Blog 6 – Your Brain: Using More Than 5 Percent!

Years ago scientists told us that we only use 10 percent of our brain.  Today they tell us that we only use 5 percent!  We have so much power that we either neglect to use or just give away!  In previous blogs I’ve mentioned some of my experiences that have pushed me to rely more on myself.  I’m continuing to use my mind and believe in my own abilities.

 

Please don’t misunderstand me.  I’ll tell you what has happened to me, and what led me to do things for myself.  Everyone has a different body, has different experiences and reactions.  It is extremely important that you learn what your own body requires, what is normal for you.  What works for me may not work for you.  Get advice from your own medical adviser as to what is normal for your health.

 

It has taken me many years to learn that a lot of what I don’t know, I can learn from others—especially with the aid of the Internet!  My goal is to expand on that 5% experts say we only use by increasing my knowledge.  However, as I’ve said before, it is vital that we learn to believe in ourselves, to love our selves, to trust our inner voices—those same voices that we’ve conditioned ourselves to ignore!  (Think back.  Don’t you remember saying to yourself at some time or other:  “I knew that!”  Or “I should have followed my feelings…”)  Our bodies talk to us.  (Some call it the voice of GOD, or the voice of an Angel.) If we keep ignoring those little signals/voices, the end result is usually pain!

 

All my life I’ve suffered from side effects of medications.  For example, more Prednisone (a prescription steroid) than my body could handle caused my eyes to develop full blown cataracts that ended up with my being blind in one eye.  This resulted in the need for surgical implants of new lenses to regain my sight.  Another medication caused severe diarrhea.  I could not leave my house before 2:00 pm on any day.  A tiny piece of lettuce or a few green peas would result in green diarrhea!  Pain medication would only work once or twice before having no effect at all!  My experiences taught me that I had to work on discovering the cause of my ailments.  Simply treating the symptoms was not good enough!  Taking medications for the symptoms only caused other problems for me.  I also learned that taking “natural” isn’t always good enough either.  After all, there are some natural poisons too!

 

My Eyes:  During a routine eye exam, my doctor told me that the pressure in my eyes was rising.  He was concerned that if it got much higher it would increase the chances of my developing glaucoma!  As a writer and devout reader, there was no way that I could accept becoming blind!  When I asked what would cause the pressure in my eyes to increase, he told me that one main reason was steroids.  I was not taking any medication with steroids at that time.  However, suffering with a condition that caused me to often scratch my skin, I was using an over-the-counter anti-itch cream.  I reasoned that the cortisone in the cream (a steroid) was entering my blood stream through the cracks in my skin.  I decreased my use of this cream, and switched to other anti-itch lotions that didn’t contain steroids.  Three months later the pressure in my eyes was normal!

 

Hypertension (high blood pressure):  My blood pressure was rising, and my doctor felt I should start taking medication to avoid a heart attack or stroke.  He went into great detail to explain what happens when the body ages: that blood vessels become clogged, the heart becomes stressed, etc.  Most of my life I’ve eaten a low (at least moderately low) fat diet.  I don’t use a lot of salt.  The stresses in my life are normal.  Surely, I felt, there must be other causes.  Too many of my friends and relatives have told me about the side effects of drugs for lowering one’s blood pressure—side effects I refused to accept to be a part of my life!  I asked another doctor what would cause a body’s blood pressure to rise.  “Ugh!” he said, “There are so many things.”  He rattled off a number of causes, one of which was decreased kidney function.  For some reason (my inner voice), that rang a bell in my mind!  I had an abnormally low output of urine.

 

A few years ago I had a terrible accident, when I almost lost my foot and broke my back in two places.  After each of two surgeries, I was wheelchair bound for a while.  Since going to the bathroom to empty my bladder was a major project in a wheelchair, I stopped drinking a lot of fluids.  After much consideration of how my body works, I thought the substantial decrease in drinking fluids may have affected my kidneys.  So I tried an experiment.  One day I forced myself to drink 64 ounces of water.  (I used a measuring cup and counted each ounce!)  At the end of the day, I asked a friend in the medical field to take my blood pressure.  It was normal!  That was my solution.  There are other solutions for people who suffer from hypertension, such as eating beets or drinking beet juice.  However, before you experiment and try different things, PLEASE check with your health professional!

