You Are How You Think: The Benefits of Reframing Thought Processes

Thoughts and emotions have a profound impact on physical well-being. In times of sadness and despair, individuals may experience lethargy and fatigue. Meanwhile, during times of joy or distress, it is far more common to notice increased heart rate and overall higher levels of stimulation.

Recognising the connection between thoughts, feelings, and body sensations allows individuals to exert some control over their well-being. It is, therefore, vital to learn how to reframe emotions and cultivate healthy approaches to thinking and feeling1.

The Mind-Body Connection

Different emotions bring different physical changes in the body. For example, at times of distress, the heart rate will increase in response to external stimuli. Each emotion facilitates different sensations, all facilitated by the vagus nerve, which in turn is the source of the mind-body connection2. By looking at some of the most common emotions, it is possible to see how they facilitate certain bodily responses:

  • Happiness – This is an emotion that facilitates the greatest connection and communication between mind and body and is felt all over the body. When people are happy, the physiological response can be seen in a stable heartbeat, optimum digestion, and release of hormones that manifest as the feelings of contentment and relaxation associated with happiness.
  • Depression – Depression has almost the opposite effect as it does not stimulate any form of brain activation. This emotion contributes to a general lack of activity in the brain and body.
  • Love – Stimulates almost the entire body. However, unlike happiness, feelings of love tend to have higher intensity, so contentment is combined with anxiety and nervousness.
  • Anger – Anger facilitates a cacophony of physiological responses that prepares the body for action. These can include elevated blood pressure, dilated pupils, heightened alertness, and increased levels of stress hormones such as adrenaline.
  • Shame – This is a highly complex emotion inextricably linked to social engagement and societal expectations. Much like anger, shame can prepare the body for action, potentially even triggering the fight or flight response3.

It is important to note that specific responses to these emotions can vary from person to person. The differences depend on the complex interplay between biological, psychological, and social factors that are unique to each individual. However, they do highlight how control over emotions and responses means a certain level of control over the body.

The Nervous System

The nervous system plays a pivotal role in the mind-body connection. The central nervous system (CNS) consists of the brain and spinal cord, while the peripheral nervous system (PNS) comprises the nerves that extend throughout the body.

The nervous system interacts with other systems in the body, such as the digestive system and crucially, the endocrine system, which produces hormones that influence mead. For example, in times of stress, the nervous system will recognise the stressor and facilitate the release of cortisol – the stress hormone – in the endocrine system4.

Acknowledging this relationship between mood and bodily sensations is vital for understanding the benefits of reframing thought patterns.

Positive Thinking Patterns

Since emotions have a great impact on physical well-being, it follows that positive thinking patterns can improve overall health.

  • Gratitude – By practising gratitude, individuals can acknowledge the positive aspects of their lives. This facilitates a shift in perspective where negativity transfers to positivity.
  • Acceptance – Embracing the realities of letting go of what cannot be changed introduces balance to people’s perspectives.
  • Empathy – Being aware of the emotions of others not only strengthens relationships and connections but it also cultivates kindness and compassion that can also be transferred inward.
  • Positive self-talk – By replacing negative perceptions about the self with positive affirmations, individuals can boost self-esteem and overall mood5.

Negative Thinking Patterns

There are a variety of different thinking patterns that have negative consequences. These are largely subconscious and are, therefore, difficult to manage. For example, some people struggle with black-and-white thinking, whereby they perceive everything as absolute. These individuals may find that they think in extremes, and so they are predisposed to overly emotional responses to everyday situations6.

Other examples of negative thinking patterns include personalisation where individuals internalise external problems, or catastrophizing, in which people constantly anticipate the worst possible outcome.

Recognising and challenging these negative thought patterns allows for a more positive, balanced mindset7. There are a few practical techniques that can change or disrupt negative thinking patterns – most of these are related to the idea of reframing.

Reframing Your Thoughts

Applying practical techniques that reframe thoughts has great physical and emotional benefits. By reducing stress, promoting healthy behaviour, and enhancing resilience, it has a positive ripple effect on the body in its entirety. Embracing the power of reframing creates harmony between the mind and body. This means that individuals can harness the power of their own thoughts and start to live in happier and healthier ways.

However it is often easier said than done. While there are a variety of practical ways to do this it is best to start with a trained professional who can recommend specific therapies. Khiron clinics offer a diverse range of services that cater to a variety of needs including trauma, specific mental health struggles and more. Our esteemed colleagues can empower you to harness the power of thoughts to improve your physical and emotional wellbeing.


  1. Trauma Research UK (2023) You become what you think about, Trauma Research UK. Available at: (Accessed: 13 June 2023).
  2.  Selva, J. (2023a) Exploring the body mind connection (incl. 5 techniques), Available at: (Accessed: 13 June 2023).
  3. Selva, J. (2023a) Exploring the body mind connection (incl. 5 techniques), Available at: (Accessed: 13 June 2023).
  4. Navarro, X., 2002. Physiology of the autonomic nervous system. Revista De Neurologia, 35(6), pp.553-562.
  5. Mayo Clinic (2022) How to stop negative self-talk, Mayo Clinic. Available at:,psychological%20and%20physical%20well%2Dbeing (Accessed: 13 June 2023).
  6. Mayo Clinic (2022) How to stop negative self-talk, Mayo Clinic. Available at:,psychological%20and%20physical%20well%2Dbeing (Accessed: 13 June 2023).
  7. Meteor Education (2018) How does thinking positive thoughts affect neuroplasticity?, Meteor Education. Available at:,a%20feeling%20of%20well%2Dbeing. (Accessed: 13 June 2023).