Energize Your Day!
It was in the 1950's when Drs Weiss and O.Spurgeon English wrote in their work "Psychosomatic Medicine": "All illness is a problem of disturbance of psyche (mind or soul) and soma (body), hence all medicine is psychosomatic medicine." They established their medical practices on the basis that emotional and mental health directly affects physical health. Can we affect our own health by re-educating our emotional and mental perceptions?
Here are 5 ways that have brought about changes in emotional attitude, and helped others toward better health:
1. The 'Greater Good'. When people devote themselves to something they perceive as greater than themselves the results are astonishing. Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, are excellent examples of individuals whose strength came from their work in helping others and in bringing forward a cause that was for the greater good of all. When we recognize a need greater than our own and devote ourselves toward resolving that need, we become empowered through this work. For example, reaching out to save another has made heroes of casual by-standers. Establishing our work for the greater good on a daily basis, through our careers or in our communities, expands our endurance, courage, and strength. The teacher encouraging a student, the mother comforting a child, the co-worker filling in for someone fallen ill, all these are ways that individuals impact the betterment of society and bring about personal fulfillment through successfully helping others in their daily walk. Devotion to a greater good is a definable way that leads to better health.
2. Gratitude. Thankfulness is food to the soul. It goes beyond muttering a trite "Thank you". Health improves through gratitude because gratitude brings the healing effect of joy, happiness. To thank someone is to recognize the actions from another that directly benefited us. We become aware that someone considered us deserving, worthy, commendable, making a deep impact on our emotional health. Individuals without gratitude are individuals without hope or expectation which can lead to emotional disorders. Did you know that gratitude is different from praise? Gratitude is the acknowledgment that praise was given. For example, we can praise another but we cannot make them grateful that they were praised. Gratitude is a healthy reaction to something good received and serves as a motivating power for compassion and generosity.
3. Learning something new. Here is a great way to stimulate the brain by waking our deductive reasoning, and exercising our memory functions. There are so many resources available. The gift of the internet is the knowledge it offers, the academics it provides. Also, the local library, the neighborhood book club, the local senior center classes, these are just a few of the ways that bring enrichment and fresh thought into our lives. Seizing the opportunity to broaden our outlook, to learn a new skill, become involved in the world that lies beyond our own home, these experiences invigorate social skills, increase tolerance toward differing cultures, construct pathways to mediation and problem solving. The changes of attitude that come from learning something new tend to be permanent and healthy.
4. Forgiveness. Many assume the word forgiveness means to excuse, or to forego, any consequences for wrong action. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary actually defines the word 'to forgive' as: "To cease to feel resentment". This explains that forgiveness is a conscientious, emotional resolution and not just ignoring, or excusing wrong actions. Forgiveness redefines our perspective, guiding emotional trauma toward resolving reactions to an offense done by another, or by ourselves. Keep in mind that apologies and forgiveness are not the same. An apology is only an expression of regret. We may or may not choose to forgive someone who has apologized to us. But considering Merriam-Webster's definition, the best choice to make would be: "To cease to feel resentment". This is activating forgiveness and taking control of our reactions. It allows psychological trauma to mend and brings a stronger ability to cope with the stages of conflict within ourselves.
5. Cognitive Renovation. The work place offers vacations to employees in order to keep them refreshed. We should consider setting aside personal time for ourselves for rest and renovation for our emotional health as well. Whether the source be religious, adventurous, romantic, or educational, wholesome stimulus enriches the mental attitude and directly affects the bodily functions. One source of stimulus is laughter. Genuine laughter and comedy are very effective in countering fits of rage. Another source is music. Using soothing music quiets nervousness and anxiety. Trips to the countryside, to the beach or the lake, where we take in the vastness of the view and connect to a larger sense of serenity, creates better patience and endurance. A common antidote for apathy or melancholy is to take up an active new hobby. Jogging, swimming, golfing, horseback riding, all these trigger the body to renew and refresh our cognitive skills and keep us feeling younger and healthier.
These are just a few steps that you can use to enrich your mental attitude and find a way to better emotional and physical health.