is linked to many health-related functions, it stands to reason that aligning our conscious and subconscious mind toward health is a worthy goal.
The research bears this out. People who develop a health consciousness are more likely to keep their immune systems in good shape and more likely to support their health through better decisions. All of this with just the power of thought.
How Can Women Treat Endometriosis?
About 10 percent of women in their reproductive years will experience endometriosis during their lifetime. The complications, as we’ve seen, can be concerning. There is hope, though, because endometriosis treatments are available and most preventative measures promote overall health as well. Some of the steps women can take to control their endometriosis include:
- Restoring hormonal balance with herbal supplements or medications – In many patients, hormonal imbalances are at the root of endometriosis. If hormonal imbalances are the root cause, there are herbal supplements that can help. Some of these supplements directly impact hormone levels, while others help with stress reduction, which can also help with endometriosis.
- Reducing stress levels – Stress and menstrual issues are closely correlated, and that’s true for women with endometriosis, too. Research shows that women suffering from high levels of chronic stress are more likely to develop endometriosis.
Reducing stress levels can reduce the likelihood of an episode and reduce pain in women experiencing an endometriosis episode.
- Replenishing nutrition – Poor diet can exacerbate endometriosis symptoms and improving nutritional uptake can improve any systemic issues producing hormone imbalances. Digestive supplements, including a protease supplement and probiotic, can help with nutrition absorption and support hormone-producing organs.
Endometriosis is Painful and Can Cause Complications, but it’s Also Treatable
Endometriosis is a common condition among women of reproductive age. It can cause severe pain, particularly before and during menstrual periods. It’s also a chronic condition that requires long-term management. There are management options available, though, that can help restore hormonal balance and reduce the chances of future endometriosis episodes.