“As we think, we become”

Optimists live longer than pessimists. This is the conclusion of a study involving 447 people spanning 30 years. Optimists were found to have fewer physical and emotional problems, less pain and increased energy, feeling happier, calmer and more content than pessimists. One of the reasons a positive attitude is important is that it boosts our immune system and therefore our ability to fight disease. There is an increasing body of evidence showing us the powerful connection between our mind and our body. Our thoughts create our words our words create our actions and our actions create our life experiences. So, we need to be mindful of our thoughts.

Self-talk is the kind of internal dialogue we have with ourselves and is very important to our overall mental health. Most people are not even aware of their negative mental dialogue as it becomes almost habitual. Research says that 90% of the thoughts we have today are the same as we had yesterday and the day before. In order to change our thoughts we have to first become aware of them.

Many people who suffer depression have persistent negative thoughts for a majority of the time, sometimes from when they wake up in the morning until they go to bed. If we think negative thoughts often enough they will become our belief. It has been proven that our thoughts affect us at a cellular level and continuous negative thoughts have a detrimental affect on the cell structure which can leave us with a weakened immune system and therefore more susceptible to disease.

Our subconscious mind believes what it is told and if it is fed positive messages it will eventually believe them. Positive words or thoughts have a huge impact on how we feel and our feelings affects our behaviour and therefore what we do or don’t take on in life.

We can change the messages we feed our subconscious mind by practising affirmations. Affirmations are positive phrases that are to be repeated as many times as possible throughout the day. They work by replacing negative thoughts logged in the subconscious mind with positive, nurturing thoughts. It is impossible to have a negative thought at the same time as a positive thought

Affirmations have to be present tense, positive and personal.

Saying these affirmations may feel strange, even silly at first but after a while you won’t feel this way as the subconscious mind will begin through repetition to believe what it is being told.

Examples of positive affirmations would be:

I love and approve of myself exactly as I am

I am calm and relaxed

I handle whatever happens

I am confident, assertive and decisive in every situation

My body and mind are healthy

I am full of energy and enthusiasm

When we repeat these affirmations over and over again the subconscious mind believes these messages and tries to make it our reality.

Affirmations are a fantastic tool to help us replace negative thoughts or behaviours with positive, nurturing ones. Affirmations can be practiced any time of the day. Before you get out of bed in the morning repeat your affirmations. This is a good start to the day. The key to long lasting change is daily repetition of affirmations. You will soon notice the difference in your mood.

Some of you may have heard of the Law of attraction.

This is based on the belief that we get what we focus most on. So, be careful what you think about! If we focus on what we don’t want or don’t have then we get more of the same. You can probably recall a time when you were thinking about a certain person and then the phone rings and it’s that person.

People often say, ‘oh that was just a coincidence’. The word coincide is a mathematical term used to explain how two angles fit perfectly together, we then interpret the word to mean happenstance. I believe there is no such thing as coincidence and that everything that happens to us happens for a reason.

The Law of attraction is very important because if we get what we focus on we therefore have the power to create our circumstances. The words we speak are so important when it comes to attracting what it is we want in our life. For example, you are running late for work and so when you get stuck behind the ‘L’ driver on the way to work you say to yourself “I’m going to be late, there’s no way I’m going to make it on time.” Our subconscious mind goes to work to make your request ie I’m going to be late, a reality and you can be guaranteed you will be stuck behind the L driver and of course be late for work.

Psychoneuroimmunology or PNI is the name for the study of the mind-body connection. The idea behind PNI is that the mind and body are not separate. The ancient philosopher Hippocrates stated “ The natural healing force within each one of us is the greatest force in getting well.”

Western medicine however did not agree that the mind and body were interconnected and focused on treating physical symptoms with drugs or surgery. However since the 1960’s researchers have realised that the mind does affect the healing process within the body.

Our thoughts and emotions are linked to our physical body and we know this to be true for example if we watch a sad movie or hear some very sad news our tear ducts are activated and we cry, or if we are embarrassed we go red, if we are scared our heart beats faster. If we are under prolonged stress we may develop tight, tense muscles in our neck and shoulders.

Visualisation or mental imagery has been proven in being very successful in healing conditions. I decided to put it to the test 3 months ago in treating a condition I have suffered with for over 20 years. To my utter amazement it has worked fantastically and I am delighted with the results proving to me that our minds really are connected to the cells in our body. And by simply using our minds in a certain way we can influence our healing ability.

So by monitoring our internal dialogue and catching ourselves a little quicker when we are thinking negatively we can choose to think more positive thoughts and in so doing, ultimately shape our future. Begin practising affirmations and visualize what it is you want, remembering to be specific. I find this is a liberating concept .