We’ve heard it again time after time, expert after expert, and patient after patient…
Our minds have a tremendous capacity to influence our healing!
How? A positive attitude, and its cousins prayer, meditation, and visualization, have been shown to improve outcomes, ease pain, and promote recoveries beyond what was believed possible.
Master Herbalist Jane Christensen spoke with the Revealed team about this. She states, “I really feel like we have a lot of control over our genetics and over the health our body expresses.”
Brandy Gillmore Ph.D. stunned us with her explanation of the mind’s power by asserting, “we are all walking around with brains that we don’t know how to operate…”
So how does this work? Is there any proof?
Numerous scientific studies have attempted to prove, quantify, and explain how the mind affects health and pain. In a 2017 study by Elmholdt et al., researchers speculate that pain reduction from prayer may due simply to patient expectation, and may also be due to the reduction of pain processing in the prefrontal cortex.
Fadel and Vago stated in a 2017 study that, “the use of mind-body approaches, such as mindfulness meditation, may prove to be an important resource to teach patients to self-regulate their respective experience of pain…”
Gayle Meyers, MD explains the power of the mind by pointing to the concept of neuroplasticity – the power of the mind to change with repetition. She explains, “the more consistent positive thoughts, the more brain neurons change chemical signals, altering the structure and function of the brain associated with positive behavioral changes and healing.”
Meyers cites numerous health benefits as a result of the positive power of the mind. These include: reducing the effects of stress, boosting the immune system, increasing resilience, and promoting healing.
So how can we put this power to work in our lives? Author Amy Morin, CSW offers the following suggestions:
- Expect your treatments to work. Focus on and enumerate the reasons they will work for you and how they will help you.
- Consider keeping a gratitude journal. This practice is especially helpful at bedtime, aiding you to focus on what you are grateful for. It will help you enjoy more peaceful and deeper sleep. This sleep will allow your body to rest, de-stress, and put energy toward healing.
- Focus on the purpose and meaning in your life. Studies show that people whose lives are meaningful are more likely to live longer, healthier lives.
- Remember that a positive mindset improves immunity. Optimism reduces stress, and the immune system benefits greatly from this.
- Meditate or pray. These practices help to protect you from stress and its aging effects.
- Make use of the practice of visualization to improve your exercise benefits and results. Envision positive and healthful effects on your body from your workouts.
- Find something to laugh about. Laughter decreases stress hormones, increases good cholesterol, and reduces arterial inflammation.
Of all the steps taken in wellness and healing, learning to harness the power of the mind can be one of the most powerful things you can do. It costs you nothing but a little time and effort to incorporate this into your wellness and healing regimen, and the payoff is priceless!