Is the Power of Your Mind Keeping You Sick?

“The world sometimes feels like an insane asylum. You can decide whether you want to be an inmate or pick up your visitor’s badge. You can be in the world but not engage in the melodrama of it; you can become a spiritual being having a human experience thoroughly and fully.”

Deepak Chopra

Aloha,

 

We live in a culture that promotes disease, not health.

 

Yikes!  Pretty bold statement, right? But I’m not the first one to point this out. Decades ago, respected journalist Walter Cronkite said, “America’s health care system is neither healthy, caring, nor a system.”And as Harvard professor Clayton Christensen points out:

“There are more than 9,000 billing codes for individual procedures and units of care. But there is not a single billing code for patient adherence or improvement, or for helping patients stay well.”

 

Before my medical doctor friends and students get in an uproar, let me say that I deeply respect the medical profession and all of the sincere, intelligent people who work within it. That said, it’s clear that Western medicine is mainly focused on “curing disease,” not optimizing health. Even wellness programs promoted by forward-thinking medical practices aren’t focused on enhancing health so much as “preventing disease.”

 

We’re bombarded with statistics about obesity, heart disease, and the latest flu virus circulating.  Well-meaning doctors write articles on “how to prepare for the health issues people face as they age” where they tell you how common it is to get arthritis, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s and cancer as you get older.

 

Even if we’re perfectly healthy, as adults, we’re regularly screened for various cancers and diseases.  Even the grocery store has “hand sanitizers” for your shopping cart so you don’t end up with the evil germs of the shoppers before you. I’m not saying that any of this is a bad thing. But the sense we end up with is that we’re under constant threat! That our health is constantly in jeopardy no matter what we do!

 

How does all of this affect your personal health?

 

For my students of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) part of the answer is probably obvious: The unconscious mind (which is the powerhouse that runs our bodies and behaviors) doesn’t easily process negatives. So if it hears, “I don’t want to have a disease,” it tunes into the “disease” part rather than the “I don’t want” part. So even if you’re trying to eat well and get exercise, if you are doing so to “avoid disease,” you’re sending your unconscious powerhouse mixed messages.

 

Another problem is that we’ve adopted the mindset that perfect health is the great exception. Being a bit (or a lot) overweight or having high blood pressure or a “bad back” seems normal. Taking fists-full of pills by the age of fifty seems par for the course. Experiencing a difficult labor in childbirth, or having slower metabolism after thirty, or catching a cold or two each year — these things are just to be expected, right? So we look for quick ways to treat our symptoms, rather than insisting on finding cures to get us back to full health.

 

We’ve forgotten that our bodies have within them the blueprint for perfect health and the ability to produce that perfect health. We look “out there” for answers. But as doctors like Deepak Chopra point out, “Modern medicine, for all its advances, knows less than 10 percent of what your body knows instinctively.”

 

The Constitution of the World Health Organization (drafted back in 1946) states that “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” Despite that definition, until just recently, modern culture and medicine has viewed the body’s health as a physical issue only. Any disease or imbalance is assumed to either be caused by external physical agents (i.e. germs, viruses, etc.) or internal physical chemical imbalances. Back in the 10th century physician, Rabbi, Dr. Moshe ben Maimon, said, “The physician should not treat the disease but the patient who is suffering from it.” Fortunately, more and more doctors are rediscovering that ancient wisdom and they are looking at the whole person — mental, emotional and spiritual — to find causes and cures.

 

Back to the power of your mind: Your emotional and mental well-being have a direct impact on your physical well-being and vice versa–the mind-body connection. So for optimal health, it’s important to hit it on all levels, from nutrition and exercise to releasing negative emotions. Your basic conscious and unconscious beliefs (your mindset) about health will also play a large part. For example, even though your body has the intrinsic ability to deal with common viruses or even cancers, if you have a strong belief that your “immune system is weak,” your unconscious mind will do all it can to make that true.

 

It was only about 7 years ago that I became committed to my own perfect health. I had allowed myself to become not just overweight but obese. I ate what I knew to be bad for me and I avoided exercise because I was self-conscious about my size. And even though I conscientiously cleared negative emotions and limiting beliefs in all other areas of my life, I specifically avoided the physical health area. I made a few attempts to get healthier but didn’t stay the course.

 

In other words, I was like the majority of people in the Western world: I was doing just enough to keep from being sick. Not doing what it takes to be perfectly healthy.

 

During that time, I was teaching others how to be empowered in their mental (NLP), emotional (Mental Emotional Release®) and spiritual lives (Huna). But I was completely neglecting that all-important fourth leg of the stool — my physical body. In fact, my physical health was so far behind the rest of me that after every intensive training, my body would fall apart and I’d have to visit my doctor for antibiotics!

 

Not good.

 

I finally realized (with a nudge from my wife, Soomi) that, to be fully congruent with what I was teaching, I had to make a change. Fortunately, I had all the tools I needed to turn the ship around on the mental, emotional and spiritual levels. And I was able to find an amazing program and coach for the physical level. (For more info on the program I found, LINK). Today, I’m not just “disease-free,” I’m the healthiest I’ve ever been. Perfect health for me is having all the energy I need to do what I want to do, feeling like I can fire on all cylinders to fulfill my purpose in life and knowing that my body is oriented toward health rather than sickness.

 

I tell you all this not to brag about myself (okay, just a bit — I lost over 65 lbs!) but to encourage you to seek that perfect health for yourself.

 

“Every patient carries her or his own doctor inside.”

— Albert Schweitzer

 

To your perfect health!

 

Mahalo,

Dr. Matt

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