It is well-known that our emotions, both positive and negative, have a direct effect on our physical health. By definition, emotions have a physiological effect on our body, and it is in this way that they can strongly influence our health and vitality.
Feelings of chronic stress, anxiety or hopelessness, as just some examples, can increase the strain on our cardiovascular system and our risk of heart disease. Feelings of joy or excitement, on the other hand, strengthen our immune function and significantly lower our risk of colds and flu.
What is less well-known, but even more important, is that these emotions are influenced directly by how we think. We feel stressed because we think we can’t cope. We feel anxious because we think all about how it could go wrong. And we feel hopeless because we think that we will never find another way if this way fails.
Scientific findings show that optimism, which is the thinking process that concludes good things will happen, is associated with better cardiovascular health, and may also reduce cancer risk. This is an effect that parallels the benefits of high fruit and vegetable consumption.
Our mind and body are deeply connected. A desire to cultivate a healthy body starts with a desire to cultivate a healthy mind.