For several decades, now, researchers all over the world have asserted that our mental health affects the body. Negative thoughts and a negative attitude leads to us feeling low, our heads fall, our shoulders sag, and our breathing becomes shallow. In fact, it has been conclusively proved that negative moods trigger of a whole chain of physio-biological reactions, which are designed to make us feel this way. On the other hand, positive thoughts and positive attitudes make us feel good, our heads face up, we tend to look up, stand taller, breather deeper and fuller.
So, you see the body is directly affected by our mental health. But, consider this: Recent research reveals that our body also has the capability of affecting our mind. The way you carry yourself, the way you walk, the way you talk, and the way you project your physical self, to a fairly large extent, affects your attitude and mental health. If you are always standing tall, chest out, breathing deeply, chances are that you are projecting a positive outlook. On the other hand, if your shoulders are dropped, and you have couched back, you’re probably passing through a rather dull phase.
An interesting, and potentially very powerful cor orally of this is that we have control over our emotions through our bodily actions and postures. Hence, if we want to feel good or positive, all we have to do is change our body posture. Though it may vary slightly from person to person, the overall ingredients (of the key to a positive frame of mind) are more or less the same. Head high, shoulders back and broad, deep breathing, chest out, and of course the all important smile. As Anthony Robbins put it, “Motion creates Emotion.” The way we move changes the way we think, feel and behave. From the smallest movement of a facial muscle to a rigorous workout, all affect our emotions.
Even the simple action of smiling can make an enormous difference in your mental state. Extensive research in this area proves that the act of smiling sets off a biological reaction that has effects in all parts of our body. It stimulates the heart and the lungs. It increases the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain. The body’s excretory organs function more smoothly, clearing the body of harmful toxins. Imagine such a simple act having such far-reaching consequences. In fact, many doctors are of the opinion, that fifteen minutes of light laughter, on a daily basis, can increase your life-span by about 5-10 years!
The point is that nothing happens by chance. We’ve all been created in a very scientific manner. Every gesture, every movement in the body has some purpose. Some cause us to feel miserable, doubt our abilities, and curse our luck. Others cause us to feel good, optimistic and positive about life. We’ve got to choose the ones we desire.
The Power of Questions
Another way of affecting your emotional state is by changing your focus. This can be achieved very easily through asking questions. In fact, this is something we all do, all the time. We are constantly asking questions to ourselves. However, it’s the type of question that makes the difference. You may constantly ask yourself questions like, “Why do I always get late?”, or “Why does it always happen to me?” or “How can I feel so horrible?”, and chances are that you will indeed feel horrible. The trouble with these questions is that they focus your mind and attention on what’s not good. We all have good and bad happening around us. But we can choose which among these do we pay attention to. If we pay attention to all our failures, all our embarrassments, we can’t help but feel down, rejected and disappointed. And this is what the above questions do.
On the other hand, concentrate on a question like, “What’s great about this?”, and your mind will immediately give you the answer. It will dig into all the details of the circumstance that faces you, and provide you with something that is truly great, something that can make you feel truly great.
Asking the right questions can also help you solve minor day-to-day problems. When faced with a problem or an irritation, instead of dwelling upon questions like, “Why is life so unfair?” or “Why don’t my plans ever work out?”, ask yourself the following questions:
1. What’s great about this problem?
2. What is not perfect yet?
3. What am I willing to do to make it the way I want it?
4. What am I no longer willing to do to make it the way I want it?
5. How can I enjoy the process while I do what is necessary to make it the
way I want it?
Use these questions and you’ll immediately change your outlook towards the problem you were facing. This also creates a positive habit which maintains our mental health.