Part II: The Mind-Body-Faith Phenomenon: The Physiology of Optimism, Hope and Prayer

When striving to make positive health and attitudinal changes, it is important to remember that ones’ physical health, mental health, and spiritual health may depend on putting aside negativity and opting for a more positive lifestyle. This is not to say that all illnesses are controlled by the mind; they are not. But as an RN, I am hard-pressed to find a single medical condition that is not affected in some way by stress beyond the appendix. With that said, when the mind is worry-free and fear-free, as is the case when one prays, it is subsequently possible to adopt a more optimistic, hope-filled perspective, as endorphins are released into the body and travel across the brain and body to promote mind-body healing.We have all heard the saying, “It’s all in your head.” Well, that is a very harsh thing to say to anyone, let alone someone who is not feeling well. However, when we recognize the mind as the ‘head of the mind-body connection,’ it pulls a lot of weight, as it challenges us at times to change our thinking, and adjust our attitude for maximal wellness in body, mind and spirit.Like a self-fulfilling prophecy, a glum, negative outlook will likely reap poor results-socially, emotionally, mentally, and physically–especially in terms of general health and wellness. If you suffer from insomnia and say aloud you know you won’t sleep that night, you probably won’t. If you are given a new medication and are convinced it won’t work, the same is true as you may be allowing negativity to enter the situation. Positive thinking is central to realizing positive health outcomes. What we think and say matters, as they both affect our belief system, and the ability to heal.On the other hand, positive thinking is necessary for optimal health and wellness in body, mind and spirit. With a positive attitude, you are able to look ahead with hope and certainty. A positive outlook, fueled by prayer, can allow a person to believe there is a power greater than themselves to help them at every turn, and to heal. It allows people to look forward with hopefulness rather than hopelessness and despair. This new found optimism not only opens wide the gates to improved health and quality of life, but it has, time and again, changed people’s body chemistry and promoted healing.Adopting a positive-thinking lifestyle can allow almost anyone to change their perspective and be more at peace, hence boosting their metabolism and ability to heal. To a large degree, positive thinking alters body chemistry, and decreases the amount of cortisol in the body, effectively promoting maximal health in mind, body and spirit, hence the Mind-Body-Spirit Phenomenon, thus enhancing overall health and the promotion of maximal health.

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