I typically speak all things nutrition and biochemistry in my blogs, but the more I do research into the mind-body connection, the more I think we cannot ignore this in terms of healing. And unfortunately, there aren’t a ton of practitioners diving talking about this.
One of the best questions I ever heard that struck a chord with me, was “are you in a stress state, or a healing state?” Because you cannot be in both. That’s a hard thing for many to grasp with the world of chaos we live in. Most tend to ignore their stress, suppress their trauma, or think that it’s not a big deal.
On top of our typical daily stressors, most of us have had trauma in our lives. That could be childhood or even later in life. For many, it sticks with them for years. Especially if it’s early life stress, which actually imprints the brain and makes healing much harder later in life.
When you get to that place in life, you start dealing with things like negative self talk, which can also impede healing. For example, do you ever find yourself saying or thinking “I’ll never get better” or “there’s no cure for autoimmune disease” or “I can’t believe I’m going to live the rest of my life like this?” You wouldn’t be the first if you said yes to one or more of those.
While I’m not saying that what you’re dealing with is “curable,” I am saying that the mind very much communicates with the body. So if you’re constantly thinking or saying negative things about the healing process, then guess what? Yup, you’ll experience more. The body follows the mind.
For those who are already saying…wait a minute Kira, I don’t know about this. Think about the placebo effect. How is it that people on placebo medications often experience the same symptom resolution as those taking the actual medications? Or why do 79% of medical students report that they start developing symptoms of the illness they are studying? Simple. Because the mind is powerful.
Another great quote for you to ponder by Ralph Waldo Trine- “Never affirm or repeat about your health what you do not wish to be true.” So if you don’t want to suffer forever, keep it out of your thoughts and words.
Healing The Mind
So, what are some things you can do to get out of a stress state, work on healing from previous traumas, or even improve your state of mind?
The Vagus Nerve
The vagus nerve is connected to essentially every single organ in our abdomen, as well as our digestive (80% from here approximately) and detoxification organs. Many call it the highway from the brain to the gut. It’s closely tied to our immune system response and also helps to regulate the body’s inflammation.
For many, the vagus nerve is completely forgotten about. When we deal with any type of stress, whether mild or severe, our body takes a hit. The best thing we can do to put it back in a “rest and digest” state is to activate the vagus nerve. You can do that by meditation, deep breathing (especially the exhalation), cold showers, and vigorous gargling.
This is another thing that I see many of my clients struggle with. They are constantly worrying or anxious about things that have not even happened. Learn to live in the present moment. Instead of focusing on something that is not in your current control, focus on the now. That little shift can make a world of difference.
Additionally, many of us tend to let our thoughts take control of us. When a thought pops in your mind, evaluate it and determine if it’s worthy of your time. I’m not saying that all thoughts need to be sunshines and roses, but if you’re frequently feeling emotions that are less than ideal, it’s time to figure out why.
This is not for the faint of heart. I am not a journal person by nature, and in fact when it was suggested to me last month when I did some emotional and trauma healing of my own, I was very hesitant to do it. I mean, I’m not 16 anymore, right? Even though mentally I was skeptical, the person I was working with assured me that it was a crucial piece of healing. And boy was she right.
If you don’t know where to start, sit down with a favorite pen and a journal, and just let thoughts flow to you. Ask yourself why you’re sick. Ask yourself what needs work in your life. Pretend that you are coaching yourself, and get it on paper. I bet you’ll be surprised at how good it feels once you’ve started word vomiting on paper.
Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is a great way to calm the body and mind. It is shown to help reduce physical pain as well as emotional. It’s a combination of Chinese acupressure and modern psychology, where you strategically tap on certain points of the body. The great thing about this is that you can do it anywhere, and it doesn’t take more than a few minutes. There’s a great read on it HERE, and you can also find hundreds of videos on YouTube.
Finally, we come to EMDR which stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. This is a psychotherapy treatment that was developed to help eliminate trauma. Many report that in healing those past traumas, their external body begins to heal too. Imagine that. EMDR is taught in 8 phases, and can be done via a program at home.
Remember that healing is a journey. Unfortunately it’s never simple as just focusing on ONE thing- it’s multifactoral. So if you feel like you’ve done ‘all the things’ and still aren’t getting results, it’s because somethings been missed. And for many, that’s the mind. It’s a powerful, powerful thing that we take for granted in the healing process.