A Mental Diet for Your Body to Heal: The mind is a powerful tool for creating the experiences we choose in life. It is said that everything in life exists twice — first in the mind and then in reality.

What happens when our mind wanders is that we move through life unconsciously. How many times have you found yourself thinking about a subject, experience or person having no recollection of the thought chain that got you there? Or in conversation with another person, you end up talking about something unpleasant that makes you feel a negative emotion. Suddenly you ask yourself, why are we talking about this?

In the absence of attention and focus,
there is also a lack of intention
and purpose in the life we create.

Just as we nourish our body with food, water and exercise to keep it healthy, it is vital to become aware of our thoughts and choose those that cultivate a clear and focused mind. It is important that we train our attention to fully engage in the present moment, lovingly observing the content of our mental world. This practice will gradually shift you towards mindfulness and away from a mind conditioned to work on autopilot.

We are familiar with sayings such as “the mind is everything, what you think you become.” Another variation is, “whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” Amazing as these truths may be, our logical mind gets confused and anxious trying to figure out what it all means. We try to interpret our world according to physical sensations and tangible experiences.

It’s even more mind boggling to consider that our own perception of reality is unique. Every human on earth is experiencing time and space in a different way than anyone else. If one person thinks this is a sad day and another one thinks it is a happy day, they are both right. Both are creating and experiencing different versions of reality true to themselves. If you think you are smart and prosperous, you are right; if you think you are stupid and always fail, you are also right.

Psychoneuroimmunology is a branch of medicine focusing on the relationship and communication between the brain and immune system. Thoughts provoke emotions, which are translated into substances that trigger a chemical reaction. This has the effect of optimizing or weakening our functional state and immune system.

Studies of the immune system under prolonged stress were conducted in cancer patients. Investigators demonstrated that the illness-induced sensation of threat negatively influenced the patients’ perception of their health condition. In effect, the neuroendocrine processes were being altered.

Becoming mindfully attentive and highly selective in our thoughts can make or keep us healthier. This goes along with monitoring the positive and negative emotions those thoughts provoke, knowing they are reliable indicators of our well-being status. Practices like yoga, meditation and self-appreciation are tools worth using to support this journey.