Negative or extreme thoughts do make us emotionally sick. Worrying about the future and imagining bad things happening stresses us out. Our sympathetic nervous system kicks into gear as if there is actual danger and our bodies release all the chemical and hormones necessary to meet this danger. The brain thinks “Danger” and the body follows.
An increase in cortisol, blood sugar and fats that can be used by the body for fuel in this danger are on overload which triggers body sensations:
- Fast heartbeat
- Muscle Aches and Tension
- Rapid Breathing
Maybe you have experienced them and then you worried even more.
A simple definition of “sick” is our bodies are not functioning well, and we can’t ignore it. We have that nagging tiredness, burning heart, dizzy head, or stomach that feels likes it just got off a ride at the amusement park. Discomfort.
Can the mind heal the body? What the placebo effect tells us
Although I am not a Christian Scientist (a religion which believes in self-healing), close family members in my life were. As a result, I gained a different perspective alongside a more mainstream one about treating illness. I’ve found that both perspectives are helpful in creating a better life for ourselves. Our culture has promoted one over the other and as a result we are often left confused in our symptoms wondering how to help ourselves.
I’m confident we can view bodily symptoms in a medical and a holistic way where we listen to our bodies. Luckily I am not alone with that thinking. This view is where we can step outside of the sensation we call “sick” and be curious towards our sensing alive bodies and minds. We are not just our thoughts we are so much more.
You’ve probably heard of the “placebo effect.” In medical research studies there is the test group and then the control group. None of the participants know whether they are receiving the real treatment or not, but sometimes the control group still improves. They improve medically because they expect something is helping them.
This is true even for people who aren’t in experiments! When we believe we’re doing something beneficial, the body relaxes and lets itself be healed. The placebo effect is a powerful testimonial of the role of the mind in healing our bodies.
Can the mind heal chronic pain or illness?
Recent research speaks to IFS alleviating pain from chronic illness. IFS Therapist Nancy Sowell used IFS Therapy to guide women with chronic illness to develop Self Compassion towards fear and pain. 68 women diagnosed with chronic rheumatoid arthritis who were treated with IFS Therapy reported a decrease in joint pain and depressive symptoms, while Self Compassion increased.
A 5-Step Exercise for Healing Your Body with Your Mind
When your nervous system is in a relaxation state, your body’s natural abilities to self-repair kick in. Here are 5 things to incorporate into your life to accelerate Self-healing:
- Set yourself up for calming down your body. Think who supports you meet with those that support you. Find your love and go there. Slow down so the scenery doesn’t whiz past you. You need to be able to take in what is going on inside of you. That may mean changing some things in your outside life so that you are “doing” less and “being” more.
- Learn about your body and what it’s trying to tell you. These inner messages have been named intuition. Scientific thought has often declared intuition to be make-believe. Not true. For example, when my stomach is upset and tense if I stay with it I realize something happening in my life that is bothering me. I examine what I could do in my life to make this more complete for example.
- If you have gotten a medical diagnosis think of it as a symptom of a bigger lifestyle issue. To get to the root of it you need to be curious about the way you have been living your life. What is going on in your life that doesn’t give you a chance to relax and repair? Where can you change it or get the help you need?
- The IFS lens asks you to consider this symptom is actually part of you trying to get your attention. It has a message for you. Put your analytical, judging mind aside and just wonder what the sensation and “symptoms” would tell you if they could talk.
- If your symptoms are something you were born with, then you were also born into a way of thinking about it. What if you thought outside all those thoughts that were given to you around your chronic illness? What could be possible? A new perspective maybe with a different landscape.
IFS can help you think your way into good health
My philosophy is that everyone has the ability to change their thinking for the better – but sometimes we need extra help. If you can’t get a handle on chronic pain, anxiety or depression, get in touch. I can help guide you into your natural ability to heal your body with your mind. This is a lifestyle change for you, and not doing it alone is sometimes the best way to go.