Writes Dr. Barsky: “We ‘burn’ with anger, ‘tremble’ with fear, feel ‘choked up’ with sadness; our ‘stomachs turn’ with revulsion. Everyone tends to experience unpleasant emotions as unpleasant bodily symptoms and thus to feel physically distressed when emotionally distressed.”
The good news is that we have the power to change negative thoughts and feelings into positive, rational, motivating thoughts, and in doing so, help create a healthy mind in a healthy body.
This transformation, which is part of emerging fields in psychology focused on mind-body health, is very important because it can greatly boost our chances of achieving what we want in life, including a fitter, healthier lifestyle.
“By changing our minds, we really can change our lives,” asserts Dr. Arvon.
The Healthy Mind and Body Connection
Mind-body medicine originated more than 4,000 years ago, when physicians in China noticed that illness often followed periods of frustration in their patients’ lives. Today in western societies like the U. S., medical professionals also share the view that emotions, life events, and coping skills can have a very strong influence on health.
Healthy mind-body medicine is now part of exciting new fields such as psychoneuroimmunology and behavorial cardiology.
Healthy Mind-Body Program
Don’t let personal obstacles hold you back. At Pritikin, you'll clear a path to wellness and weight loss. Behavior Change Program
Psychoneuroimmunology focuses on the relationship of our thoughts and emotions to our brain chemistry and immune system.
Behavioral cardiology is the application of psychological and social factors in the assessment and reduction of cardiovascular risk. It is an important field for a number of reasons, including reducing recurring heart attacks, helping patients recover sooner, and improving family support.
Chronic stress can make us fat – and sick
It is the long-term consequences of an anxiety-filled existence that are particularly troubling. Over time, chronic emotional and psychological stress can:
- Promote fat storage
- Retain salt in the body
- Destroy the body’s resistance to cancer, infections, and illness
- Cause infertility and sexual dysfunction
- Exacerbate diabetes
- Deposit cholesterol in blood vessels
- Accelerate heart rate and increase blood pressure, and thicken blood so it clots more readily, which makes you more prone to suffering a heart attack or stroke
Calming the mind
To guide people toward healthier states of mind, emerging throughout America are major medical centers with wellness divisions offering stress management, relaxation training, guided imagery, and cognitive therapy techniques.
Having a hard time losing weight? Learn about Mindful Eating For Weight Loss
Out of control? Learn 3 key strategies for How To Stop Binge Eating
Guests at Pritikin are also introduced to and practice many of these techniques. “Add them to healthy eating and exercising,” encourages Dr. Arvon, “and you maximize your control over your well-being.”
Attitudes, feelings, and behaviors that are linked with a healthy mind and body
A key goal of mind-body techniques is achieving an overall approach to life known as stress hardiness. Stress hardiness is associated with four important personality traits that buffer the impact of stress and improve coping. These characteristics of the stress resistant or healthy personality are identified as:
An attitude of curiosity and commitment to yourself, your loved ones, your work, and the world.
The belief that you can respond effectively to situations that arise in your life, rather than feeling hopeless and incompetent.
The ability to see change as exciting and an opportunity for growth rather than viewing it as frightening and fearing failure.
The enduring assurance that you are understood and validated by those you are closest to.
Other attitudes, feelings, and behaviors that are linked with good health include:
Social support, explains Pritikin psychologist Dr. Arvon, is protective against the effects of stress and has been found to be associated with longevity.
By keeping a journal or speaking with others, emotional disclosure helps people cope with events. Also, people who use these strategies have lower blood pressure and report fewer health problems compared with people who don’t.
Humor has been demonstrated to have “stress-busting” qualities and reduces the body”s physiological response to stress.
Healthy Mind-Body Education at the Pritikin Longevity Center
To maximize emotional well-being and the ability to make positive changes, Dr. Arvon guides guests at Pritikin through a five-seminar series, entitled:
- Healthy Mind, Healthy Body
- New Thoughts, New Behaviors
- Taking Charge of Stress
- Listening and Being Heard
- Managing Your Moods
“The seminars help our guests develop the valuable skills needed to take charge of their emotional lives,” explains Dr. Arvon. “That’s so vital because a healthy mind can lead you to a healthy body – and a much happier life.”
More Healthy Mind, Healthy Body Articles
- How To Stay Sharp As You Age
- Top Tips For Living a Long, Healthy Life
- The Two Faces Of Anger, and How To Deal With Anger Issues
- Foods That Promote Sexual Health
- Does Anger Hurt Your Body?
- How To Keep New Year’s Resolutions
- Reducing Holiday Stress | 5 Simple Strategies
- The Hunger Scale: Mindful Eating for Weight Loss
- Holiday Healthy Eating and Exercise
- Difficult Relationships and the Three C’s that Fix Them
- Taking Pritikin On the Road
- Mindfulness and Weight Loss
- Tap Into Pritikin Twitter Talks
- Twitter Talk: #FITvsFOOD Round Two
- Inspirational Weight Loss Quotes and Motivational Tips
- Lower Stress Equals Lower Weight
- Spafinder Wellness 365 and Pritikin Talk about the Diet Game on Twitter
- Twitter Talk: #FITvsFOOD is better
- Exercise Your Imagination and Burn Calories!
- Twitter Talk: Tips for Eating Out
- Pritikin Longevity Center Opens In India
- 9 Tips For Controlling Holiday Binge Eating
- 7 Healthy Holiday Travel Tips
- Beating Back the Blues
- A Shortcut to Good Health
- Mind Power: Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease & Dementia
- Healthy Tips for Holiday Survival
- What is Your Lifestyle IQ?
- 10 Tips For Couples:
- Managing Stress – Tools For a Healthier Mind
- Are You Stressed? Review These Stress Symptoms
- Tip #1 For Stress Relief
- Meditation Benefits – Just 5 Sessions Curb Stress
- How To Stop Binge Eating
- Positive Thinking: Your Heart Will Thank You
- So Now What: Getting Healthy and Staying Healthy
- Seize on the C’s to Ease Your Way to Change
- Declare Your Own Independence Day!
- View It, Don’t Chew It!
- Strong Mind, Happy Mind, Successful Mind in 15 Minutes a Day!
- Make your Pritikin Challenges into Winning Choices!
- When You’re Struggling, Use This Four-Letter Word!
- Outsmarting Your Inner “Brat”
- Stay Online to Stay In Line
- Knowledge is More Blissful
- Support or Saboteur?
- “I’ll Think About It Tomorrow”: The Scarlet O’Hara Holiday Syndrome
- Brain Fitness: Strategies to Improve Your Memory
- You Eat What You Think, So Catch Those Thoughts!v
- Stalking the Wild and Wily Celery
- Take Charge of Your Thoughts and Be A Pritikin Success
- Oscar Wilde and Life Style Change
- Put An End To Compulsive, Mindless Eating
- Use the Three M’s To Stay On Track
- Mindful Eating
- Learn To Analyze Your Successes And Lapses
- Travel Light this Vacation: Pleasure without the Pounds