How Your Thoughts Influence Your Health and Impact the Environment
You are who you create!
Table of Contents
Our body releases chemicals based on our feelings, thoughts, and intentions. These influence our mood, actions, and overall health, such as:
Your Bodies Chemical in more detail:
- Endorphins: These are often referred to as “feel-good” chemicals because they act as natural painkillers and mood elevators. Physical activities, like exercise, trigger the release of endorphins, which can produce a euphoric feeling known as a “runner’s high.” The anticipation or intention to engage in enjoyable activities can also lead to increased endorphin production.
- Dopamine: This neurotransmitter is associated with pleasure, reward, and motivation. When you’re looking forward to something or set an intention to achieve a particular goal, dopamine levels can increase. This is why setting goals and achieving them feels rewarding.
- Serotonin: This neurotransmitter is linked to mood regulation, appetite, and sleep, among other things. Positive thinking, exposure to sunlight, and certain foods can help increase serotonin levels.
- Oxytocin: Often called the “love hormone” or “bonding hormone,” oxytocin is released during intimate physical touch, childbirth, breastfeeding, and during emotional bonding moments. Positive intentions towards loved ones or the anticipation of close physical or emotional interaction can stimulate its release.
- Cortisol: This is the body’s primary stress hormone. It’s released in response to stress or danger. Chronic stress, fear, or negative thoughts can lead to prolonged elevated levels of cortisol, which can be detrimental to health.
- Adrenaline (Epinephrine): This hormone is associated with the “fight or flight” response. Anticipation of a threatening situation, intense excitement, or acute stress can trigger its release.
- GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid): This neurotransmitter has a calming effect on the brain. Activities like meditation, deep breathing, and yoga can increase GABA levels, helping to reduce anxiety and promote relaxation.
Your mental state, emotions, and intentions directly influence the balance of these chemicals in the body.
For example, chronic stress, anxiety, or negative thinking patterns can lead to imbalances that might impact mental and physical health. Conversely, positive thinking, relaxation techniques, and engaging in enjoyable activities can help maintain or restore chemical balance, promoting overall well-being.
Your Thoughts and Actions
For a healthier lifestyle influenced by your thoughts and actions:
✅Exercise at least 30 minutes daily – even if it’s just a walk
✅Break down big tasks and set achievable daily goals
✅Start your day with 10 minutes of sunlight
✅Hydrate through “Nature’s Water Bottles” – Fruits and Vegetables
✅Stick to a consistent sleep schedule of 7 to 9 hours
✅Relax with Meditation, Breathing, Yoga, Massage or listening to music
✅Connect with others every day
✅Have a technology-free time daily and experience the world
✅Design a vision board – visualize and aim for what you want in life
✅Practice Gratitude, regularly identifying and reflecting on things you’re grateful for and share them
✅ Spend time in Nature as it can contribute to improved mood and reduced stress. It may also enhance sleep quality, reduce blood pressure levels and cognitive functions.
Things to avoid:
❌Avoid high sugar, refined and processed foods & drinks
❌Avoid Alcohol and Drugs
❌Reduce or eliminate Caffeine intake (ie. Coffee, Energy Drinks)
❌Avoid Negative thoughts (Do the above ticks, as it will help)
Create who you want to be based on what you consume, feel, think, and do…
How does this impact the Environment?
As we become healthier, so will the Earth, for Example:
✅Walking or cycling instead of using motorized vehicles reduces carbon emissions, air pollution, and dependence on fossil fuels.
✅Being organized and efficient can reduce waste and resource use, particularly in professional settings.
✅Embracing natural light reduces the need for artificial lighting, conserving energy.
✅Consuming fresh produce reduces packaging, such as the reliance on single-use plastic bottles and bags.
✅Regular sleep can lead to better clarity and decision-making, influencing more environmentally conscious choices.
❌ Sleep deprivation can lead to increased appetite and calorie intake.
✅Mindfulness practices like meditation can foster a greater connection to the environment, making individuals more inclined to adopt sustainable practices.
✅Building strong communities promotes shared resources, which can lead to initiatives like carpooling, community gardens, or local clean-up efforts.
✅Reducing screen time saves electricity and offers an opportunity to connect with nature, increasing environmental appreciation and awareness.
While some of these practices directly impact the environment, others contribute indirectly by fostering mindfulness, community, and sustainable habits.
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1. How Do Thoughts and Emotions Affect Health?Taking Charge of your Health & Wellbeing
Emotions, Health, and Well-being Summary
Emotions and Health Connection: Our emotions, both positive and negative, can have profound impacts on our health. When expressed freely without judgment, they don't harm our health, but repressed negative emotions can lead to various health issues.
Impact of Negative Emotions: Chronic stress from negative emotions can upset our body's hormone balance, damage our immune system, and even shorten our lifespan by affecting the telomeres in our DNA. Unmanaged anger can result in conditions like hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and more.
Benefits of Positive Emotions: Positive emotions, as researched by Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, can expand our world view, enhance emotional resilience, and offer several health benefits, including better sleep and faster recovery from stress.
