Key Words to Your Search Engine
The Link Between Mind and Body

By Kathy Gruver  MS, LMT

Some experts estimate that we have around 60,000 thoughts a day and that 50,000 of those are negative. That’s 80% negative thoughts, which translates to me as 80% negative results. It’s so easy, especially with what’s happening in the world today to let our thoughts go to fear, worry and fatalism. And it is important to acknowledge our feelings and note that we do have fear and concern, but when these thoughts start to rule our minds and become repetitive, it can lead to illness and negative changes in our bodies.

Through working with numerous massage clients, I started to realize that the words they chose to both describe their situation and their lives correlated directly to the level of their health. Those that were consistently negative tended to have more colds, injuries and muscle pain. I spent just as much time with these clients teaching them about self-talk as I did about the importance of stretching and good nutrition.

To me, the mind is a vast computer and what we seek out, we find. It’s like typing key words into your search engine of choice. If you’re looking for information about steak, you type in steak; if you’re looking for cats you type in cats; if you want to read about Brittany Spears you don’t type in the words Karl Malden. So, if we are programming our mind for sickness, illness, lack, poverty, suffering, fear, pain… that is exactly what we’re going to get. This is where affirmations can be useful. Make them short, in the present and positive. For example: “I am healthy and well”. You wouldn’t say “I am no longer sick”.

I find these especially useful when trying to fall asleep. I repeat, “I fall asleep quickly and easily, I wake up feeling refreshed”. These types of short phrases do one of two things. Either it programs me to fall asleep quickly and to wake up feeling refreshed or, at the very least, it shuts out the other thoughts that are running through my head. There is a physics axiom that states “Two solid objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time”. Well, it’s the same with thoughts. We can’t be thinking two things at once. That’s what counting sheep was all about; it distracted us from those repetitive thoughts that plague us at bedtime. I’m not saying changing our thoughts and words are easy. Especially if we’ve been programmed since we were young or are surrounded by negativity in our lives. But it can be done with a little practice. And the results are phenomenal.

And this technique doesn’t just help us catch some zzzz’s. It can be used for anything. Here are a few examples:

I am wealthy and prosperous
I am healthy and well
My body is strong and resilient
The universe provides for me
I am divinely protected
I attract love and support
I am surrounded by supportive, helpful friends

I could go on and on. The most important thing is to recognize situations where you tend towards negativity and decide to change your mind. Going in to situations with a negative attitude doesn’t benefit anyone and just makes life more unpleasant.

Another aspect of this self-talk is our body can’t distinguish between what we are imaging and what is happening external to ourselves. So by using our thoughts and fantasizing about something that’s not really happening, we can cause a change in our physiology and stress levels. We are actually forming new connections in the brain constantly and thinking something over and over can change the neural pathways. And negativity creates stress, and we know stress is a killer in this society. This is why imaging negative things or worrying about issues make our bodies react so negatively. We’ve all had experience where we’ve gotten ourselves so worked up over something we’ve made ourselves sick. This is why it’s extra important to only think positive, productive thoughts. We get enough stress from the outside; we don’t need to be making up any more inside our heads.

There have been so many studies done about the placebo effect, our beliefs, the power of prayer and positive thinking and healing. It can take some effort, certainly, to change a lifetime of beliefs, but the benefits far outweigh the work it will take. Again, not to say that aren’t times things go wrong and we need to talk about them. But people that are still badmouthing the spouse from 20 years ago or are blaming their parents at age 52 are obviously stuck in past, negative patterns. This would be a great time to work on affirmations and move forward in a positive way.

But the mind/body connection goes further. I believe that the body can tell us what is out of balance in our emotions. I’ve observed a strong connection between the parts of the body that are showing illness and the emotions connected with it. For example, do you feel like your hands are full or can’t get a grip? Wrist and hand pain? Feeling spineless, unsupported or stabbed in the back? Having back issues? And my favorite… who is the pain in your neck? Sometimes by looking at the area of the body, we can gain insight into emotions that we might be stuffing or not fully acknowledging. And from what I’ve learned from my clients, you can stretch, get massage, have surgery even, but unless those emotions are dealt with, the body will keep having illness. And it will get worse and worse each time.

Remember that for true health we need to balance all aspects of body, mind and spirit. And perhaps some of our physical manifestations of illness have an emotional trigger. Affirmations can help, as can analyzing what situations we treat from a negative mindset. Our words and thoughts have a larger influence on our physicality than we realize. If we can integrate the emotions with the physical, we achieve full and long lasting healing.

I hope this gives you some insight into the mind/body connection and how it might help you to help yourself.

In health!

Kathy Gruver holds a Masters in Natural Health, is a traditional naturopath and massage therapist.  Her book the Alternative Medicine Cabinet is collection of information to help you make better choices about your health.

Dynamic Living Magazine Issue Vol. 3  May/June 2011 The End