The Power of Positive Thinking

Friday, May 26, 2017

Let's talk a little bit about how much negative thoughts affect our lives, shall we?

How many of you have found yourself in a downward social media spiral, looking at these photoshopped pictures of women and telling yourself, "I'll never look like that"? Or had a weekend full of "unhealthy" food after a week of exercising and healthy eating and thought, "Well, that was a waste. I won't ever reach my goals I might as well give up"? Or just all-around lost hope to the negative thoughts in your head that told you, "you can't"? (I'm raising my hand high over here!)

Negative thoughts not only affect our results physically, but mentally as well. Thinking negatively about yourself, your situation, etc., releases a stress hormone called Cortisol. Cortisol is best-known for it's "fight or flight" properties and is released in stressful situations for a burst of energy (causes release of glucose from liver). This release of glucose due to increased cortisol (stress) over a long period of time, causes an increase in the need for insulin and eventually increases blood glucose which can lead to weight gain, fatigue and even diabetes. Increased stress is one of the leading causes in obesity, high blood pressure and heart disease these days. Crazy, right?? We can live longer, healthier lives just by replacing negative thoughts with positive ones!

Not only do your Cortisol levels increase, but there is also a decrease of your bodies natural "happy pills" (for lack of a better term) serotonin and dopamine. When there is a lack of serotonin in your body, you brain signals carbohydrates, due to glucose being the fuel for serotonin production, which leads to a sugar (carbohydrate) BINGE! We've all been there, am I right? Wrist deep in a gallon of ice cream, feeling sorry for ourselves for not looking like Women's Health's new cover model (insert eye roll). A decrease in the production of dopamine can cause emotional overload, which can lead to depression, eating disorders, etc.. I'll go more into what dopamine does below.

Now can you imagine what that could do to our personal relationships? I don't know about you, but I would much rather hang out with happy people, than those who are just constantly bashing themselves and others.  

WELL that was depressing! Now let's talk about how we can turn that frown upside down!    



Now that we know a little bit about what happens when we have negative thoughts, let's talk about what happens when we have positive, happy thoughts! When we think positively of ourselves or our situations, our body releases the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine (also norepinephrine, but I'm just going to stick with these two). These neurotransmitters, like I said above, are our "happy pills". When we have high levels of serotonin, our emotions are controlled, calm, and filled with contentment. "Woooosaaaaah". This contentment and calmness we experience makes going to sleep easier, too! And we all know the importance of rest and recovery for obtaining results, right?? RIGHT! 

Okay, onto the benefits of increased dopamine. Not only does this neurotransmitter have a "dope" name (lol), but it also has "dope" responses in your body! It is the main controller of the "pleasure and reward" system of the brain and aides in controlling emotions, as well as helps keep up focussed and motivated. ALL of which will help you get RESULTS! Physically and emotionally. 

So, what to get from this (very shortened) cortisol, serotonin, dopamine lesson?? The more you compare yourself to others, beat yourself up for eating a cookie, "punish" yourself in the gym, hate on your beautiful body, etc., the more you are putting yourself at risk for depression, eating disorders, high blood pressure, weight gain, the list goes on. You are not doing yourself any favors by wishing you looked like that airbrushed super model. You are only setting yourself back from what you could be, and what God has planned for you. This may sound harsh to some, but I guarantee someone needed to hear it. 

When you replace those negative thoughts with positive, self-loving ones, you are increasing your likeliness to reach your goals (fitness, mental, social, career, anything), your happiness and your overall well-being. If you are constantly putting yourself down, you're not going to progress to the next level. When you stop tearing others apart and start building them up, start complimenting yourself and others, start appreciating and nourishing your body, THAT is when you will grow. THAT is when you will get those results. THAT is when you will live up to your potential.

So let's improve our health, our relationships and live life to the fullest just by replacing positive thoughts with negative ones. And I know it's not that simple. It's not easy to live with a rainbow up your butt all day everyday...life isn't perfect and we shouldn't pretend that it is! But let's start with looking at yourself in the mirror and giving yourself one compliment everyday. Or if you're not there yet, give someone else a compliment! Take some time out of everyday to write down all the things you are thankful for. These are just a few things to help you think on the bright side. 

If you want more help or advice or have any questions, don't hesitate to email me. You can use the "Contact Me" tab, or just email me at fitnutchelsea@gmail.com . Thank you so much for reading!   



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