 

My doctor was willing to work with me!  He gave me a prescription for a very low dose of pills for hypertension that he wanted me to have on hand if I needed it.  Per his instructions, I purchased a blood pressure cuff from the pharmacy that uses the upper arm.  He took my blood pressure with a cuff I already had that used the wrist—not good enough.  He took my pressure with a portable cuff in his office, as well as one mounted on his office wall.  All measurements were compared, including the reading from the cuff I had just purchased that used the upper arm (above the elbow).  He watched me take my own blood pressure with my new cuff to make sure I was using it properly.  After one week, I returned to the office to check my progress on lowering my blood pressure.

 

During the week before my next check-up, I increased my intake of water.  Each morning I drank a cup of natural detox tea (purchased from a health food store) to cleanse my kidneys.  I kept a record of my blood pressure readings (upon rising in the mornings, in the afternoons, and in the evenings before bed).  My doctor was pleasantly surprised to realize that my blood pressure has now returned to normal levels!  However, I am still having to remind myself to drink water.  When I relapse and forget to drink water, my blood pressure starts creeping back up!

 

Blood Sugar:  After repeated elevated blood sugar readings, my doctor wanted me to start taking a weekly medication.  Not wanting to be dependent on this prescription drug to force my body to regulate my blood sugar, I asked for time to do some research.  Another doctor suggested I research “islet cells,” which I did.  Islet cells help the body regulate the body’s blood sugar.  If there’s a deficiency in folic acid, a B vitamin, islet cells cannot operate properly.

 

I’d learned in the past that my body needs vitamin B supplements.  This may be due to damage to my digestive system from years of bouts with diarrhea (caused by a side effect of prescription drugs) or to massive doses of antibiotics required for treating pneumonia that I’d contracted when I was hospitalized.  After several years of taking probiotics and digestive enzymes, my bouts with diarrhea have decreased dramatically!

Note:  There are different types of probiotics.  I highly recommend consulting a health care professional as to what kind would be best for you if you plan to take any of them.

 

(Although I still have to watch what I eat, and when I eat it!  Sometimes I forget I am not yet normal, and then suffer the consequences!  I can’t always go to someone’s home for dinner, and ask to see the ingredients of the products they used to prepare their meal!  It’s much easier to ask a restaurant’s waiter to check if milk, corn, or MSG is in any of the foods.  Due to another disorder of mine, some years ago I was also advised by a doctor to increase my folic acid on a regular basis.)

 

On my follow-up visit to my doctor, he was pleased and surprised to see my recorded blood sugar levels were normalizing.  My A1C (blood test for sugar averaging levels over a few month’s time) was still elevated, as I was just getting my blood sugar under control.  The finger-stick test on the day I was in the doctor’s office showed that I had a normal blood sugar reading!  We’ll take another A1C test three months from that office visit.  Meantime, I’ve experimented with having dessert after dinner, drinking a glass of wine in the evening, or taking and not taking my vitamins.  I know my body, and I know what is required of me for my body to perform normally.  It is up to me.  I take full responsibility.  Whenever possible, I will NOT give that power over to a pharmaceutical drug that’ll cause side effects requiring even more pills.

 

Note:  I once lived in a community with a woman whose doctor gave her six months to live.  After her doctor’s prognosis, she went around to apologize to anyone who she felt she had offended.  My neighbor went to her sister, who she had not spoken with in two years, to make up with her.  She wanted her sister to raise her six-year-old son after she passed away.  Six months later she was hospitalized—and died.

