Immunity and mental health
Our body and mind are not 2 different things. They are one and the same. Its just that body is gross and mind is subtle. So, when we talk about the immunity of our body, leaving out mind and focusing only on food and exercise is an incomplete approach. When something affects our mind, it impacts our body as well. And when something affects our body, it impacts our mind too. Earlier, I used to think body and mind are separate. But I learnt it the hard way that both are same.
I remember 2 incidents from my life which clearly demonstrated this to me. I was in tenth class and was appearing for my board exams. It was march. I was very stressed as I did not prepare well. It was last minute preparation. Actually, I was an average student and could have easily managed but I took too much of stress. May be because of my lack of preparation. And then, I got measles which prevented me from giving my exams.
And there was another incident. I had a tennis match. My opponent was really good and strong. So, I had stress and tension about winning the match. And then, on the morning of the match, I got high fever which prevented me from playing the match.
I have also observed in numerous instances from my life that whenever I was angry or stressed or worried about something, my immunity became low and I fell sick within some days. These instances taught me that body and mind are one. When we are stressed and worried, it definitely shows in body in some form. And when something happens to body, it shows in mind.
Now, coming to immunity. We are talking about the strength and fighting capability of our body against an infection when we refer to immunity. Because of the mind body connection, immunity of our body depends greatly on the state of our mind. So, below are some factors which impact our physical immunity.
- Do we get angry, upset and frightened frequently in life?
- How strong are we emotionally?
- Are our thoughts centred around negativity or positivity?
- How strong are we mentally?
- How quickly can we come out of negative thoughts and emotions?
- How joyful are we in life?
- How frequently do we experience love, joy, kindness, gratitude?
If immunity is really our priority, these are some questions each one of us should ask ourselves and introspect. We need to be aware of our mental and emotional state just like we are aware of our body. We try to keep our body clean every day and if there is some dirt on our body, we remove it immediately. Similarly, we need to remove negative thoughts and emotions too from our mind as they are like dirt on our mind. How to do it? There are various solutions and awareness is one of them.
Awareness is a great tool that helps us to handle our negative thoughts and emotions. From my journey, I learnt that fighting with negative thoughts and emotions only makes them stronger and gives them more power. A great practice that makes difference to our mental state is awareness. What is awareness? Let us understand it further.
For example, say because of some reason, you are very angry. When we experience anger, we have two choices. First choice is to go through this emotion unconsciously without awareness.Most of us exercise this choice even without knowing. Because of it, when we are in angry mood, we behave very differently from our natural state. Later, once we are out of anger, we wonder why we behaved in a particular way and we regret about it. When we go through emotions and thoughts unconsciously, they gain power over us and we become their slaves. If our anger tells us to break something, we do it. If our anger tells us to shout at someone, we do it. This is unconscious way of handling anger, which creates problems in life.
Now, coming to second way of handling anger. In this way, we go through the anger consciously with awareness. What does being aware of anger mean? You don’t need to do anything. Just notice your anger like you are observing the anger of another person. Realize that you are angry and acknowledge it. Your anger may tell you to shout at someone. Just become aware of the suggestion and acknowledge that your anger is telling you to shout.
Once you acknowledge the suggestion given by your anger, now you have a choice whether to practice it or not. This is empowering. If you still feel like shouting after this point,shout but shout with the awareness that you are shouting. This awareness tones down the emotion, the action arising out of action and the consequences. Next time , when you are angry and the choice opens up, you may not even shout. As you practice, this refinement will happen eventually.
This simple practice of awareness gives us power over our negative emotions and thoughts. It helps us to come out of the negativity quickly. As you keep practicing awareness, you experience positive transformation in the way you handle your negative thoughts and emotions.
Awareness is something I follow in my life when I go through negative thoughts and emotions and it made a great difference to my life. Along with awareness, don’t forget to enjoy your life. Be happy . Practice gratitude for the little things of life. All these positive emotions boost your immunity.
Wishing you and your family health and happiness!