From now on, I will invite other writers, coaches, creatives and thinkers to take over this space and write a blog post.
Our first guest writer is Winnie Carmo, also known as Péssima Infeliz, which translates from the Portuguese as someone unable to be unhappy.
Winnie is an Angolan solopreneur coach who loves listening to books, eating popcorn with wine and have philosophical conversations.
Again... can your thoughts impact your health?
The short answer is yes! And even though this should be common knowledge by now, in a society where numbers speak louder than words, thoughts and emotions are constantly neglected and underestimated.
But let us make it clear and say that the thoughts that will have an impact on your health are those that cause emotions that are suppressed rather than let go of, according to Dr. Karen Lawson, from Minnesota University (USA). In simple words, if you suppress a negative emotion, it will boil inside of you and become a moving force, resulting in health issues, not to talk about a bad attitude and moody personality.
Just for you to have an idea, “negative attitudes and feelings of helplessness and hopelessness can create chronic stress, which upsets the body's hormone balance, depletes the brain chemicals required for happiness, and damages the immune system. Chronic stress can actually decrease our lifespan. Poorly managed or repressed anger (hostility) is also related to a slew of health conditions, such as hypertension (high blood pressure), cardiovascular disease, digestive disorders, and infection,” according to this article published by the University of Minnesota.
How to gain awareness of your thoughts?
To know where you stand in terms of impactful thoughts, try the following:
Think of it as mapping out your way through life. You want to know where you’re coming from, what you’re beginning with and be aware of your desires in order to pursue them. Whether you do it through meditation, deep breathing or even the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 grounding technique, find a method to quiet your mind so that you can identify your thoughts.
Monitor your thoughts
It may sound like a magic trick, but we all have it in us. Have you ever caught yourself having a less than desirable thought and wished you could unthink it? Well, you will still have those, except this time you’re going to let them pass through and replace them by a pleasant one or at least a constructive thought. Let’s try it now. “This article is full of bull…” STOP! “Let me do further research on this topic.” See what you just did?
Share your thoughts and emotions
Don’t panic! I’m not telling you to stand in front of an audience and say how you feel when something makes you think you’re not your parents’ favourite child. What I am suggesting is that you take your thoughts out of your head and feel how they may change in the process. That can be done through writing or talking to someone you trust. Believe me! This action alone saved me from self-sabotage and has helped me preserve my relationships.
How to reprogram thoughts?
Once you’ve identified your thoughts, it’s time to reprogram them. Make them like you, instead.
Identify your pain point and amplify it. Have you heard of the pain and pleasure principle? Basically, all it says is that even though we are the only animals that have a neocortex, we’re still moved by basic emotions that cause us either pain or pleasure (or something along these lines). Bottom line is: if you keep thinking that you need to start eating healthy because you want to lose weight, dig deeper into the consequences of not changing your diet. You’ll gain more weight, then you’ll develop a health condition, then you’ll be dependent on medication to live and so on. Be dramatic!
Find reasons to support your main motivation and align it with your values.
I suggest you do exercises such as the 7 levels deep to find the real reason you want a change in your line of reasoning. After that, find supporting data to keep you on track and motivated. Read articles, watch documentaries, listen to podcasts. It was never easier to change and find a new tribe. Check within yourself if this new you is truly aligned with your values and let your feelings talk.
Changing is hard, and it doesn’t happen overnight. Nobody expects you to be a spoiled brat on one day and wake up a saint the next day. Erase your negative thoughts the same way you’d eat a giant watermelon – one bite at a time.
I hope these tips were helpful and easy to grasp. Remember that you are the master of your mind and nobody else can control it.
Stay safe and don’t forget to be happy.
Winnie Carmo (Péssima Infeliz)