The One Factor That Holds the Power to Change Your Life in an Instant

"Whether you think you can or whether you think you can't, you're right." -Henry Ford

Have you ever heard of a self-fulfilling prophecy?

Ever had a feeling something would go wrong, and then it did? It probably left you wondering if it was intuition, or if your bad feelings caused you to act differently than you would've bringing about the negative outcome. The answer is likely the later.

You've likely experienced this at one time or another, and are likely experiencing this every day without even being aware!

So how do you know if this is you?

Are you struggling with your health? Not feeling quite as energetic and confident as you hope you will someday?

You might be setting yourself up each and every day for a self-fulling prophecy when it comes to your health just by being in the wrong mindset! 

When you believe something will go wrong, you set yourself up for failure. In healthcare, we see this every day. At a client's first visit we often hear stories of desperation and how their health is completely out of their hands, that they believe themselves to be victims of their circumstances.

And this is exactly where the problem lies. The minute you start to believe your life is out of your hands then it really is. This creates a vicious cycle causing you to make choices that negatively effect your health because you believe it won't matter anyway... right?

Even if you have a chronic condition, it is possible to live well with it as long as you are willing to take the reins and change your mindset! 

Those that believe they can be healthy get there, no matter where they are starting from. Research agrees that your perception of health influences your behaviors and outcomes more than any other factor, including genetics. 

So Let's Talk More About Health Perception...

Health perception includes what you believe about your appearance, function, and ability to perform physical activities. Higher self-perceptions of health leads to a move active lifestyle because you are confident in yourself and believe your choices make a difference. 

Research shows that those who perceive themselves to be healthier are actually physically stronger. Older adults who reported a higher feeling of health perception were found to be less likely to fall, be more flexible, and scored higher on physical tests and measures.

So as we can see, the more you feel confident in your ability to accomplish a physical task, the more likely you are to do it! This in turn promotes the choice to be more physical activity, increasing strength, flexibility, and coordination. Improved confidence in your abilities keeps you moving and striving for better. Those who believe they are healthy are likely to be more active, seek out healthy foods, and treat their body well. 

On the other hand, a negative perception of your will lead you to be less likely to be active, therefore more likely to develop chronic disease. For example, research has shown the more you fear falling to more you make yourself likely to fall. Research has also shown that feeling anxious about developing a health condition you don't have is a stronger risk factor for chronic disease than any risk factors. Crazy, right?! Fear and lack of confidence cause you to avoid activity, leading to weakness and a vicious cycle of physical decline.

How to Shift Your Mindset 

The great news is that you hold the power to start living well today! By starting to shift your mindset, even slowly and subtly, you set yourself up to live your best life. 

To gain an understanding of yourself and your current mindset, ask yourself the following questions:

  • How would you describe your current health?
  • What are you doing to promote your health?
  • Do you have any habits that are negatively impacting your health?
  • Are you accomplishing what you want to?
  • Are you doing activities that are meaningful to you every day?
  • Do you have concerns about your current or future health?

Keep your answers in mind, write them down if you need to, and look at them as often as you need to start to change your mindset for the better!

What small steps can you take today to improve your health mindset?

Sources:

  1. Sales M, Levinger P, Polman R. Relationship between self perceptions and physical activity behaviour, fear of falling, and physical function among older adults. European Review of Aging and Physical Activity (2017) 14:17.

 

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