Healthy thoughts and feelings are a prerequisite for your overall well-being
Thousands of years ago Buddha espoused the power of positivity and said, “All we are is the result of all we have thought”. Thousands of years later, this philosophical preaching is being proven by scientific research that demonstrates how having an optimistic attitude benefits us in a myriad of ways.
The science of positivity
A study done by researchers from Kings College in London found that affirmative thinking and positive thought visualization helps in reducing pathological worry amongst people who have Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
Another research that reviewed 225 papers and several empirical tests done on the correlation of happiness and achievement found that a positive outlook fosters accomplishment. There was compelling evidence that pointed out how people who have a pleasant mood are better at sociability, problem-solving and honing new skills.
The link between physical health and mental health has a basis in medical and psychological science. Unfortunately, most modern health practitioners only focus on physical fitness. A study published in Psychology and Aging strengthened the link between cheerfulness and improved immunity and concluded that, “Older adults could use positivity as a long-term health maintenance strategy”.
Physical fitness vs. holistic well-being
In my health practice, I have always highlighted the importance of having a reliable support system. I define wellness as a holistic mix of physical health, mental health and spiritual health. Merely cutting toxic food from your diet is not enough if you continue to have toxic people in your life. Having meaningful relationships that inspire you to be compassionate and be excited about the future are necessary for healthy living. I always tell my patients that exercise and diet are not the only things that make you healthy—you need restful sleep and stimulating social interactions too. You can do intermittent fasting, regular Pilates, and drink cold-pressed juice but if you are not tackling your negative thoughts then you will continue to be unhealthy.
The epidemic of mental health disorders
According to some estimates, mental health disorders affect close to 13 percent of the world population. As reported by the National Institute of Mental Health, one in five American adults live with a mental illness and this number is only set to increase as the pandemic further prevents people from getting community care.
While the looming threat of virus separates us through social distancing, let us not forget that our fast-paced lifestyle has been isolating us long before the lockdown was announced. The glamorization of overworking has convinced people to accept chronic fatigue as a norm and burnout as a reasonable consequence of hard work.
Today obesity and accelerated aging is only made worse by a diet culture that ignores circadian rhymes and promotes a damaging relationship with food. As a certified nutritionist and MD, let me tell you that your gut health is instinctively linked to your mental health. When you eat unhealthy food, your gut signals your brain to make you feel tired and anxious.
In addition to having gym routines and tracking their weight, I also ask my readers and followers to practice gratitude and keep a wellness tracker. By following my 30-day wellness tracking exercise, you will notice and subsequently build habits/activities that restore your strength.
Imagining self-care as self-love
Unmatched consumerism and loss of authentic connections have perverted the meaning of well-being. As a result, something as comforting as self-care has been reduced to sheet masks, nutrition supplements, or expensive spa appointments. I believe that self-care is a therapeutic act that goes beyond cakes or cosmetics. True self-care means disengaging with people who make you feel inadequate, learning to say no, believing in yourself and recognizing the power of positivity.
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