Deconstructing Attitudes

WHEN I WAS a kid, I was angry about something which I can’t even recall right now. I was so angry that I shut everyone and everything out. 

In that state of anger and bitterness, I slept off only to wake up with a very high fever. I was so sick that even as a child I knew without being told that my emotional state brought it about. 

The Scripture do not let the sun go down on your anger is not so much about the issue of faith and religion. It’s about you. It’s about what it does to you.

You see, bad attitude is poisonous to the soul. Nothing kills faster than the feelings of bitterness and negativity. 

If you don’t mind let me take some space to provide a little insight on the scientific basis of the above ideology. I’m not a veteran in the field of sciences but at least I am a science student with a degree in biochemistry. Moreover, this might just be basic biology knowledge.

The body system is a fluid system. Most physiological activities that occur in the body happen via the secretion of “ductless” substances known as hormones. Ductless here implies that these substances do not flow through any channel to perform their functions. They are released directly into the bloodstream and straight on to their target organs or cells. Their release is triggered mostly by the activities that take place in the mind.

Bad attitude for example, triggers the release of a hormone, “cortisol” which is responsible for most heart problems, nervous breakdown, and cancer related diseases.

Here’s how it happens, when cortisol levels are high as a result of ill feelings, a nerve known as the vagus nerve stretches from the brain to the stomach and hits every organ in your body.

The vagus nerve supplies motor fibres to all the organs of the body, from the neck to the colon. And it also controls the function of some skeletal muscles.

The actions of this nerve is said to be responsible for all known diseases. 

The nerve gets inflamed when your cortisol levels are too high for too long which then cause damages to your organs.

For the vagus nerve to perform its normal functions, cortisol needs to be expunged from your system. And nothing does the job better than a positive attitude. 

Positive attitude triggers the release of another hormone, oxytocin commonly called the “god” or “feel-good” hormone This hormone deflects the inflammatory actions of the vagus nerve thereby providing health and stability to organ functions.

Shits happen in life, no doubt. And most of the times they are completely out of our control. 

The disappointments of life can cause you to see nothing but negativity in your future. You express despondency, belittle your potentials, disdain opportunities for personal growth, complain about the unfairness of life, and perhaps, conclude that nothing you do will ever make any difference in a particular situation.

Does this seem anything like the attitudes you find flowing through you most of the days?

If so, I have both good and bad news for you. 

The bad news is that with such attitude you are complicating and endangering your whole life. Just as I described early on, you are exposing yourself to high levels of (cortisol) which poisons your soul and body, and shortens your life span.

The good news however, is that you can decide what your attitude to every and any situation will be.

Attitudes are nothing more than habits of thought. Habits are acquired through repeated action. This simply means that you can develop a mental attitude that triggers the feel-good hormone as opposed to cortisol especially when shits happen in your life.  

If I have one goal each morning as I rise to meet the dawn, it is this one: To maintain a positive mindset. To smile generously into the free space. To cast off from my shoulders the weight of yesterday’s disappointments, failures, mistakes, and problems. 

There are a number of ways you can ensure to keep tabs on your attitude but I wish to suggest a few salient ones to you this morning.

1. Laughter: I’m currently working at something for myself. I want to train my mind to get to that point where it’s first response to a negative situation is laughter. To laugh out loud and with all my strength especially when there’s no logical reason to do so.  As we were told by scientists, “It takes more facial muscles to frown than to smile or laugh.”

2. Selfless Service: Providing a selfless service for someone or a group, especially those you are better than in some ways, creates an unusual positive feeling that keeps your oxytocin level on fire because it gives you a deep sense of worth and value. 

3. Early Morning Walk: I started doing this recently. Although I’ve been slacking. Taking a lone walk at the cool of the day, when nature is either too young or old, shoots positive feelings into your soul. An evening walk with a friend or lover can produce the same effect. 

4. Hugging: There’s something about hugs that is inexplicable, particularly when it involves people you love and care about. Although it can even be more powerful when it’s a stranger. The experience sends chills of ecstasy down my spine. Hug is interpreted as acceptance and care. And who doesn’t want those?

5. Deep Breathing: Remember those days in class when in between the lessons, especially when it seems the subject is too hard to assimilate, the teacher would ask us to stand up and take a long long deep breath before he continues with the class. I’ve always wondered how that changes anything. But the truth is, it does a lot. It brings with it a deep sense of relief and calmness that says; “relax, this is not something you can’t take care of.” 

6. Listening to Music: Lying down in bed listening to soothing music can create magical feelings within your soul. This is why women in labor are advised to listen to soothing music. I do this many of the times. Music is the new sexy. Not all of them though. There are all sorts of beats and lyrics out there parading themselves as good music. You should be wise enough to select the kinds that breed the positive feeling you need. The ones that get you pumped up.

By all means, keep tabs on your attitude.