Our thoughts are akin to small vials of magical potions that can have a tremendous impact on the brain’s health. For instance, if you gulped a vial of positive thinking, your brain will record several benefits like enhanced mental productivity.
On the flip side, just a swig from the negative thinking flask can drench you in a sea of worry. In other words, thoughts play a critical role in your brain’s well-being. Here is an in-depth look at how your thinking plays with the brain’s circuitry.
Thoughts alter the brain’s chemistry
Studies show that thoughts culminate in multiple implications on brain health such as improved strength, vision, and fitness. The way that you think has been found to be linked with the brain’s chemistry. As a result, the direction that your thoughts adopt leads to consequent cognitive and physiological outcomes. For instance, positivity shakes hands with reduced anxiety and a strengthened immune system. In fact, positive thinking is considered an antidote to fatigue.
The other side of the fence isn’t green though. Negativity tends to show you an ugly picture of a situation with all sources of light sealed shut. This is because negative thoughts narrow your scope of thinking. Your thought process loses clarity, and you only focus on whether a matter is a threat to you or not. The focus centers around the negative emotions, and you only see two options that are fight or flight. This limits your response.
Moreover, Rick Hanson, Ph.D., a neuropsychologist, and New York Times best-selling author tells that human brains are biased toward negativity. It is an evolutionary gift, but that means that we concentrate more on the unfortunate than fortunate matters.
This urge to avoid threats more than collect rewards creates a snowball effect of pessimism. These multiply negative thinking until it accumulates to become a giant mass of gloom that can lead to depression. Thus, severely affecting brain health. And a red flag here is the shared border between depression and cognitive impairment. Ever wonder what causes dementia? This is it.
Thoughts program your cells
In addition to the alteration to the brain’s chemistry, thoughts also hold the key to programming your cells. Each cell is lined with numerous receptors. Each of these wait for the arrival of a specific peptide. And it is your thoughts that carry specific peptides that cling to the cell surface. So, if your thoughts are lined with negative peptides, you are programming your cells to await more of such peptides. This means that your cells are tuning to more negativity, whereas, and positivity is declining.
There is good news though. Your cells are replaced every two months so you can reprogram them to be more positive than negative. This consequence of your thoughts extends to your entire body not just to your brain. It has been proven that thoughts impact most of your body’s functions alongside the brain.
These range from effects on your digestive tract to hormonal reserves in the body. Thoughts command the brain to release chemical messengers called neurotransmitters that facilitate communication within the brain and the nervous system. This is how neurotransmitters stretch the impact to almost all body functions to grant you a smile or a frown.
How do negative thoughts affect your brain?
A research studied the consequences of worrying about the performance of difficult tasks. The researchers ended up concluding that people who worried too much about delivering results saw more disruption in their abilities. It was found that the culprit at the heart of the matter was pessimism. Therefore, gloominess hijacks the brain’s ability to think clearly and process information adequately.
Negative thoughts create stress. The stress hormone, cortisol, in turn, breaks down the hippocampus. It is the area in the brain where new memories are formed. It explains why you wake up fresh as a daisy but end up tired as the day ends. If you have had a bad day, cortisol can creep up after stress. Over time, as cortisol rises due to increased stress, positivity declines.
Pessimist thoughts trigger the same response that stress sparks off in the body. The stress gifted by negativity also increases the risk of mental illness. These include schizophrenia, mood disorders, anxiety, ADHD, and depression.
Negative thinking is also associated with brain abnormalities that are particularly evident in the case of PTSD. The alternation can be picked in the disturbed balance between the gray and white matter of the brain. Chronic stress encourages the production of white matter but fewer neurons. This imbalance in the brain affects both your memories and mood. If you or a loved one is going through memory lapses, mental fog and unclarity, it may be a good idea to partake in an online brain test or SAGE.
How do positive thoughts affect your brain?
Optimist thinking is linked with greater stress management. When bombarding our mind with negative thoughts, we envelop ourselves in negative self-talk. This is not the case with positive thinking that reinforces confidence with decreased self-discouragement. Lowered likelihood of depression and distress are also the blessings of positivity.
A study determined the role of optimism and its associated happiness in career success. It unveiled that positive thinking creates improved mental work satisfaction and attracts greater coworker support. Positive individuals also tend to be more productive and live longer.
The power of positive thinking also expands to improved cognition and mental alertness. It is linked with an enhanced ability of thinking and analyzing. Positive thoughts also stimulate the growth of nerve connections along with increased well-being. This is because positivity runs parallel with the production of serotonin and anti-parallel with cortisol, promoting optimal mental performance.
A positive mindset also aims at making you immune to getting emotionally exhausted. Moreover, the probability of a person getting frustrated declines if he combats anxiety with positive thinking. A study also shows that a positive mental frame cultivates supportive relations.
Wrapping up: It is wise to say that paddling in positivity reaps several mental advantages. Negativity is cancer to the brain that should be curtailed before it deteriorates the brain’s health.