 

I give you examples from my life to demonstrate another side to the mind-body connection.  The first really big lesson I learned was that I felt I had a choice.  It was a major choice NOT to accept the doctor’s prediction that I would be in and out of the hospital and dead within two years if I did not follow his advice and take the pharmaceutical prescriptions he thought would keep me alive.  That was in 1997—19 years ago!  I consulted holistic practitioners.   And I am healthier now than I was at that time!  Instead of being too sick to go to school, I went back and earned another Associates Degree (I already had one.), A Bachelor’s Degree, A Master’s Degree, and then completed half the course work toward earning a Ph.D.  Instead of being too sick to work (as the doctor said I would be), I worked very demanding and challenging jobs helping single mothers learn how to empower themselves.  They sometimes returned to school, got jobs, learned of services to assist them, and sometimes went on to become home owners!  One of the things I learned and passed on to my clients was to say to myself, “I don’t have YET!”  Adding that “YET” to whatever you don’t have changes how you see it, how you feel about it.  It put things in the realm of possibilities!  I still look in the mirror and say to myself: “I love you Beth!”  I’m still in the process of believing in myself.  And sometimes, after achieving another goal, I actually amaze me!

Reframing (Part II)

In Dr. Esther Sternberg’s book, The Balance Within (Freeman & Company Publishers), she quotes Oscar Wilde (famous author and playwright) as saying, “Life is…made up of exquisite moments.”  Our minds hold memories from the time we are born.  Dr. Sternberg explains that memories are stored with emotions attached. She says that a good movie or actor can cause us to feel the emotions they portray.  However, Dr. Sternberg states that, “imagery in a book can tap into an already held image that the reader can visualize, an image that when visualized can evoke a powerful internal emotional response.”  There are so very many things that can cause memories to pop into our minds.  And attached to those memories can be some very powerful emotions!  Dr. Sternberg also cites in her book the research that has proven the existence of a bi-directional communication network between the nervous system (the brain) and the immune system.  In everyday language: How we feel influences how we heal!

When we recall good memories, with all the feelings that go along with those memories, we feel good.  It’s those bad memories, the ones with those negative emotions attached to them, that cause us to feel bad—physically and emotionally!  Over time, it’s these negative emotions that cause an increase in our bodies’ harmful chemicals being released into our blood streams.  Reframing these negative emotional moments is a healthy way to decrease the negative effects of emotional memories.

There are several ways to do reframing.  As discussed in Part I, the simplest way is to get more information to enable you to consider different points of view.  With more information, it is often easier to change one’s mind/one’s feelings about a given situation.  This method of reframing is made easier when there is some time that has passed between the time of the incident and the time you attempt to do the reframing.  Time often helps people to calm down, decrease the emotional impact of negative incidents.

Meditation:  Decreasing the emotional impact that comes from upsetting incidents can also be achieved by meditation (subject of a future blog).  There are many forms of meditation.  My method of choice is Mindfulness Meditation, which was created by Jon Kabat-Zinn (Google him for more information.)  His method is simply a way of relaxing the mind and the body at the same time.  (I also use this natural method to lower my blood pressure!)  This method of meditation is strongly supported by both the science field as well as those in medical research.  When you relax both the mind and the body, you can let go of everyday stresses:  the list of things you need to do, where you have to go, how you are going to get there, who you have to see—for some people the list can be endless!  Once totally relaxed, your conscious mind clear, some of those unwanted thoughts that have been kept suppressed into your sub-conscious mind can rise into your conscious mind for your consideration.

REMEMBER MY WARNING:  Anyone in a fragile state of mind should not do this alone and should seek professional assistance.

The key is to NOT re-live the past incidents—just review them as if you were someone else or it’s someone else’s movie.  Consider both or all sides of the issue(s).  Stay calm and relaxed in your meditative state.  You will be fully alert and know all that is around you.  It is not the same as hypnosis, as there is no spell.  You are simply TOTALLY relaxed and feel no stress.

Writing:  This method of reframing is a lot more powerful than many people  think.  Once you write how you feel down on paper to actually see the words helps get the feelings outside of the body.  If an incident involving someone who has passed away, you can write that person a letter, explaining how you feel about the incident.  Write what you expected of those involved.  Be specific and express all of the emotions you feel!

