You brush your teeth twice a day to keep plaque from building up and see a dentist regularly for extra maintenance. It’s just good hygiene. But how often are you practicing mental hygiene? Taking about 15 minutes each morning to maintain your mental health is something everyone could benefit from, said Broderick Sawyer, a clinical […]
Emotions play a part in everyday life. Negative thinking and emotions are a natural human response to the stressors of life. However, consistent negative thinking and emotions can have a severe negative impact on health. Prolonged negative thinking periods can lead to a weakened immune system, slower digestion, and declining mental health.
Negative emotions can weaken the immune system. When a person is constantly stressed or angry, the stress hormone cortisol is released. Cortisol reduces the number of lymphocytes in the body, and the immune system becomes less able to repel antigens. This reduction weakens the immune system making the person more susceptible to infections. This immune response explains why pessimists are more likely to get sick than optimists.
Prolonged negativity worsens a person’s mental health. When someone forms a particular negative thought pattern, the mind remains in a depressed and anxious state. Persistent feelings of hopelessness, fear and rage bring disharmony to the body’s natural hormone balance. The influx of harmful hormones brought on by negative responses depletes the brain chemicals required for happiness, such as dopamine and serotonin. Extended periods of negativity can also make a person turn to dangerous coping methods such as substance abuse which hurts every aspect of your body’s health.
Negative emotional responses can disturb your digestive system. The human gut microbiome is connected to the brain. When negative emotions bring on a hormonal imbalance, the brain signals the body’s systems to prioritize a response to the threat. This signal causes the gut to slow down or halt digestion. The sudden negative disruption can manifest itself in physical symptoms such as gas, diarrhea, cramps, or stomach discomfort. This metabolic process explains why someone might have an upset stomach or rush to the bathroom when they get overwhelmed with anxiety and nervousness.
So what can you do to stop it?
Negative thinking can become a horrid habit. However, it can be reversed. One great way to stop negative thoughts and emotions in their tracks is to pray. Being in constant communication with God and meditating on scriptures from the Bible will occupy your mind to the point where there won’t be any room for negative thoughts. When we place our hope in God, pessimism must flee. Trusting in God can turn everything around.
Another method to prevent negative thinking is living in the moment. Dwelling on the past or worrying about the future enhances anxiety. Being content is appreciating what you currently have pushes the disappointment of lacking things aside. Focus on the present positive things about your life. Being mindful and practicing gratitude rids the stress of insatiable want. Whenever you feel defeated over something you want, pause and make a list of five things you are grateful for.
Lastly, practicing self-love can inhibit negative thoughts. Negative self-talk can weigh down the mind and the heart. We must be kind to others, but it’s also important to be kind to ourselves. Try reciting some positive affirmations or complementing yourself for encouragement. Self-care comes in many forms ranging from taking a relaxing bubble bath to setting boundaries with negative people in your life. There are a plethora of other self-care ideas such as painting, going for a walk in nature, doing a facial, journaling, spending time with a friend, starting a new hobby, and so much more. The activities and other things we do for ourselves can have a substantial impact on our mental health. Also, getting the proper nutrients in our food and vitamins is vital.
When we nourish our bodies with the proper sustenance, our digestive, immune, and mental health is improved tremendously.