I have been a firm believer that what we think affects our world. There have been a few times that this belief has met me with resistance, mostly from people arguing how the brain and body are separate and the outside world is going to do what it does, no matter how positively I may think. Sure, okay, maybe my morning mantras won’t have a direct effect on one tiny thing happening on the other side of the world, but the mind is capable of more than we consciously are aware.
Think about the last time you had a huge belly laugh. Or the time you ate something absolutely disgusting. Maybe you came across the smell of your favorite flower. Even just thinking of old memories evoke a physical response; maybe you started to laugh again, or purse your lips and cover your mouth, or inhale deeply as if that flower was still there. The connection between what we think and the response we give is real. And it is affecting your health.
If you hit your knee on the same corner every single day, eventually your knee is going to try build some self-protection (inflammation, scarring) around it but never fully heal, or you can change your route so you won’t hit your knee anymore. If you chose to bypass the second option, you will continue to put up with pain, extend the healing time, and possibly not fully recover from it. You could bandage it up, but the cut would still get nudged every. single. day.
Let’s translate this into your thoughts. Every morning you wake up and check yourself out in the mirror. “Ugh, still have no abs. Thick love handles. Flappy arms. And what’s this?! Dark eye circles and pale lips. I really need to diet and get to the gym every day.”
As you reach for your cup (i.e., a 3-cup mug) of coffee and bagel and rush out the door, you hit your knee and curse up a storm on your way to work. Boy, the amount of negative energy you have fed yourself after a period of rest (sleep is when we are supposed to repair, although many people can’t do that because sleep is stressful in itself) has already taken a toll.
Each time our body is put into a state that is NOT homeostasis, that is NOT calm and easy, we emit a stress response. Our hormones prepare us for fight-or-flight, making sure we are in tip-top shape to give that scenario all of our energy so we can return back to a parasympathetic (rest and digest) state of ‘normal’ functioning (‘normal’ as in a peaceful state… no overthinking, worrying, stressing; something not so ‘normal’ in today’s society).
When we are in sympathetic mode (fight-or-flight), we hold on. We get tight. We want to be protected. When we are in parasympathetic mode, our body can do its job of recovering because it doesn’t have to prepare to fight. If you’re constantly adding ingredients to a recipes, you can never fully prepare it to be set to cook. Over the course of time, we have lost our sense of ability to relax.
When we aren’t able to let our body relax, our mind can’t relax (and vice-versa). Our constant thoughts can also create physical pain. Remember my example in the beginning about a disgusting food you ate? That thought triggers a physical response. There are changes that occur inside us every single second… it is truly a miracle how amazing our bodies work. The body WANTS to heal and WANTS to be well or else we wouldn’t have been blessed with organs that regenerate, cells that repopulate, and skin that grows back together.
If you thoughts are imbedded in fear (negative), worry (negative), what-if’s (negative), or could-have’s (negative), your system will emit the same hormones because it’s still living in a state of sympathetic mode, planning how to get out of stressful situations. These thoughts and words also make us tight. Make us want to curl inward and hold onto what we have. Ever wake up from a scary dream in a panting fright? Or a cold sweat curled up in a fetal position? Our unconscious mind emits physical motions.
Now, it’s not all negative. Be conscious of your thoughts and how you speak to yourself. Are you a good coach to yourself? If you spoke your thoughts out loud for others to hear, would they approve of your thoughts? Being self-critical, mean, and demeaning isn’t healthy especially since you are the one who has to hear your thoughts your entire life. Start to make them more kind and appreciative; if you are filled with positive thoughts, the negative ones won’t have much room to take space.
Am I saying that your low back pain is all mental? That cancer is from negative thoughts? Not necessarily. However, besides traumas and acute injuries, many manifestations of our thoughts and surroundings will begin to take place inside of us, wanting us to slow down as if it is screaming,
‘PAY ATTENTION BECAUSE IT WILL GET WORSE IF YOU DON’T!’.
Our body, our vessel, gives us signals when something is our of balance. It’s our choice to keep nudging our knee day in and day out or we can change the route and learn to heal.
Things start small and will grow into diseases. You must check in with yourself on a regular basis. You must take responsibility for how you feel. I walked down an aisle at the store yesterday and it was FILLED with anti-this and anti-that to help any little ache or pain. By turning to a modality that covers up the issue, we are telling our body ‘Sorry! Too busy to listen to you today. Your feelings aren’t valid so I’m just going to ignore you’. And then something major goes wrong when we are stopped in our tracks and forced to listen. Why not prevent that and give ourselves 5 minutes to listen to what’s going on inside?
You are the answer to your preventative medicine.
You have what it takes to heal.
You have the power to live a long and disease-free life.
All you have to do….