Use the format:  I felt _____­­ when you_______.  It is important to use emotional terms to describe HOW you felt

It is even more helpful to read a letter to a supportive friend.  I participated in group therapy sessions in a Women’s Shelter.  I listened one day as a woman read a letter to her husband—a police officer who came home from work protecting the public and often physically beat her!  While we women around the table took turns responding and validating her feelings (We all felt that she had a right to expect her husband to treat her well, protect her, and not have to run to a shelter in fear of her life.), it was like watching a flower bloom.  At first she looked downtrodden, head bowed, eyes looking down, so very sad.  As she heard her feelings being validated, her head came up.  She straightened her back.  She looked at the other women around the table, and lastly she smiled—with her eyes as well as her lips.  You can be creative and have a ceremony:  Get a metal pail with some sand in it and set the letter on fire.  Or tie the letter to some balloons and let them go over a lake or an ocean.  In both cases, watch as the smoke or balloons carry away your negative emotions and the mental anguish that was attached to them.  Feel the stress as it leaves your body!

Role Playing:  Get a close and supportive friend to act out any past incidents.  This is especially good if the incident happened during childhood.  Role playing the same scene as an adult will give you a better perspective.  You act out the scene as you did when you were a child.  We all have that little child inside of us—remembering both good and hurtful experiences.  The same incidents seen as an adult should help you replace the hurtful feelings with new ones—possibly peaceful understanding or justifiable and controlled anger!

Art:  This method of expression does not require words.  If you cannot or wish not to use words, drawing and/or painting is one of the Creative Arts Therapies, which are used in many group therapy sessions and in hospitals throughout the country (subject of a future blog).  This method is often used with children, especially young children without a well-developed vocabulary.

Dance:  Free-form dancing (another Creative Arts Therapy) allows you to express yourself through body movements.  You move energy, allowing it to flow freely through your muscles, as you stretch and bend.  You can move to music or create your own melody inside your head.  There is no right way or wrong way to do creative dancing.  Just move according to how you feel.

Blocked Energy:  I have developed a theory from my own readings and experiences about blocked energy and illnesses.  You see, there is a natural flow of energy in the body that goes from the brain, down the spine, and travels through the nervous system (through the nerves that pass through the spine’s vertebrae) to different parts of the body.  In essence I believe that when energy is blocked, causing either a disconnect or decrease in energy flow to a part of the body it causes a malfunction in the part of the body that is being blocked.  Previous blogs have already described the process by which the body disburses excess or negative hormones, enzymes, etc. due to the body’s current emotional state of being.  The nervous system is directly affected by our emotional state.  The decreased energy flow could ultimately be the cause of blocked energy in weakened areas of the body.  With the blockage of the normal flow of energy, malfunctioning of that body’s organ would be the logical end result.  In short, if a part of the body does not get the right amount of energy, that part will not work properly!

Let me give you an example from my life.  On a routine visit to my chiropractor, without telling him what distress I’d been feeling one particular week, I asked what part of my spine seemed particularly resistant to movement as he did his adjustments.  The bones in the spine should be able to move freely during adjustments.  (Compare the flexibility of one noodle partially cooked with one that is totally cooked to see the difference in how well you can move or bend the noodle.)  I asked each time I saw the doctor for an adjustment.  The doctor told me the particular vertebrae that appeared to be stuck (or did not move as freely as the others).  I checked with a map on his wall that diagrams and traces the nerves that go through the spine to different parts/organs of the body.  In each case, the nerves that went through the stuck part of my spine proved to end up in the part of the body that had been given me distress that particular week (my lungs, my intestines, my sinuses, etc).  I don’t yet know why one particular organ or part of the body would experience stuck energy over another part of the body.  For that answer I will continue to do research.  Meanwhile, the important thing is to get energy flowing throughout the body to enable healing.  Our emotional reactions will continue to produce blockages of energy in various parts of our body.  Increasing energy flow throughout the body can be done in various ways.  Chiropractic is only one way.

