Ounce of Prevention: Use your mind to heal your body
The longer I practise medicine, the more in awe I am of the power of the mind to influence our health and well-being. The mind can heal, and it can harm. So many of us are suffering from problems that have originated in, or have been magnified by, what has been going on in the mind.
So what really is the mind? It's important to establish that 'mind' is not synonymous with brain. Instead, the mind consists of processes such as thoughts, beliefs, emotions, and attitudes. The brain is the organ we use for those activities. For the sake of simplicity, let us consider mind as synonymous with thought. Scientists have concluded that thoughts are - like everything else in the universe - energy. The energy of thought is extremely powerful, particularly because we can choose and we can direct our thoughts.
The power of the mind and thought was known from ancient times. Wise King Solomon had this to say about the power of thought:
"As a man /woman thinks in his/her heart so is he/she."
- Proverbs 23:7
Until the 17th century, almost every medical system in the world treated the mind and body as a whole. Then, Western doctors started seeing the mind and body as two distinct entities. This view regarded the body as a kind of a machine, with separate, independent parts totally unconnected to the mind.
In modern times, however, an army of psychologists, doctors, nuclear physicists, and other scientists have been conducting extensive research on the mind-body connection. Some of the compelling evidence coming out of this research can be summarised as follows:
- Mind, thought, and the body are inseparably interconnected.
- Our thought affects all aspects of body function and health.
- One person's thought can affect not only his own body, but other people's as well.
- Replacing an old pattern of thought with a new one creates a new state in both mind and body.
The US-based National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health considers the following as some mind-body therapies: hypnosis, cognitive-behavioural therapy, support group therapy, meditation, prayer, affirmations, yoga, Tai chi, Qigong, biofeedback, relaxation, creative arts therapies - art, music, and dance.
Many of these approaches can be self-administered, and the individual can be easily trained to use them. They are very self-empowering, relatively inexpensive, and have very little risk or side effects when properly utilised. I would strongly encourage readers to explore the use of any of these modalities, especially if they are having problems that are not responding to the conventional medical approach.
As we begin the new year, I invite all of us to try the use of affirmations. In its most basic definition, an affirmation is a statement that affirms something to be true. A positive affirmation is a positive phrase that you repeat to yourself and which describes how you want to be.
The theory behind the use of affirmations is that when you first start saying your positive affirmation, it may not feel true, but with repetition, it sinks into your subconscious, you really start to believe it, and eventually it becomes your reality. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Over time, it overwrites any limiting or negative beliefs you may have about yourself or about your ability to do something and replaces them with positive thoughts and beliefs that instill confidence, positivity, and healing.
New year affirmation
I invite readers to embark on a personal experiment. Each day for the month of January, you will repeat this affirmation seven times in the morning on rising and seven times at night before retiring. It should be spoken in a positive and convincing manner, and you can make a copy of the statement from which it can be read. Repeating it while looking at your face in a mirror may increase its effectiveness.
This affirmation for healing is:
Day by day
In every way
I am healed....
I am healthy....
I am happy....
At the end of January, you can then make an assessment of whatever difference you may notice in your health and well-being.
I wish for all our readers a healthy, happy, and successful 2016.