Many consider attitude and mental stress as issues of the brain or mental health. Here, we'll cover the other side of attitude...the physical side. The reason some people get acute and chronic illness, sometimes even fatal illness may have as much to do with how they think as how they eat or exercise. This article is all about the many effects that attitude and stress can have on our bodies, and how to control those effects.
Fear and anger are probably the most devastating emotions that people can experience. Not only do these emotions immobilize us or motivate us to hurtful and dangerous behavior, but they pump into our blood streams harmful chemicals that contribute to many diseases, including stress disorder, hypertension and many more. The main chemical that's over-produced by negative emotions is adrenalin. This drug is produced by our bodies to give us the ability to defend ourselves or to run away from danger. This is how, in emergency situations, people can do seemingly miraculous things. Adrenalin heightens our hearing, vision, smell and taste, and gives us amazing short-term strength and stamina. The next day, when there is no danger, we feel sluggish, muscle aches, joint pain...an adrenalin hangover.
Under normal circumstances, the few times a year we would need this drug would be of no health concern. Unfortunately, our bodies can't distinguish between an imagined emergency and a real one. So, our attitude (loosely based on what we think about) produces multiple fear and anger "emergency" situations each day, pumping unhealthy amounts of the drug into our systems. These imagined emergencies can come from watching TV drama and news, working jobs with tight deadlines or high risk, risky recreational activities, too much domestic arguing, or just thinking about things in anger or worry. If you think thoughts of danger can't produce the same body chemicals as real danger, get on a roller-coaster ride and think about what's producing those feelings in you, since you're in no real danger. Many people become addicted to adrenalin and become compelled to increasingly risk life and limb to get that high. As a minimum, the adrenalin from fear, worry, anger and stress dramatically increases our susceptibility to minor illness and deadly disease. Great! Something more to worry about!
When we fail to discipline our minds and fall into a bad attitude and poor mental habits, we tend to be far more susceptible to common cold and flu. That's because the chemicals in our blood from stress and anger, use up our nutrients and weaken our immune systems. I remember in my twenties, being counseled by a supervisor for being sick too often. I told her that office was an extremely negative, stressful place to be and that it made sense that people were sick there. In fact, that office, with 50 employees, had a higher incidence of illness than any other in an organization of over 15,000 employees. Once I got to move out of there into a more positive environment, I was rarely ill. Why? Because negative emotions weaken our resistance to common illnesses.
Some, Eastern medicine in particular, have gone so far as to say illness is "caused" by negative emotion. Though I wouldn't go quite that far, my experience suggests there is something to be said for the a cause and effect relationship between mental attitude and illness. In my early teen years, I was feeling sorry for myself because my parents were preoccupied and didn't seem to be giving me enough attention. I contracted pneumonia and was bedridden for a few weeks. I felt strongly, even then, that I had brought it on myself. A couple years later, not having learned from my previous pity party, I was feeling the same way for about a week prior to breaking my collar bone. I remember thinking specifically, "If I had an accident, then they would have to care about me." Though it was decades later before I learned there was a large body of evidence supporting the idea, those two experiences helped me to give careful thought to the thoughts I nursed in my mind.
Concluded at Attitude And Stress Effects On The Body-2
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