Mood, Mental Health and You!

My husband and I have been researching positive affirmation and how positive thinking can be beneficial to our health. We’ve also been applying it to our lives. I started reading a few medical studies from Johns Hopkins Medicine, the Mayo Clinic and The National Institute of Health. These studies indicate that people who are more positive may be better protected against the inflammatory damage of stress. Having hope and positivity can help people make better health and life decisions. It also helps people to focus on long-term goals. I guess if you are sad, you don’t want to prolong those bad vibes by thinking of the future because your current situation is a bit bleak.

The Benefits of Positivity

The data indicates a strong link between positivity and health. Additional studies have found that a positive attitude improves outcomes and life satisfaction across a spectrum of conditions. Some conditions that start to affect people after years of dealing with stress and negativity include traumatic brain injury, stroke and brain tumors.

When I was very young, an uncle of mine told me that smiling is good for your body and soul. I researched about the power of smiles. I found quite a few health benefits of this simple facial exercise.

  • Smiling releases endorphins which help a person feel happier and more positive
  • Smiling lowers blood pressure
  • Smiling strengthens your immune system
  • Smiling aids in a younger appearance

Effective counseling, cognitive and psychotherapy are effective tools in mental wellness. We are told about the effectiveness of positive thinking in improving mental stability. It also helps in developing consistency in mood and emotion. Have you ever met a person who exhibits happiness in every circumstance, even if they’re in an uncomfortable environment? Sometimes, it annoys people to no end. I think it is a subconscious effort to recognize the overwhelming advantage of being happy no matter what.

How Negativity Affects Us

Negative emotion effects the brain by activating a brain region known as the amygdala. This portion of the brain is used for processing fearful and threatening stimuli. As a defensive function of the body, the amygdala can be rather useful. Too many stimuli in this brain area can create large amounts of anxiety and once activated, the amygdala takes different amounts of time to recover in different bodies. Those who take longer to recover are at a greater risk for a variety of health woes in comparison to those who recover more quickly.

A positive mood has been found to enhance creative problem solving and flexible, careful thought. This can easily translate back into advantages for the body in the form of more fluid, efficient movement. This leads to less injuries in performing daily tasks such as lifting and any functions involving repetitive movement.

I also found that negativity causes the mind to wander. If I am angry, sad or more than a little aggravated, I get a lot less work done. Sometimes, I become even forgetful and after some time, lethargy and tiredness set in. In dealing daily with an auto immune disease, intense negative emotion or a prolonged bad mood could easily trigger a flareup with bad results that could last anywhere from days to weeks.  

The Power of the Spirit

The spirit is the gas that fuels the body and mind. Your spirit is the buoy that holds your emotions and character afloat and distinct from everyone else. There are a few different names: soul (endlessly debated), the psyche, essential self, inner being, inner self and others. A friend of mine who is a foodie likes to describe spirit as the secret sauce that makes us deliciously unique.

It would stand to reason that this intangible essence can be affected by emotion, mood, positivity and negativity. From everything that I have been reading about the spirit, it’s impact on the human species is invaluable. Consequently, many of the ways I found to increase the positivity of one’s spirit rests in things and practices that are unique to the individual as the spirit itself. Allow yourself to love or be loved. Hone your sense of appreciation of people, nature, art, emotion, intelligence, understanding, wonder and life. Strengthen your connection with things outside and greater than yourself. A higher power, a higher calling, a stronger tether to the universe or a dedication to knowing your true and pure self.

Changing Negative Energy to Positive

The First Law of Thermodynamics states that energy is always conserved, it cannot be created or destroyed. In essence, energy can be converted from one form into another. If this is the case, then we can change negative energy (mood or thoughts) into positive, regenerative, healthy energy to sustain the mind, body and spirit. Think positive. It just might save your life.

About Merlisha Henderson: Merlisha uses an Edge 3 Power Wheelchair for mobility and lives in Arizona with her family. As a wife, mother and disability advocate in her community, she stays active and independent, working toward bringing equality and access to all. Click here to learn more about Merlisha.