Breathwork & Reiki:  These two methods of eliminating blocked energy require professionally trained practitioners in these areas.  Holotrophic Breathwork (breathing in ways directed by the practitioner) enables the body to free stuck energy and be released.  A trained Reiki Master is able to pass his/her hands over your body and increase the flow of energy.  In my personal experience (which need not be true for everyone) a good Reiki Master’s hands project heat into my body (without touching me).  This heat not only increases the flow of energy, it also relieves me of pain.

It is important to realize that it is not often easy to reframe, because we are creatures of habit.  As with anything new, we often have to try, try again!

Blog-4 Reframing (Part I)

A simple definition of reframing is to look at something (an incident, someone’s behavior or actions) in a different way—from another point of view. You can also review situations after obtaining additional information (after becoming more informed), when you can see the whole picture! This is not always easy to do, especially when your emotions are involved. Part I discusses identifying some of the thoughts needing reframing and why.

Our thoughts, beliefs and habits influence the meaning of our experiences and what emotions are involved. In turn, the emotions we feel (good and bad) are responsible for the chemicals that our body’s organs release into our blood streams. Dr. Candace Pert (biophysicist and author of Molecules of Emotion, Simon & Schuster Publishers) and her team of scientists hired professional method actors. The actors’ blood was tested after acting out scenes expressing different emotions. Dr. Pert found that each emotion resulted in a different chemical (ie. hormones, enzymes, etc.) being released into the actors’ blood.

As discussed in Blog-3, it is those negative thoughts and emotions that harm the body. Suppressing these emotions (keeping them in the subconscious mind and out of our everyday thoughts) uses up some of our energy, keep us from being as healthy as we’d like to be. Sometimes we are given clues that we are burying negative thoughts and experiences. Examples that negative emotions being held in our subconscious mind are recurring nightmares, dysfunctional habits (habits that do not serve a good purpose for us), persistent negative thoughts/beliefs that cause unwanted consequences in our lives (i.e. the need to be perfect all the time; the need to cling to some people in your life; too often having feelings of anxiety and fear without sufficient reasons; and/or the need to be right and blame others for being wrong if they don’t agree with you.)

More times than not, deeply buried emotional events originate in our childhood years. The first step is to identify the suppressed emotion(s) and the situation(s) that caused it (or them). However, for some people, this can be both tricky and possibly dangerous. For those people who have very fragile emotions or are in a very sensitive or fragile state of mind, I would strongly suggest only attempting reframing with the assistance of a counselor. Sometimes digging up old and buried emotional experiences is more than a person can handle. That is one reason why the memory of the event was buried in the subconscious in the first place—to protect the person from hurt/emotional pain that he/she cannot deal with either alone or at this time.

If possible, talk with those who knew you as a child about any incidents that upset you (for example: a period of your being sad, food issues, accidents, someone always yelling at you or mistreating you—sometimes the simplest things mean a lot to a child). Some incidents you would now, as an adult, consider to be small may have seemed large from a child’s point of view. However, the memory from your childhood point of view is still buried in your subconscious mind! Fortunately, from time to time, we reframe issues without realizing that is what we are doing. This is especially true when we get additional information after the fact. One thing people often say when in the process of reframing is: “Oh! I didn’t know that!” Or, “Oh! I didn’t realize that!” The additional information helps you to look at a particular situation differently, in a way that either no longer hurts you (or doesn’t hurt as much)!

Let me give you a couple of examples from my life. I used to buy cases of food (canned goods) when I had my very first apartment. There was no reason, as I lived alone. After filling my kitchen cabinets, I stocked canned goods under the couch in my living room, under my bed, and in my bedroom closet! I could not stop myself! One day I was talking with a relative who told me about an incident I had as a child. The family had just returned from visiting the zoo. I said I was hungry the minute I entered the house. My mother told me that I had to wait to eat, because she had to feed my brother first. Thinking back, this must have happened several times – my having to wait. My mother was not going to explain to a five-year-old child about the need to nurse my brother on demand! As an adult, especially having experienced nursing my own children, I understood that when a mother has to nurse, she has to nurse—immediately! Without realizing it, I’d reframed these episodes in my young life and given them new meaning. After understanding my subconscious motivation to always have so much food available, I no longer have the urge to hoard cases of food!

