Hack your Brain for Wellness

wellnessWhen you think of “wellness,” what comes to mind?  Losing weight?  Eating healthier?  Exercising?   Television and Internet ads constantly bombard and lead you to believe these are the only elements to living a long and healthy life.  While exercise and healthy eating are paramount to leading an exceptional life, there are other elements of health that are within your control.


Having nurturing relationships, connecting with others and being part of a community or group also play a major role in health and wellness.  Dig further still, and you will realize that how you manage your thinking has a tremendous impact on your mental, physical, and emotional being.  In fact, neuroscience strongly indicates that the way you think affects your health, both positively and negatively.


Let’s examine the dark side of stress.   Research shows that being overly-stressed can damage your heart, weaken your immune system, increase your weight and even open you up to dormant diseases.  It can also make it difficult to control your emotions.  And, when your emotional armor is weakened, you make yourself vulnerable to the effects of anxiety, failure, and rejection.  A study by neuroscientists at New York University discovered that even mild negative stress can impair our ability to control fear and handle negative emotions.


There is a cycle here.  Your emotions impact your thinking which, in turn, drives your decisions; Your thinking triggers emotions which, also drives decisions.  What to do?


Suppose there are strategies you can incorporate into your daily rituals which will have a positive effect on both your emotions and your thinking and act as a kind of mental immune booster?  This is the light side.


The following six strategies are proven to rewire the brain and positivity impact your life.  Take care not to dismiss these as obvious or too simple to make a major difference.  They will have a major positive effect on both your thinking and your emotions.


  1. MAKE FRIENDS WITH REALITY: If you can honestly see, embrace and accept the reality of any situation, you can recognize what you can control and make the correct choices. Above all, you can let go of what you can’t control, take positive action towards what you can control.


  1. ADJUST YOUR ATTITUDE: Having a positive attitude affects everyone. Attitude is really a choice. Only after you see things as they really are can you shift your thinking to shift your attitude..


  1. CREATE A SOLID SUPPORT SYSTEM: Surround yourself with people who have a positive attitude and have your best interest in mind. This also means you must have the grit to let go of those people who drain your positivity with their neediness, clinginess or negativity.


  1. ASK FOR HELP AND EXPRESS YOUR GRATITUDE: Family, friends and colleagues need to know you need them. Set aside your ego and pride. Ask for help when you need help.  Be willing to hear “no.” Say “Thank you.”  Gratitude is a surprisingly powerful force for good.


  1. FORGIVE ON A CONTINUOUS BASIS. Forgiving does not mean forgetting nor does it mean you let others off the hook. Forgiving others is only about your emotional health as is forgiving yourself.


  1. CREATE A VISION THAT WILL CARRY YOU THROUGH THE CRISIS: Unleash the power of imagery to quiet stress and fear and create a positive expectation (hope) for the future. Visualization is a very helpful tool that will serve you for life.


The question is: Why don’t more people incorporate the power of their mind into their strategy for wellness?  There are two reasons:  Most people have never been taught the principles of managing their thinking.  Also, many individuals feel that doing something physical like healthy eating or exercising will result in their wellness.  Incorporate these six strategies in your life and you will be on your way to living an exceptional life.