There has been a lot of research that discusses the power of positive thinking in your health and for that in your fitness level.
Positive thinking impacts your body on many levels, and also affects your actions, but at the same time, your body (biochemical and nutritional factors) also influences your mind.
On one side, a lot of biochemical changes occur when you are positive, for example, positive thinking helps to keep your hormone levels consistent; it boosts your immune system.
On the other side, positive thinking makes you feel like taking care of yourself and takingactions towards that. Negative thoughts, on the other hand, sabotage your efforts towards getting healthy and fit. “Why worry about working out so hard if I will never lose weight, or I will never have those awesome 6 pack abs.”
In the same way that your thoughts affect your body, your body affects your mood and your thoughts. If you are feeling bad, it would be more difficult for you to have positive thoughts. A big example of this is how the food you eat affects your mood. If you eat for instance a lot of sugar, you will feel a rush of energy for a bit, but then, when your blood sugar level drops you will get the emotional crash feeling of depression and tiredness.
Your emotions and your digestion:
Conversely, your emotions also affect your digestion, which will directly affect your fitness results and your health.
When you are angry, stressed or fearful, different hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol are released into your body. That release signals for the fight or flight response causing you two very important problems: On the one hand, it shuts down your digestion, and on the other hand, it constricts your blood vessels. In addition, to these changes, other biological changes occur that will affect your thinking, or how quickly your brain will react to a given situation.
This situation not only will affect the absorption of the foods you eat, but also the foods that you will choose and your cravings, which also will worsen your digestion even more.
Another interesting point is that the chemicals discharged by the amygdala (a roughly almond-shaped mass of gray matter inside each cerebral hemisphere, involved with the experiencing of emotions) through negative emotions like fear, anger, stress or anxiety will remain in your body for 72 hours, unless you neutralize them.
As an example of the power of these chemicals, Ann Musico, a certified Biblical health coach and independent nutritional consultant, mentioned that in an experiment when they injected blood samples into a guinea pig from an angry person, sadly, it died.
Bottom line, eating bread and water in a happy mood would be better that eating the best delicacy while you are in a negative mood.
Stress and anxiety affects muscle growth
Great amounts of cortisol also have a negative repercussion in the development and growth of your muscles as well as on your health, mood, body composition and performance.
An excess of cortisol will cause the breakdown of muscle tissue which is called a “catabolic effect”. This breakdown is associated with the reduction in anabolic hormones like IGF-1 and GH responsible for muscle growth. The cortisol and adrenaline increase while DHEA (Dehydroepiandrosterone which produces androgens and estrogens) and testosterone decrease.
Additionally, cortisol will increase the insulin´s ability to produce more leptin, which is known as a fat accumulating hormone.
Proteins from your muscles are dumped as amino acids into the bloodstream, which will be converted into glucose. At the same time, in direct response to the fight or flight effect, cortisol causes the release of fatty acids from within your fat cells and sends them to the muscles to be used for energy. Since there is not a real threat (such as a fierce saber tooth tiger chasing you down), your body stores that glucose as fat, rather than converting it into energy.
While cortisol is necessary for the correct metabolic function, an excess of it not only will keep your body in a catabolic state (breaking down muscle and storing fat), but also it will suppress your muscle recovery since the testosterone has decreased. Remember, your aerobic and anabolic muscle fibers must recover from your workouts in order to grow and improve their capacity to exercise.
How can you achieve positive thinking?
Make a habit of focusing on what you have, be grateful for what you have. See what youhave accomplished rather than what you still need to do. Pertaining to fitness and weight loss for example, do not look in the mirror or the scale to criticize yourself or focus on your “wrong parts “ or the little weight that you have lost. Instead, notice every little thing that you achieve along the way. Maybe you compliment how nice your hair looks, or notice the muscle tone in your arms.
The book “The Seven Day Mental Diet” (Updated for the 21st Century by Jacqueline Garwood) challenges you to live your life without one negative though for 7 days.
The Seven Day Mental Diet
In this book, Garwood encourages you to be aware of your negative thoughts that will actually show up in those 7 days, but then stop them, basically do not hold them and feed them. Change them to something positive.
Not being negative about things, or being optimistic, doesn´t mean denying them, it means taking a positive approach to solve them.
Decide to be curious instead of being judgmental:
Instead of judging everyone, be curious about why they act the way they do. Be more open and spend less negative energy on that. When you judge others you are judging yourself too. Free yourself from the negative energy of constantly making yourself and others wrong.
The same thing applies to circumstances. Don’t judge that everything is “good” or “bad”; everything is not just black and white. Therefore, if something doesn’t turn out the way you want it to, everything must be bad.
For instance, rather than judging yourself for missing a day of exercise, and thinking that the whole week, or even the whole month, is wrong since you didn´t follow through, or that you can´t build habits, so you beat yourself up, just let it go and do exercise the following day.
Develop the habit of finding something positive in every person and out of every situation:
“Sometimes the tough times in your life provide you with the real resources that change your life.” Tony Robbins
We need to appreciate things when things work out, or go well. We have to appreciate them in the present, and learn to enjoy the journey. If you really want to have positive feelings you must focus on what is going right, even if it is something small.
It is important to also be real. You should analyze what is good in a situation but also what is not working.
Decide not to be perfect:
Your goal is to be better, not to be perfect. Things will happen and you will mess up, you will make mistakes and that is inevitable. To expect perfection is the best recipe for disappointment, which will lead to negative thoughts.
When you make a mistake you should realize it, adjust and try it again rather than beating yourself up and probably even quitting, or giving up.
Decide to develop the power of belief:
Positive thinking is basically the power of belief. You need to develop the certainty inside of you by doing the things that challenge you, even if you don´t know if they will work. The only real way to know if something is going to work is by doing it.
You need to have the courage to overcome your fears and act in spite of them and be willing to accept if something doesn´t work and adjust, keep going.
For example: You can find the best diet and exercise plan, but you will know what actually works for you by trying it. Caution, you need to be honest with yourself and analyze if the program is not working for you because it is out of your reach, kind of hard for you to stick to it, or because it is really not suitable for your physical characteristics and you need another type of program. Maybe your body really doesn’t lose weight when you eat grains. Maybe you do really well with eating 3 times/day and no snacking, or you really do need to have healthy snacks between meals.
Learn the 5 steps to utilize the power of positive thinking according to Tony Robbins:
Positive thinking and your fitness level:
In summary, positive thinking will in fact boost your fitness level.
On one side, positive thinking will make you be more optimistic about the results you can get while taking care of your health by eating and sleeping well and doing exercise. This will motivate you to actually take more action steps towards your health.
On the flip side, your hormone levels will be consistent when you think positively; making your body react properly to the foods you eat, absorbing the nutrients more efficiently, as well as the exercise you do allowing the growth of your muscles satisfactorily.
Basically, not only will you be more motivated to take actions towards your health such as exercising, sleeping and eating properly, you will also enjoy these activities more because you will be more relaxed about them. You will also find that your body is working more efficiently to help you achieve your simple healthy life.
If it is true that positive thinking will encourage you to act towards your fitness goals and also it will enhance your hormone balance and many other benefits, it is also true that you should look at the things that are not working so you can adjust your strategies to obtain better results.
And you, what type of physical changes (exercise, eating well, having some tea, a natural energitic green juice, meditation, etc.) you do to your body when you are feeling down?
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By Carina Franco yoursimplehealthylife.com