New Year, New Beginning (Part 3)
In our third “New Year” column, we will attempt to discuss the third part of the “Eat well, Move well, Think well”* motto, the “Think well” part.
We all have some kind of awareness that our mind and body are connected in some way. Most of us realize that our body is healthier when we are happy, or when we “think good thoughts”. Conversely, most of us can think of someone who is always sick because they are so negative! How can our thoughts influence our health so much?
Dr. Candice Pert, PhD in pharmacology, was a pioneer in the discovery of what she calls the “molecules of emotions”. What she discovered is that our thoughts and emotions result in our body producing different neuropeptides – special molecules that are associated with our different emotions. These neuropeptides in turn are distributed throughout the entire body where they will have numerous different effects. In general, happy thoughts and emotions will produce “happy neuropeptides” that will promote health, while negative thoughts and emotions will produce “sad neuropeptides” that will promote sickness and disease. Got it so far? Good!
While it is hard to change our way of thinking, it is possible. When you catch yourself thinking negatively, try to change it right away by thinking some happy thoughts. If you can, think of something funny and smile, or even laugh out loud! The expression “laughter is the best medicine” is a wise one. It will flood your body with “happy neuropeptides”!
Here are some time honoured ways of helping you “Think well” and relieve stress:
• Go for a brisk walk at least 3 times per week for 20 minutes or more. Gentle aerobic exercise has been shown as effective as antidepressants in the treatment of depression.
• Take time to relax/pray/meditate daily. You need some time for yourself, by yourself. Simple breathing exercises can make a world of difference.
• Try a new relaxing/centering activity such as yoga, tai chi, or a martial art.
• Make time to start doing that activity or hobby that you have wanted to start for ages but have not. There is no time like the present.
• Spend time with friends and family – especially the positive ones!
• Watch funny movies!
• And last but not least: Get a chiropractic spinal check-up!
The number of studies documenting the effect of chiropractic on brain function are too numerous to list here, but a few dozen scientific articles and case studies are listed and summarized at http://icpa4kids.org/Chiropractic-Research/Brain-Function/Emotional-Health/. If you have been following our columns, you probably know that we have covered extensively how a misaligned spine (subluxation) will interfere with the function of your brain and nervous system. Proper spinal function is essential to proper brain function and stress relief. This in turn will encourage a healthy emotional state and the production of more “happy neuropeptides” to promote a healthy body. It all works together!
How can you know if you have a subluxation? Only a qualified chiropractor can tell you. Ask Dr. Pert, she regularly consults one herself!
* We would like to acknowledge and thank Dr. James Chestnut for his research and contribution to our knowledge about wellness.