You have the power to heal your life, and you need to know that. ….
Louise Hay
“History is full of examples of people having their bodies controlled just through the power of the mind, the power of belief,” says Darren Bridger in his article “How Much Can Your Mind Control Your Body?” It is hard for most of us to accept that we have the ability to keep ourselves healthy and happy simply by believing in our well-being. We read countless examples of people who have cured their cancers, eliminated back pain and reversed depression by deciding they wanted to be healthy. Yet, few of us accept that we, too can control our mood, our health and the quality of our lives. We say instead, “Well maybe they can do it, but I can’t.”
And that is the challenge: Believing we can fix our problems is the most important component in creating the good life. Our brains are part of our bodies, after all. Everyone knows that if you imagine eating something delicious, your mouth will water. We all have read about people whose health improves when they take a placebo instead of the drug they believe will cure them, but, surprisingly enough, experiments show that even when the person knows they are taking a sugar pill, it can cure them if they think it can. Studies have shown that a placebo can create the same chemical effect in your body as the real drug. Ín other words, merely believing you are receiving some medical help can improve your health. Taking that one step further, believing you are happy makes you happy and believing that your life is good, makes it good.
The other side of the coin is true as well. You can make yourself sick by believing you are ill. My mother was sure she would get cancer. Every few months, she would call me and say,” I have a lump.” As I drove her to the doctor, she would discuss what she planned to leave me in her will and when the results of the biopsy were negative, she was certain the doctor made a mistake. Finally, after several repetitions of this routine, she convinced a doctor to open her up and look for this mythical cancer she was sure she detected. When he could find nothing, he put an implant in her arm “just in case there really was something there.” My mother got cancer from that implant.
“Researchers are just starting to appreciate the power that the mind can have over the body,” says Tor Wager, an assistant professor of psychology at Columbia University. Positive thinking actually works if we believe in it and taking that one step further, we can eliminate pain simply by believing it does not exist. A friend of mind never uses pain killers when she has a root canal. She tells herself it won’t hurt and it does not. People can do this with migraine headaches, back pain and even with childbirth…all they need to do is firmly believe that the pain others have told them about will not happen to them.
How much of our dissatisfactions are caused what we believe about them. Are we lousy dancers because we have bad co-ordination or because we think we will not be able to master the steps? Are the elderly unable to do vigorous exercise because they are old or because they think they cannot? We all have friends who are selectively deaf…is this deliberate? Can they really hear if they want to? Are you a lousy cook because you think you are? Even more interesting, are you beautiful because you believe you are?
When I was in high school, I dated a 15 year old boy who was the strangest specimen of male I had ever seen. He was about 5’5” tall, shaped like a teardrop with very big feet. To add to his unsettling appearance, he was balding (at 15!) and he had an extremely large forehead, very full lips and a pot belly. When I first set eyes on him, I thought he had escaped from the zoo.
We went out several times and I had more fun than I believed possible. We laughed and told jokes. We appreciated the same kinds of music and loved to party. He had a wonderful personality and delightful wit. I will never forget my excitement the evening, several months after we started going out, when I saw him walk up to my front door. I thought my heart would burst with anticipation of our evening together and the sweet kisses afterward. He was that gorgeous to me.
Think about the life you are living, the job you have and your circle of friends. Are they satisfying to you because you think they are or because of some external qualities that are absolute? If you are unhappy, can you turn your attitude around by wanting it to change? How much power do you really want to have over your life? Isn’t it easier to blame someone else when things don’t go the way you would like? What keeps us from molding our lives into constructive patterns that give us pleasure? Susan Bishop specializes in helping people use their minds to improve their lives through hypnotherapy. “I continue to be amazed by how much people can accomplish when they're given the right tools,” she says.
What we think, we become.