It wasn’t until I really started to change how I think, that I started to see real shifts in my health. It’s crazy, I know. You might be thinking that diet and environment are what makes you sick and so you can feel better if only you find the right diet and remove the right environmental triggers. But that’s just a part of the puzzle. We can live in the most toxin free environment, eat the cleanest diet and still be sick as a dog.
So what’s going on? How can this be? Our perception of what happens around us has a big say in how we feel inside us. How we feel can impact chemicals produced in our body. When we feel down, lonely, angry, hurt, anxious, stressed or fearful then our body produces chemicals that will help get us through that. It shuts down our digestive processes, puts energy into helping us “run away” from whatever the danger is. These changes are stress responses. For many of us we are running on stress all day long. Whether it’s stress of being on time, work stress, home stress or driving stress. You name it and it affects us.
But it’s not just the stress you’re experiencing in the moment, it’s also what you’ve experienced in the past or what you fear might happen in the future. While you’re brain is running a replay of that disagreement you had with your colleague at work earlier, your body is responding exactly how it did in that moment – again. Or say life has been pretty good and then you have the most horrible thought – what if it ends tomorrow? What if something terrible happens to someone you love or if your work has layoffs or your favorite pet gets hit by a car? That string of runaway thoughts has the same affect on your body as if it were happening to you in that moment.
I think you know what I mean. Have you ever been driving somewhere thinking of something that happened to you a year ago. By the time you arrive to where you were headed you’re in tears? Yep.
Gabby Bernstein describes this as your ego getting in your way. The ego wants you to feels safe. To do that, it sneaks in thoughts to be fearful and play life small. Don’t take a risk because you might fail it tells us. Don’t feel too happy because it might end. Don’t feel too healthy because you might get sicker tomorrow. We need to step up and call the ego’s bluff. Because it’s not real and it’s making us sick. Chronic stress is a serious epidemic.
Stops the insanity! If what you’re doing right now isn’t working for you. If you’re repeating the same fearful thoughts, the same doubts, the same anger or stress then you won’t change your health or your life.
So what do you do? According to Dr. Joe Dispenza in his book Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself, he highlights a study in Japan that was conducted on people with type 2 diabetes to see if the state of one’s mind has any physical affect. In this study, one set of participants watched a comedy show for an hour and then had a tasty meal. The other set of participants watched a somewhat boring lecture and then had a tasty meal. Both groups had their blood sugar tested after. The laughing group’s blood sugar rose half as much as the other groups. You might think well, the laughing people were using more energy. But the scientists tested their gene sequences and discovered that the laughing people had altered 23 different gene expressions! In other words, the happy thoughts helped their body to do what it needed to do more efficiently.
Wow, I know, pretty powerful right? So how can you apply this knowledge today? The knowledge that what you think and feel has a direct impact on your health?
Here are the steps I’ve been taking.
- Meditation – I know I’ve mentioned this before but the more we shift our thinking towards positive emotions, the more we change our neurological synapse to accept positive emotions. So for me, I listed to meditations that help me break patterns. For instance breaking the feeling of scarcity. Realizing my life is actually abundant in love, support and comfort.
- Catching my ego in the act – As I mentioned, the ego can cause runaway thoughts of past memories that are sad or angry. It can also catch us in a happy moment and create a negative “what if this happened tomorrow” thought. It’s so important to stop the thought, recognize it for what it is and then laugh. Silly ego, thought you distract me? No way.
- Imagine the feeling I will have when… – For me, I imagine the feeling I’ll have when I put all of my autoimmune diseases into remission. I imagine the feeling of success, vibrancy, energy and happiness at having conquered them all. Then I go about my day as if I’ve accomplished that and I feel amazing. This may seem a bit weird to you but what I’m doing is helping my body to turn on the gene expressions that will help my body’s immune system do what it’s supposed to. Kind of like the laughing Japanese with type 2 diabetes.
As I said at the beginning, when I started to change how I thought, my health started to improve. My hair is growing back, my TPO numbers are improving and I have more energy than I’ve had in quite some time. No afternoon lulls. Better yet, my memory is improving. This is a practice I’ll be sticking with.
Jessica Green is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and Culinary Wellness Professional here on Bainbridge Island. You can visit her website at www.jessicagreenwellness.com and see her in her facebook group Jessica Green Wellness.