Growing up throughout childhood I used to have a recurring nightmare. My mother was kidnapped by a witch, and driven away down a long cement road. I saw myself crying, yelling “Mommy don’t leave me!” over and over again. I would always wake up crying, and not understanding why I had such a crazy dream. My mother was in the next room! One day my mother came to wake me and saw that I was crying in my sleep. When I explained the recurring nightmare to her she understood. She explained to me that when we moved to New York when I was three years old, there was no one to care for my sister and me. She put us in someone’s home many miles away until she obtained a job and the means to care for us. She was living with friends at that time. She didn’t know that the woman who was caring for us was abusive. In my young mind, the woman was a witch. The witch drove her down a long driveway in front of the house, to and from the train station for my mother’s weekly visits. After being told that explanation, I no longer had that nightmare!

In her book Minding the Body, Mending the Mind (Bantam Books), Joan Borysenko tells of another example. She’d read of a woman who suffered with perfectionism. She was so obsessed about neatness that she would become upset when anyone walked on her frequently vacuumed carpets—constantly upsetting her family! The woman’s therapist had her imagine what it would be like to have no one around to walk on her carpets—no husband, children, or friends. It would be just she and her clean carpets. She began to realize that the life her actions would create was not the kind of life that would result in her being happy. She was able to reframe her thinking. Instead of becoming annoyed, she was pleased to welcome those she cared about as they came home and walked across her freshly vacuumed carpet to return to her.

One of the benefits of reframing childhood memories when one is an adult is that we are able to see the same situations with a mature mind. As a child things are either black or white (Either you love me or you don’t. Either you will buy that for me or you won’t. If you loved me you wouldn’t leave me. Either you will let me spend the night at my friend’s house or you won’t.) Young children don’t have the ability to reason. Before a child’s brain is developed enough to do complex reasoning, he/she is almost a teenager!

What we feel physically directly influences how we feel emotionally. So you see, it’s a cycle that can go in both directions: physical feelings and functions of the body vs. emotional feelings and thoughts in our minds. How we see or interpret events and people in our lives directly affects how we feel about them. How we feel then determines what chemicals are released by our body’s organs into our blood streams.

It gives new meaning to what goes around comes around!

Some tips about how to reframe is scheduled tor Reframing—Part II

Blog #3 – Memory vs. Forgetting

So many times in my life I’ve been told after something happens to me:

“Forget it!” “Put it behind you and go on with your life.”  “Don’t think about it!”But memories go deep.  Sooo, sooo deep—one on top of the other.Unfortunately, there really is no way to forget!  None!  Actually, we really only want to forget the bad memories—the ones with pain.    The good ones are those memories that keep us going, motivate and inspire us.  They help us through those tough times when we think we just can’t take it anymore!

What isn’t common knowledge is that not dealing with these negative memories (memories that cause you to feel pain/anger just thinking of them), still lay just beneath your conscious mind.  However, continuously pushing these memories below the surface of your conscious mind (the part of your mind that is aware of everyday thoughts and feelings) uses up a lot of your energy.  In severe cases (people with either a lot of negative memories or one really big negative memory such as sudden and unexpected death of someone important in your life, an assault to you or someone close to you (and there are all kinds of assaults), or as a child not feeling love from someone you think should not only love you, but love you unconditionally) the energy used to keep these negative memories out of your conscious mind can be strong enough to keep you feeling tired, keep you from being able to make good decisions to get on with your life, and/or keep you from healing to maintain or regain your health.

Having these feelings for extended periods of time does not always mean that you are run down, that your immune system needs boosting up, or that you lack the right vitamins!     It may be true that you need more sleep, more vitamins, and/or to take  some kind of stress management class.  However, it can’t hurt to consider the pressures on your mind—those in the present and those from your past!

