The Case for Happy Thoughts
Angry, hostile thoughts bring about rapid heartbeat, a rise in blood pressure, and flushing of the face, among other changes. Anxious thoughts can also speed up the heart and raise blood pressure, as well as induce tremor of the hand, cold sweat, a knotted stomach, and a pervasive weakening, as when we say a person is “sick with dread.”
Different kinds of thoughts must produce chemical changes in the brain in order to account for such physical manifestations. To quote one researcher, “There is no twisted thought without a twisted molecule.”
Likewise, happy thoughts of all kinds, loving thoughts, thoughts of peace and tranquility, of compassion, friendliness, kindness, generosity, affection, warmth, and intimacy each produce a corresponding state of physiology via the flux of neurotransmitters and hormones in the central nervous system.
The profound physiological changes that happy thoughts induce lead to good health because the neurotransmitters that mediate them in the body have a stimulating effect. If, as we have seen, the body’s immune system is weakened by feelings of anger, apathy, enmity, resentment, conflict and gloom, then happy thought patterns should serve to increase the body’s resistance to disease through a similar, but reversed effect.
For thoughts to be capable of curing, they must be innocently held and sincerely believed in over a period of time, because the longer the curative thought patterns influence the appropriate neurotransmitters, the more neurotransmitters can influence the physiology of the brain.
Adapted from Creating Health, by Deepak Chopra (Houghton Miffin Company, 1987).