~ blog post by J.R. Bishop
“We are what our thoughts have made us; so take care about what you think. Words are secondary. Thoughts live; they travel far.”
~ Swami Vivekananda, Indian Spiritual leader of the Hindu religion (Vedanta). Disciple of the famous 19th century mystic-saint Sri Ramakrishna of Calcutta. Founder of the Ramakrishna Order of Monks. 1863-1902.
You don’t have to look too deep into the current metaphysical community to find some variation of this quote. I’m sure Vivekananda wasn’t the first to say it, either. A more modern version is “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.” attributed to Henry Ford. The primary message is that the level of our successes and failures is heavily dependent on how much we allow ourselves to succeed or fail. Sure, there’s always that random chance, that shot-in-the-dark, that lucky winning lottery ticket or that blown tire because of a random nail in the middle of the road. We can’t control things like that but we can influence just about everything else.
A lot of people outside of the community read over the metaphysical “woo-woo” stuff and dismiss it as fluff, but every now and then you see common threads crossing over and into the mainstream media. This is a good thing! It means that we’re starting to pay attention to things that we should have been paying attention to all along. Better late than never.
I picked up a copy of Men’s Health the other day at the store. I used to run marathons and I hope to get back to running again soon, so I figured I’d look for some motivational articles and maybe a new exercise or two. In the February 2014 issue on page 70 they have one of those single-page articles that’s mostly a graphic (most of these publication are like that) but this one caught my attention. The title is “The Price of Pessimism” and it’s a brief-but-to-the-point summary of physical affects of negative thinking. Here a quick rundown of what happens when you have a negative thought, according to the article:
- Amygdala – Negative thought triggers fight-or-flight response
- Spinal Cord – Signal is send through nervous system, organs on high alert
- Lungs – airways dilate, breathing rate increases, higher oxygen demands
- Heart – pulse and blood pressure spike, inflammatory molecules travel through bloodstream
- Liver – liver breaks down glycogen into glucose unnecessarily
- Adrenal Glands – if stress continues, adrenaline, cortisol, and other hormones keep heart rate elevated
- Kidneys and Gut – blood vessels to inner organs contract, slowing digestion and urine production (good only in a true fight-or-flight situation)
That’s just some of the bad, so what about the good? The article quotes Jeffrey Huffman, M.D., director of cardiac psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital saying “Happy and hopeful people are more likely to exercise, eat healthy, and stop smoking.”
What’s my personal view? That developing a more positive outlook in your everyday life will cause you to care more for your life and the lives of those around you in general. The more you care for something the more you enjoy it and that’s what life is all about to begin with.