Much has been explored in previous blogs about spiritual and psychological perspectives. In this blog we return to our bodies and to Christiane Northrup, who is a medical doctor and has written extensively about the physical body (Goddesses Never Age: The Secret Prescription for Radiance, Vitality, and Well-Being).
She highlights some exciting findings:
- All bodies are in a constant state of replenishment as new cells replace old ones.
- Pleasure is integral to good health because our bodies are wired to repair themselves when we are happy. In fact, laughter reduces inflammation, lowers blood pressure, provides immunity, and improves circulation and reduces pain.
- Research shows how aging can be slowed through mindfulness meditation and exercise.
- Your thoughts and beliefs are the most important indicator of your state of health, and they help slow the effects of aging.
Mindfulness meditation was explained in an earlier blog (see “Are You Contagious?”); the benefits of exercise are well known; and we all seek happiness and appreciate smiles and laughter. The health ramifications of thoughts and beliefs, however, are easily overlooked. Yet with awareness, they are something we can work on:
- When was last time you overheard a conversation of a person complaining and/or criticizing someone who “doesn’t do things right” or "doesn’t hold like-minded beliefs"?
- When was the last time you caught yourself doing that?
- Or maybe you speak to yourself internally with that judging voice?
A useful approach to achieving better health is simply to monitor negative thoughts about yourself, others, and the world. As you become aware of this negativity, think of how you can shift to something neutral or even positive. For example, when I compare myself to others at the gym for not working out as hard or as long as they do, I’ve learned to say to myself, “At 81 years old I’m doing a great job: I can walk two miles without stopping; I exercise every day of the week; I’m not overweight; and I know I am healthy and smile a lot—even if only at myself!”
What are some of the thoughts or beliefs that might be keeping you from greater health? What are some of the areas on Dr. Northrup’s list that you already connect to, or wish you could explore more fully? Comments are welcome!