Can You Think Yourself to Good Health?
James Allen, author of the timeless book As a Man Thinketh, said, The body is the servant of the mind. It obeys the operations of the mind, whether they be deliberately chosen or automatically expressed. He also said, Disease and health are rooted in thought…..There is no physician like cheerful thought to dissipate the ills of the body. If this is true, then can you think yourself to good health? It would seem so.
We discuss eating, exercising, maintaining healthy hormone levels, avoiding bad habits, and other strategies to live a healthier life, but many times we ignore, or fail to recognize the importance of attitude and the power of thought to improve our health.
We are what we think about most. So if you want to be healthy, engage in healthy thoughts that ultimately will spill down to healthy behaviors. The best way to change behavior, the ultimate requirement to improve health, one must first change their thoughts.
Change your Thoughts
You can change behavior with brute force and determination, in other words, willpower. But, you can only sustain that approach for 90 days or so. Ultimately, most will resort to their old unhealthy ways. So willpower alone has not been shown effective.
You have to change the way you think about whatever it is you want to change, in this case, your health.
To change your thinking you have to first feed your mind the truth about any given topic. Now when it comes to health there are always going to opposing or contradictory views on what is the best exercise or what is the best diet. So you will have invoke some personal judgement into the equation.
Keep this in mind. Conventional wisdom frequently is wrong. Ken Cooper, MD, PhD who coined the word “aerobics” and the person arguably most responsible for the fitness movement in this country, nearly lost his medical license in the early 1970’s because he was encouraging patients over 40 to exercise which was contradictory to conventional wisdom at the time despite little evidence to suggest exercise was harmful in that population.
So read up on good health practices. Read as much as you can. Once you learn more you should see a shift in your thinking. That will lead to change in your feelings about your health which will then lead to a change in our behavior that will be long lasting.
Attitude and Purpose
There’s more to good physical health than good health habits. What gets in the way of truly living a healthy energetic life is the willingness to be less than you’re capable of becoming – doing enough to get by if you will. Healthy energetic people do not simply plod through the day; they make the day.
Develop a good attitude about everything you do. Happier people are healthier people and attitude is a key to happiness.
I’ve met more than a few who despite some less than desirable health habits lived long and meaningful lives because they have lived purposed fill lives. Individuals who approach life with purpose seem to naturally have healthy attitudes.
They aren’t immune to stress, but are able to manage it and put it in perspective. They see setbacks as opportunities to start anew with a better plan. They’re positive, grateful, and thankful. They possess that unique ability to make those around them feel better. They see the good in all people and all events and circumstances. They rise above difficult circumstances and do not allow themselves to get bogged down by pettiness. They also seem to enjoy the aging process.
We discussed the mind-body connection in our book review on Change Your Brain, Change Your Body, by Daniel Amen, MD. Add In As a Man Thinketh to your collection.
James Allen discusses the power of positive thinking and its effects on our character, our circumstances, our health, our achievements, and our purpose. As a Man Thinketh is a short book (about 50 pages), but it is impactful. Originally published in 1903 its wisdom remains timeless. Reading and applying its wisdom will change your life.
While Dr. Amen emphasizes the science and biochemistry of the brain and the brain’s effect on the rest of the body, Mr. Allen approaches the power of the brain from the perspective of thought. The brain is powerful and as Mr. Allen says “Thought is the fountain of action, life, and manifestation; make the fountain pure, and all will be pure.”
Think yourself to good health. Change your thoughts and you will change your health and your world.