Overcoming Negativity Bias: Humans have a natural tendency to focus on negative events due to evolutionary defense mechanisms. To maintain emotional harmony, Dr. Fredrickson suggests cultivating three positive emotions for every negative one.
The Power of Forgiveness: Actively forgiving and letting go of negative emotions linked to past events promotes mental, emotional, and physical health. The Stanford Forgiveness Project even demonstrated that forgiveness can be learned, with participants reporting reduced feelings of hurt, anger, and physical complaints.
Gratitude's Role: Acknowledging and giving thanks for the good in life greatly influences emotional well-being. Research, including findings by Brené Brown, suggests that it's gratitude that sparks joy, not the other way around.
Positive Emotions and Resilience: Embracing positive emotions can help build emotional resilience, allowing individuals to weather challenges without breaking down. Resilient individuals can confront pain and adversity while retaining a positive outlook, often seeing hardships as opportunities for growth.
2. The Role of Positive Emotions in Positive PsychologyNational Library of Medicine
Broaden-and-Build Theory in Layman's Terms
Imagine you're feeling really happy and content. According to this theory, when you're in that happy state, your mind opens up. You become more creative, more open to trying new things, and more interested in exploring. This "broadening" of your mind in the moment is like stretching out your mental muscles.
Now, over time, this isn't just a one-time benefit. Every time you stretch your mind like this, you're also "building" – gathering new skills, knowledge, relationships, and resources that will help you in the future. So, positive emotions like joy, interest, and love don't just make us feel good in the present; they also set us up for success in the future.
To put it simply: Positive emotions are like a workout for your brain. Just as physical exercise strengthens our body, these emotional 'workouts' strengthen our mind and overall well-being. The theory suggests that our ability to experience these positive emotions might be a core strength of being human, helping us to thrive and flourish. And the more we cultivate these positive emotions, the better off we'll be in the long run.
3. Insufficient sleep: Definition, epidemiology, and adverse outcomesUpToDate
Chronic sleep insufficiency is prevalent in modern society due to factors such as work pressures, personal obligations, medical issues, and sleep disorders. Accumulated lack of sleep can lead to reduced productivity, higher risk of accidents, and negative impacts on mental and physical health. Sleep encompasses two aspects: duration (how long) and depth (how well). Inadequate sleep affects daytime alertness. While sleep might be deeper and longer when deprived, the intensity can change even without significant changes in duration, making duration alone an insufficient measure of sleep health.
4. Effect of Inadequate Sleep on Frequent Mental DistressCenters for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Around 33% of US adults sleep less than the recommended duration, and nearly 20% have a mental illness. This study aimed to explore the connection between insufficient sleep and frequent mental distress among US adults.
5. What You Can Do to Reduce Pollution from Vehicles and EnginesUnited States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Ways to Reduce Pollution from Vehicles and Engines:
- Walk, bike, or use bike-share programs.
- Opt for public transit.
- Carpool or use ride-sharing services.
- Combine multiple errands into one trip.
- Consider working from home if feasible.
- Drive smoothly, avoiding rapid acceleration and braking.
- Regularly maintain your car: get tune-ups, follow the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule, and use the recommended motor oil.
Choose Fuel-Efficient Vehicles:
- When buying a new car, consider vehicles with low greenhouse gas emissions.
- Research using the EPA's Green Vehicle Guide and the Fuel Economy and Environment Label.
- Consider electric, plug-in hybrids, hydrogen fuel cell, or cleaner gasoline vehicles.
- Avoid unnecessary idling as it pollutes the air, wastes fuel, and increases engine wear.
- Modern vehicles don't need "warming up" during winter.
- Advocate for reducing idling of diesel school buses.
Optimize Home Deliveries:
- Consolidate online orders into one shipment with minimal packaging.
- Choose broader delivery time windows to optimize delivery routes.
Use Efficient Lawn and Gardening Equipment:
- For small lawns, use manual mowers.
- Opt for electric or battery-powered gardening tools over gas-powered ones.
- Maintain your gardening equipment regularly.
- If buying commercial-grade equipment, choose those with advanced emissions reduction technologies.
6. Physical activityWorld Health Organization
7. To grow up healthy, children need to sit less and play moreWorld Health Organization
8. WHO guidelines on physical activity and sedentary behaviourWorld Health Organization
9. Nature and mental health: An ecosystem service perspectiveScience Advances
Associations between Nature Exposure and Health: A Review of the EvidenceNational Library of Medicine
Alright, let me break this down into a simpler explanation for you:
Nature and Health:
Researchers have looked into how being in nature affects our health. They've especially tried to focus on kids and teenagers when they could.
Being in nature seems to be good for our thinking abilities, brain function, blood pressure, mental health, physical activity, and sleep. These benefits have been found in studies that specifically set up experiments and also in ones that just observed people over time.
Why does nature help? There are a few ideas:
Biophilia Hypothesis: Humans might naturally have a love for nature because we evolved with it.
Attention Restoration Theory (ART): Modern life can be mentally tiring. Nature might help refresh our brains and attention.
Stress Reduction Theory (SRT): Nature might help reduce our stress because we feel a natural connection to it.
There are other ideas too, like nature giving us a place to socialize or exercise, or reducing bad things like pollution and noise.