Since they are in your subconscious, you wonder, How can I know what is in my subconscious mind?  Our minds give us clues.  Ever have a recurring dream? Ever go someplace, and for no reason at all you don’t like it?  Is there someone you don’t trust, but can’t figure out why?  Or just the opposite:  Is there someone you have a great desire to please, but don’t know why you feel this way?  How the mind works is so mysterious, and things (or clues) are not the same for everyone.  In addition, the clues are not always obvious.

The main idea of this blog is to help people understand that when we feel weak, run down, and fatigued that it may not be totally due to a physical condition.  It may be the result of an overload on your mind!  Sometimes people say that:  I take my vitamins, but they are not working. OR  I get enough sleep, but I’m still tired.  OR  I eat well.  But they still don’t feel right.  It could be due to both physical  AND mental reasons—a combination of factors!

When we are evaluating why we feel as we do, it is important to consider our mental and physical health.  Please remember, our bodies have many different connections!   Just as an aside note:  Each one of our teeth is affected by a part of the body.  That is why dentists are trained to spot over 500 diseases from conditions in the mouth.  Reflexologists can ease many illnesses by massaging specific areas on the feet.  Chiropractors can relieve stress in many parts of the body by adjusting the spine.  Not only are there different connections and cross-connections, there are different ways to promote healing.  And to make things more complex, a malfunction of the body can cause a mental malfunction!

Scientists have shown that the bodies of those people who have been diagnosed as bipolar, for example, cannot absorb a particular salt from the foods they eat.  That’s why it is rare for people who live in Salt Lake City, Utah to have this diagnosis.  People living in this area don’t have to extract this particular salt  from their food. The salt is in the water!

As I’ve said before, I do NOT advise that people stop taking their prescription medications or NOT to go to see their doctors.  I believe in working WITH my doctors to heal as quickly as possible, eliminating the need for prescription drugs as soon as possible.

I’m motivated to finding alternative ways of healing and causes of illness (dis-ease) because I suffer too many side effects from prescription medications.  However, even natural remedies can cause side effects!  Everyone’s body is different, unique.  What works for one person may not work for another  person.  And since our bodies are constantly changing (Every cell in the body has been replaced each seven years.  Before you ask—if the brain believes a cell to be damaged, the new cell will be replaced just as damaged!), what works for us one year may not work in another year.  More and more people are becoming allergic to something each year for the first time.  It is well known that our bodies cannot process or digest some chemicals (ie. pesticides, fungicides, herbicides) that are grown in our food supply.  There is a growing demand for organic foods (foods that are grown without pesticides, fungicides, and/or herbicides–chemicals that grow into the foods and cannot always be washed off.

There is good news:  Although there’s no way to forget memories, there is a  way to take away the pain of the bad memories.  Then they become just old memories that no longer have those automatic negative feelings attached to them – feeling those negative feelings whether we liked it or not; want to feel them or not!  This process is called reframing—the subject of Blog #4.

Blog-2…Disease

Blog-2…Disease

(dis-ease)

It is extremely important to understand the connection between disease and the mind-body connection.  First, let’s look at the word disease.  For a clearer picture of what the word disease (dis-ease) means, consider the following (meanings taken from Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary: 10th edition):

Disbar – expel from the legal profession

Discomfort – lack of comfort, not comfortable, distress, grief, mental and/or physical, uneasiness

Discord – lack of agreement or lack of harmony

Discredit – loss of credit or loss of reputation

Disinterested – not interested

Disloyal – lacking in loyalty

Disorder – lack of order

Disease – sickness, malady, trouble, a condition of the living animal or plant body or of one of its parts that                                      impairs normal functioning (causing  something to go wrong)

Ease – state of being comfortable, freedom from pain or discomfort.

 

Take a circus balloon shaped like a hot dog.  If you grab one end and squeeze, the other end gets larger.  No matter which end you grab and squeeze, the other end will get larger.  They are connected to the same space.  The mind and the body are like that balloon.  When you affect one, you affect the other.

