Can your mind heal your body?

Just about everyone has an active interest in health: you want to stay healthy or get healthy. And since no one is perfectly healthy, everyone wants to heal. And if you want to heal–really, truly get better and stay better–you have to take the mind-body connection into account. Starting with stress…

The world is a stressful place, full of difficulty, threat and loss. When those stressors are internalized–when you feel stressed–you can experience unrelieved frustration and tension. And that tension can make you sick.

Stress causes sickness, say scientists. They say it over and over, in tens of thousands of studies. Feeling stressed can cause or complicate any health problem, from a headache to heart disease, from a cold to cancer. But stress isn’t the only mental/emotional cause of disease.

Depression and anxiety seem as common as shadows. In America, doctors write 150 million prescriptions for antidepressant drugs every year. Depression, anxiety and other chronic emotional difficulties are linked to a higher risk of chronic disease. Example: I just completed a book on supplements and superfoods for blood sugar problems, in which I reported research showing that depression raises the risk of death from type-2 diabetes by 50 percent.

It’s incontrovertible: the mind influences the body. The mind can soothe or jangle the nervous system. Energize or enervate white blood cells. Slow or speed digestion. Tighten or loosen the muscles in your neck, shoulders or back. (You know: where the pain is…) The mind can be an ally in the quest for health and healing–or a serial saboteur.

This blog is about the mind-body connection and healing. Every week, it will offer a new set of practical ideas from the adepts of mind-body medicine, from health practitioners working with clients; from health practitioners healing clients.

I know hundreds of those practitioners, and I hope to know many more. I have had a 35-year career as a health writer, editor and book author: I wrote and edited for Prevention magazine for seven years; was the editor-in-chief of Prevention Magazine Health Books and Rodale Books for 13 years (www.rodalenews.com); and have spent the last 15 years as a freelance author, writing a dozen self-help books that have sold more than 2 million copies. (www.billgottliebhealth.com) During those decades, I have interviewed experts about every aspect of mind-body healing.

Personally, I am impressed and empowered by the healing influence of many mind-body techniques, such as acceptance, gratitude, dreamwork, and art therapy (for me, writing poetry).

I am also the lifetime student of the great spiritual teacher Adi Da, who instructed me in whole-body equanimity and “radical” healing (addressing the root-cause of disease). (www.adidam.org.)

A couple of principles will guide the writing of this blog:

The mind mirrors the body; the body mirrors the mind. The mind-body system is what scientists call bidirectional. When you feel, think and desire, the body responds. And vice versa: for example, when the body is calmed by deep breathing, the mind and emotions also calm down.

The mind can heal the body in many ways–and the “best” way is the way that works for you. I intend to write about a wide range of mental and emotional approaches to wellness, including mindfulness, affirmations, music, dreamwork, biofeedback, humor, etc. I also intend to write about physical approaches to mental and emotional wellness, such as breath therapy and massage. This blog is a practical celebration of all mind-body approaches to health and healing, as championed by experienced health professionals who use them to help their clients.

The presumption of prior perfection. I have been a student of Heart-Master Adi Da Samraj (1939-2008) since 1974, and his formal devotee since 1990. I was attracted, enchanted and in love from the start, and am to this day, having spent countless hours in his radiant company. He has revealed to me (through his divine demonstration, his writings, and as a grace-given experience) that the activities of the mind and body occur within a universal, all-pervading energy and consciousness; that every physical and mental activity is a wave in an omnipresent ocean of Conscious Light. He also has revealed to me that the heartfelt presumption of this “prior perfection” is an essential element of healing. Without that presumption is lost, then doubt–of self, relationships and life–disrupts and diseases the body-mind.

I’d like to conclude this first blog with two invitations:

I invite mind-body healers to contact me at bill@billgottliebhealth.com to discuss being featured in this blog.

And I invite my readers to respond to this question: What has been your experience with mind-body healing?

Thank you for your time and attention!

 

  • Denise Richter

    Thank you for this opportunity to learn how to discipline my thoughts to heal an overwhelming assortment of physical maladies. My experience is that positive thinking, combined with activities I enjoy (gardening, writing poetry) does, indeed; create a sense of balance & well-being. It also generates more positive thinking. The dilemma is my lack of constant vigilance or self-discipline to do so. I am a novice with computers etc., & struggle with apps. I hope to have communicated with you & welcome your invitations to participate in these lessons/communications.

  • Mark David Fourman

    Great first post Bill. In answer to your question about our experiences of mind-body healing, my most recent one was discovering profound and unexpected shame in my body… and the impact of releasing that shame. I wrote about it in depth here: The Air We Breathe: Facing Our Shame

    Good luck with your new blog!

  • tylerjones

    This is a good one! I really like how everything has been presented. Good jobw ith the same.

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