I was out enjoying a fabulous dinner the other evening, when I found myself passionately in an argument with a friend of mine with a background in biological science. This debate centred around the effect to which our thoughts impact our physical health. People who know me well, would be aware that I'm an adamant believer in the power of positive thinking. What's more, I believe that how we perceive ourselves and the world has a profound effect on our health. Studies have begun to reveal that our mindset not only influences stress levels and our happiness, but on a deeper level, it can have a correlation to the development of disease. Conversely, it can be the catalyst for profound long term and sustained healing and lead to better health and wellbeing.
Dr Bruce Lipton is a key spokesperson around the research behind how our thoughts shape our reality. He explores how epigenetics, the idea that our genetic expression is influenced by our mindset and our environment, from relationships to our diet and lifestyle choices, create the health conditons that we face in our lives, whether these are positive or not so positive. His international best-seller Biology of Belief has made groundbreaking research in the medical field to prove this idea.
Yet the question remains, why are people so dismissing of this phenomenon? My scientist friend, with all due respect, is a highly educated and learned individual. Yet to dismiss such claims as a fallacy, as a joke to the scientific field, is forgetting one fundamental and very basic principle: we don't know everything. Just because something hasn't been definitively proven in 1000 consistent studies doesn't rule out the very possibility that there is something very real the potential of our thoughts to shape our physical health.
If you think of the power of the mind and it's correlation to health when it comes to eating disorders, it is the psychological struggles in ones life which leads to the manifestation of physical health markers dictated by disorders eating patterns. The mind has lead to a depletion in optimal health. Think about when you're nervous. Do you not feel a certain way when your thoughts are occupied with stress and restlessness? Butterflies in the stomach? Dihorreah? Shallow and sharp breathing? These are physical responses to a psychological development.
So cutting this hot debate short, the underlying principle is this: your thoughts shape your reality, at least to an extent. Stress causes physical harm to the body, that we know. If stress causes such harm, can our mindset not directly shape our physical health? Can it not lead to miraculous remissions from terminal diseases? Can it not dramatically shape our physical experiences of this world?
I look forward to more 'evidence' being revealed about this very phenomena in the coming years. Then perhaps science will be more satisfied. Then perhaps more people will begin to realise that the mind is the cornerstone to your health and wellbeing. Happiness is not merely an ideal. It is the very essence of living an enriched and healthy life.
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Presented by Thomas Grainger