How Our Thoughts Affect Our Physical Health (Guest Post)

When Women Inspire by Author Christy D BirminghamI am delighted to share a post with you from a friend of mine, Christy Birmingham. Christy is an author and founder of When Women Inspire, a website where you will find poignant articles on a variety of topics that affect women of all ages.

You can also check out her poetry books, Versions of The Self and Pathways to Illumination. I think you’ll find her as fascinating and inspirational as I do. Welcome Christy!

How Our Thoughts Affect Our Physical HealthThoughts Affect Health

by Christy Birmingham

Thank you for having me over to Professional Health Connection today, Joan! It’s a pleasure to be here writing about health, which is a topic of deep interest to me. This guest post focuses specifically on how our mental state can affect our physical health, for better or worse.

About the Mind-Body Connection

Ah, the mind. That complex organ that can keep you awake with thoughts upon thoughts  or seem to go suddenly blank during a job interview. It’s those thoughts – and the feelings that come about through those thoughts – that can alter what occurs within the body.

A happy or optimistic mental perspective, for example, may link to a reduced risk of severe heart disease, diabetes, and colds. A growing body of research is looking at the relationships between these factors, as well as how negative emotions affect health. For example, chronic anxiety brought about by bad or irrational thoughts can increase blood pressure and spiking levels of stress hormones, namely adrenalin and cortisol.

When these particular hormones are continually secreted due to prolonged stress, they can suppress your immune system, grow fat storage, and reduce muscle and bone mass. In other words, the single organ called the brain has the potential to affect many other parts of the body.

Here are some more examples:

  • When angry thoughts raise adrenaline levels
  • If sad thoughts lower energy levels
  • Financial stress can reduce tolerance to pain
  • Scary thoughts can trigger or worsen neck pain

A Note of Caution

But even though thoughts and emotions have the potential to affect physical health significantly, it’s important to recognize that medicine can be helpful in certain cases. For example, I had a bacterial infection earlier in the year, and my doctor prescribed me antibiotics to help heal it. No amount of positive thinking would have cleared up my inflamed airways. Also, a disease is not simply a figment of the imagination.

The Takeaways

Instead, what I am saying is that learning more about the connection between thoughts and physical health can provide you with more opportunity to expend control over your general wellness. While the thought-body connection is only one piece of the pie of health, it is one that is often not taken into account. The body and mind do intertwine, and we can develop our understanding of how it does so through techniques such as meditation and personal introspection.

By honing in on the mind-body link, we can start to delve into what we might be repressing or not addressing that may lessen our quality of life. After all, we can choose to see the good or bad in our surroundings and attach positive or negative thoughts to our moments.

About the Author

Christy Birmingham lives on Canada’s West Coast where she blogs at When Women Inspire about ways to live fully. When not writing, you can find her with a book, walking a trail, or dancing the night away at a local club. Connect with her on social media at Twitter, and Pinterest.


Be sure to visit our Exercise Pages to help you stay active!

Author: Joan

We provide information and motivation focused on the importance of physical activity to our quality of life. It is our hope to help people invest in themselves by staying active throughout their lives. It's that important.

37 thoughts

    1. I’m glad to hear that you’re not letting stress get the best of you anymore, Jill! We all have our moments, of course, but it’s great to tune into the power of the mind as much as we can. So glad you’ve found Joan’s valuable blog here too :)

    1. It’s a pleasure to connect with you too, Lisa! And Joan is another very helpful writer so I encourage you to follow here if you haven’t already. Thank you for taking time to comment and for your positivity <3

  1. So much of what we accomplish or “miss out on” originates with the MIND. It provides clarity as well as a PROCESS for pursuing goals in life. It is often the difference between LONG TERM success and recurring failure.
    Great post to share!

    1. Thank you Doctor Jonathan! Christy is an inspiration to me and as you can see from her website (her website is appropriately named) many people agree! She encouraged me to write about caregiving too – you can read it on her webiste – When Woman Inspire…
      Taking Care of Yourself: Tips for the Caregiver. I am excited about helping people believe in themselves enough to care for themselves and Christy’s writing reflects the same ideals.
      Thank you!

  2. I remember once watching a documentary on Chinese medicine where they pointed out that there is no division between the mind and body, they are one. It amused and confused them that Westerners separate them. The upshot is that they are one and so thoughts do affect every cell in the body. Great post, Christy!

    1. Oh that documentary sounds fascinating, Eliza! Thank you for stopping by to read the post that Joan generously let me write for her here. I believe in the connection between not only the mind and body but also the spirit. Perhaps we ought to peak more into Chinese medicine in the Western world… Enjoy your weekend!

  3. Such a great post. The mind- body connection is so profound. I can definitely relate to stress and emotions have a physical impact on your body. Thank you for posting!

  4. This is an amazing post Joan and Christy. How we carelessly let our mind rule our body! Thanks for sharing this with us.Will keep this in mind😊

  5. A healthy mind is a million times more powerful than a healthy body. A healthy mind is where it all stems from, our motivation, power, success etc. Improve your mental health and the possibilities are endless. Great post!

    1. That’s very true Giovanni – it’s one of the topics that aren’t normally discussed by newlyweds and can break up even the best marriages! Thank you for mentioning it.

Would you like to comment?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.