Many people expect a doctor and a pill to cure them of their ailments, ailments that are often preventable and aren’t always effectively treated with a pill. This type of mentality typically stems from a lack of knowledge about the tremendous healing capabilities of our bodies and minds. The key to being healthy is to work with this innate wisdom, which requires maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but more so, emotional and psychological well being.

If we believe we aren’t going to feel better, we limit any possible solutions for becoming well. If we are caught up in a victim mentality and expect someone or something else to “fix” us, then we will never the take the necessary steps to improve our life. Constantly identifying with disease creates blinders to the blessings and positive aspects of health that exist in one’s life. Most healthy people I know are happy, and the ones that are not as healthy, usually have a relatively better quality of life when they have a positive attitude.

Stress is on the rise, and alcohol, tobacco, drugs and food are ways in which people try to reduce the stress response. These unhealthy lifestyle behaviors are major contributing factors to the rising rates of chronic disease in our country. There is such a thing as healthy stress that protects us from danger, however, if not dealt with appropriately, stress can take its toll on our bodies. Stress is our body’s response to input to our brain, which again is influenced by our perception and the way we think. Our bodies will react to our thoughts the same way they will react to a tiger that is attacking us. If our minds are caught up dwelling in the past or worrying about the future, we are constantly exposing ourselves to our body’s stress chemicals. It is only in the present moment that we can consciously control the stress response. This is why meditation and mindfulness are so effective, by keeping us in the present moment.

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Thinking positively empowers us to be accountable for our lives and allows us to create healthy lifestyle choices. Being healthy requires self-appreciation, which is influenced by how we feel about ourselves. If we don’t value ourselves, we are less likely to prioritize our health. Positive thinking has been scientifically proven to decrease levels of stress hormones in the body. The meaning we give to how a treatment will affect us is validated through the placebo effect.

Our gastrointestinal system also demonstrates the power of the mind-body connection. With more nerve endings than our brains, it’s no wonder we literally feel sick to our stomach when we feel stressed.

It’s important to note that there is no wrong way to feel or think. People’s reality is filtered through their own lens of perception, which is different for everyone. Many of us have long-standing ways of doing things, and the good news is that we can always change habits. It’s about taking a step back and observing what kinds of thoughts we have about ourselves, and changing these thoughts.

Life is not completely controlled by external forces and we all have a lot more power than we give ourselves credit for. Just as much as we have the power to create disease, we have the power to promote health in our lives. Being healthy is simple, and all it takes are the positive choices and thoughts we create in every moment.