In Part One of this blog series “Is It Your Fault If You Can’t Heal Yourself,” I addressed the questions of whether or not we should blame or shame someone who is sick and whether we should withhold conventional medical treatment so the mind can do the healing.
In Part Two of this four-part series, I want to address this question: If an optimally healthy body depends upon healthy thoughts, beliefs, and feelings that shut off the body’s stress responses and activate the body’s natural self-repair mechanisms, what does it mean if you’re trying to improve the health of your mind, but your body is still sick?
Improving the Health of Your Mind
In my upcoming book Mind Over Medicine, I share with you the scientific data proving that the health of your mind strongly affects the health of your body, and I teach you a whole host of ways you can improve the health of your mind.
But, in short, a healthy mind requires:
- Believing that the body can be optimally healthy
- Healing limiting beliefs
- Learning to put fear in its place so you’re not ruled by anxiety
- Trusting that you are held and nurtured and safe, even when life feels scary
- Fostering nurturing, loving relationships
- Minimizing toxic relationships
- Engaging in work you love
- Expressing your creativity
- Exploring your authentic sexual self
- Ensuring that you live in an environment that relaxes you
- Practicing radical self-care
- Moving through and releasing anger, resentment, and grief in healthy ways
Mind Over Medicine offers a variety of “prescriptions” for how to make the mind healthier. Even more so, it encourages you to write your own prescriptions for a healthy mind and body.
But What if You’re Doing All That, and You’re Still Sick?
Some people have done so much personal and spiritual growth work in an attempt to cure a “chronic” or “terminal” illness, and yet it’s not working. The body is still breaking down.
Why does this happen? Are they doing something “wrong?” This is where blame and shame tend to creep back in.
My high school boyfriend was raised in the Christian Science faith, and he was taught that illness was always the result of “wrong thinking” and lack of faith, that the treatment for illness was not a pharmaceutical or a surgery but rather a return from “wrong-minded thinking” to “right-minded thinking.”
So, of course, every time he got sick—even from a little cold—he felt guilty, as if his mind was betraying him, outing him publicly with every little sneeze, for his wrong-headed thinking. His parents would badger him for thinking wrong thoughts. He’d question his own faith. And he’d feel like a total loser if he couldn’t heal himself and wound up succumbing to Western medical treatment.
This, of course, is not in any way what I’m suggesting.
Conscious vs. Subconscious Thought
Some, like Dr. Bruce Lipton, author of The Biology Of Belief, argue that, even if our conscious minds are filled with positive, healing thoughts, our subconscious minds can be poisoned with toxic thoughts that aren’t even in our awareness. Negative beliefs we observe in our parents get involuntarily programmed into our subconscious minds at a young age—beliefs like “You’re weak” or “You’re going to wind up fat and saddled with diabetes when you grow up” or “You can’t heal yourself.”
Your subconscious mind gets filled with beliefs you download from parents, teachers, and others who influence you early in life, filling your mind with the programs that will run your life unless you learn to reprogram your subconscious mind. Usually, by the age of six, these programs are written, and few people ever make efforts to examine and rewrite their subconscious minds. Given that we have no control over how this powerful part of our brain gets programmed when we’re children, it’s no wonder most people struggle to change limiting and self-sabotaging beliefs that can harm not just their health, but all aspects of their lives.
Even if your conscious mind is filled with positive, hopeful thoughts, you operate from the subconscious mind ninety-five percent of the time. These habitual negative beliefs, which kick in anytime we’re not focusing our attention on positive thoughts, become the default. They operate when we’re sleeping, working, or anytime we’re not consciously repeating our positive affirmations. Such beliefs may then activate a type of nocebo effect, since if the subconscious mind believes you will get or stay sick, the brain perceives a threat and the stress response is triggered. Next thing you know, your body is suffering, and your mind’s best efforts to heal the body are thwarted.
Why Positive Thinking Isn’t Enough
The power of the subconscious mind explains why positive thinking only gets you so far. How many times have you read self-help books, taken workshops, made New Year’s resolutions, and vowed to improve your life, only to realize a year later that your life is no better? Since the conscious mind is only functioning five percent of the time, it has little power to overcome the weighty influence of the subconscious mind. To effect lasting changes in belief, you must change your beliefs not just at the level of the conscious mind, but in the subconscious mind.
Because of this, some people who are doing everything “right” to heal their bodies by optimizing the health of the mind fail to recover from illness. The mental shifts must happen in both the conscious and subconscious mind.
But What if Your Subconscious Mind Is Toxic?
I won’t get into it here, but Mind Over Medicine reviews a variety of techniques for healing negative thoughts buried in the subconscious mind so you can make your body ripe for miracles. Suffice it to say, it’s totally possible to change your thoughts and beliefs at a deep level so you’re not dependent on keeping your conscious thoughts positive 24/7 (which is impossible anyway).
What if You’ve Done EVERYTHING, and You’re Still Sick?
Sometimes, you’ve done everything. You’re eating a nutritious diet, exercising daily, getting enough sleep, taking your vitamins, and following doctor’s orders. You’ve brought your life into alignment with the truth of your Inner Pilot Light and healed your conscious mind. You’ve employed the techniques discussed in Mind Over Medicine to heal your subconscious mind. And you’re still sick.
What does that mean? Have you done something wrong? Is it your fault that you haven’t healed yourself?
In Part Three of this blog series, I’ll be addressing this question.
What do you think about all this? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Committed to the health of your body and mind,
Lissa Rankin, MD is the creator of the health and wellness communities LissaRankin.com and OwningPink.com, author of Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof You Can Heal Yourself (Hay House, 2013), TEDx speaker, and Health Care Evolutionary. Join her newsletter list for free guidance on healing yourself and check her out on Twitter and Facebook.
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