““Healing doesn’t mean the damage never existed. It means the damage no longer controls our life”Akshay Dubey
Your mindset is more important than you think. Research shows that your beliefs about your health have a tremendous effect on your body’s healing process.
We know that our mind’s belief about our bodies getting a drug or surgery is enough to improve our symptoms. In the book “Mind over medicine” by Dr Lissa Rankin, many different studies have been listed that provide evidence.
As a part of her extensive research, Dr Rankin found that*
- nearly half of asthma patients got symptomatic relief from a fake inhaler and sham acupuncture
- around 40% of people with headaches find relief when they are given a placebo
- half of the people with colitis feel better after a placebo treatment
- as many as 40% of infertility patients became pregnant while taking placebo fertility medications
More importantly, she also found that the placebo effect had an important role to play in reducing symptoms.
How does a placebo work?
The term placebo comes from the Latin word which means “I shall please.” They have been used for the past couple of hundreds of years to help people get better. These were mostly in the form of sugar pills, bread pills and coloured water drops.
We know that in a placebo effect when a person believes that an intervention is therapeutic, it has a physiological effect on her body. Their body responds to the belief that the intervention is helpful and reduces pain and other symptoms. Conversely, in a nocebo effect, a negative attitude or outlook can do just the reverse.
Research also shows that placebos not only change how you feel, it also changes your biochemistry. This also means that placebos change our bodies at a physiological level. This is a controversial topic that we rarely get to hear much about.
However, placebos are not imaginary but have genuine biological effects. In many cases, there is a measurable physical response in the body that can be measured.
You can read more about this topic in this amazing book here.
The power of your mind
The brain is a critical part of our body. Your brain is responsible for receiving inputs from your environment and your perception of it. However, it’s your mind that provides the interpretation based on which your brain responds as a chemist. This means that cells throughout your body are dramatically affected by the environment that your brain creates.
Also, your mind decides whether a situation is threatening or not.
In the presence of fear, your brain sends out stress hormones as a part of a fight or flight response. This leads to higher cholesterol, higher blood sugar and helps you to survive but can have damaging effects in the long run.
On the other hand, when you feel loved and safe, your brain sends out dopamine, oxytocine and endorphins. These are things that make you feel good, your body less inflamed and promote healing.
As you can see now, your mind plays a powerful and critical role in your healing process.
Your beliefs affect your healing process
Your body also has an inner pharmacy that works primarily with the help of neurotransmitters and hormones. For example, research shows that having a positive expectation about an illness increases the secretion of endorphins.
Endorphins derive their name from two other words : morphine and endogenous, meaning produced within a system.
Hence, endorphins are literally “morphine” produced by your body. Your body also produces neurotransmitters and hormones which have a similar impact.
Only in this relaxed, rested state can the body become free to heal itself.
You see, your beliefs act as a filter on a camera, a lens through which you see your world. And your body adapts to those beliefs.
This means that your mind is a powerful tool that you can use to create health and move your body towards wellness and health.
It starts by developing a sense of ownership and self responsibility- to really own where you are right now. Without any kind of judgement, shame, or blame. This is where change really begins to take place.
So let’s learn how to harness the power of our mind, shall we?
3 ways that you can develop a positive mindset toward your own healing
I share with you 3 things that you can do right now to help you develop a more positive mindset to heal from chronic illness
- Accept your body as it is, right now. We are often conditioned to believe that our disease is a sign that our body has failed us somehow. We need to stop judging and shaming our bodies and ourselves for being ill. We learn how to show ourselves some compassion and give ourselves grace for what we are going through.
- Stop seeing yourself as a “victim” of your body. Our thoughts, our beliefs, and our environment are all interconnected in which our bodies are trying their best to survive. When we realise that we are in the driver’s seat of our lives we can feel empowered and confident. We can then stop seeing our body as our adversary and embrace it as our “friend”.
- Realise that healing and change are the same. Healing is an inside job and does not depend on external interventions and circumstances. In the case of chronic diseases, our environments play a critical role- diet, lifestyle, stress, thoughts, and beliefs. This means that healing requires that we make the necessary changes that are keeping us stuck and creating dis-ease in our bodies. To be not afraid of change but to learn how to create new habits that promote healing. I have written more on this topic in an earlier post here.
As Bruce Lipton says,
“The moment you change your perception is the moment you rewrite the chemistry of your body”