It is not uncommon for a person to become saddened or emotionally hurt by someone one day, then become sick with a cold or a virus within the next few days.  This happens because when we become emotionally hurt it decreases our immune system—the ability to fight off diseases.  We are always fighting off viruses, diseases, etc.  Medical researchers tell us that we all even have some type of cancer cells in our bodies.  It is our immune system that keeps the bad (or abnormal) cells from growing and maturing, from taking over our normal cells.  The longer our immune system is affected by negative feelings/thoughts, the worse we feel and the longer it takes to get better.

Besides taking medications, one very important thing to do at this time is to think about what it is that caused us to become upset in the first place.  Just to not think about it, putting it out of your conscious mind, swallowing it, will not make it go away.  It is still there, deep in your sub-conscious mind.  It still bothers you, creeping into your conscious mind from time to time—reliving the moment(s) that caused you to become upset.  It’s like keeping those past moments in the present.  At times like this, to change your body’s reaction to what you feel, you need to reframe the incident(s).  (Reframing—subject of a future blog.)  For now, we’ll just look at simpler methods.

Let me give you an example.  I once knew a woman who complained to me that she was tired of going in and out of the hospital. For several weeks she was sick with one thing after another.  I asked her to think about the time before she became ill.  Without telling me what, I asked her if something happen to upset her?  She thought for a moment, then said, “yes.”  I asked her to think about what happened and look at things in a different way—a way that she could accept.  A week later I ran into her in the mall, happily shopping and feeling perfectly fine.

Keeping negative, hurtful thoughts in your mind (your thoughts or those of someone else) continues to have a negative effect on your immune system.  You want to get those thoughts, those feelings, out of your head.  Some people write.  Sometimes this works for me.  For example:  One day I had a phone conversation that left me absolutely furious!  I couldn’t do anything but pace around the room, muttering to myself.  I knew my blood pressure was dangerously high.  I couldn’t go to sleep.  I didn’t want to talk to anyone and take my anger and frustration out on them.  So I decided to write.  The following poem is the result of that day.

The Devil Is A Relative

Rage strong enough to kill

Is a nurtured and cultivated skill

Produced by cunning and pressure

Needled and twisted by someone’s pleasure.

 

 This person is surely not a stranger

Not one you’d associate with danger

Nor a friend who wishes you well

More than likely someone from hell.

 

Beware the two faces of kin

Smiling while plunging the knife in

Someone we’re taught to tolerate

Can with years of abuse

Transform love into hate.

After writing that poem, I felt such a release of stress!  It enabled me to get the emotions out onto paper instead of locked inside my head.

If it is a person who upset you, let you down, another way to get those feelings out is by writing that person a letter.  You don’t have to mail the letter, just get your feelings out onto paper—outside of you!  If there is someone you trust to keep your feelings to themselves, read the letter to that person.  I watched a woman in a Women’s Shelter read a letter she wrote to her husband.  He would come home from working as a policeman keeping her community safe, only to find any excuse to beat her before going to bed.  Her heartfelt letter explained how she felt, her disappointment, her pain, and her anger.  I sat next to her as she read her letter.  It was like watching a flower bloom, as while she read, her back straightened, her shoulders went back, and she smiled after sincerely yours.  Just being able to express how she felt enabled her to release so much stress.  Of course, it is also even more helpful when your feelings are validated by others, and you are given the support you want and need.

There is always aggressive sports, aerobics, swimming multiple laps, or even going on a cleaning binge of your car or home.  The idea is not to sit and brood, continuously bringing the past into the present, reliving those painful memories.

The incidents don’t cause the pain inside you.  It is your reactions to the incidents that cause the pain.  If a total stranger called you a bad name, you’d look at the stranger and consider that person crazy.  If someone you know and care about calls you that same bad name, your feelings are hurt.  It is your reaction that causes you to feel the pain.  Remember, although it’s not easy, you have the power to determine what you will allow to hurt you.  You always have that power!