Take a moment to consider the word disease… it is literally ‘dis ease’. Every thought that we have in our minds translates to a physical reaction in our body. You don’t believe me? Imagine right now biting into a firm yellow lemon. I bet you can feel the sharp sensations in your mouth and neck just by imagining it!
So consider how you feel when you are stressed out; tight neck, hunched shoulders, clenched jaw? We hold tension throughout our bodies so it can be no surprise that there is a distinct relationship between stress and back pain.
Our immune system is very responsive to the effects of stress. By stress I mean a variety of things- both physical and psychological; injury, disease, surgery, undernourishment or even extreme heat or cold.
The stress hormone cortisol actively interferes with our healthy white blood cells if switched on long term. Over time it also destroys cytokines in our immune system which then makes us more susceptible to disease as a result.
So where does that leave us? Happy people are healthy people and by that I mean that by finding better coping mechanisms to deal with stressors could literally save your life. Learning to switch your mindset from a negative one to a more positive outlook boosts immune function and your health as a result.
Try this… Learn progressive muscle relaxation or “deep muscle” relaxation. Progressively tense and relax each muscle group in your body. Learn the difference between muscle tension and relaxation. Make sure you are putting the right foods into your body and exercise regularly or take up yoga.
Choose to spend time with people who make you laugh and feel good (I call these people ‘radiators’) Avoid ‘drains’ that take and suck the joys from life!
Meditate. Use visualization or guided imagery to help you learn to be one with your thoughts. Sit quietly with your eyes closed, imagining the sights, sounds and smells of your favourite place, such as a beach or mountain retreat. Alternatively try a guided audio self hypnosis or meditation for a daily boost of chill.