Welcome to my blog, which built on the belief that we have the ability to create our health, and that consciously or unconsciously we are creating our level of health all the time. Health and illness are an inside job. This may seem far-fetched, but the amazing advances in neuroscience over the past decade or so have shown that our brain and mind have a huge influence on how our body functions. Lifestyle factors are important too, but our beliefs and the things we focus on, are as important, if not more so.
Illness is not something over which we have no control, but is something that arises for a reason. A loud message from the psyche that something is amiss, illness does not arise out of the blue. Previous messages will have come in the form of emotions, feelings of stress and maybe physical feelings. When these are ignored, the body ups the ante, trying desperately to get the message across that there is something that you, the body owner, need to pay attention to.
Imagine that your body is a barometer that signals the internal weather of your mind and spirit. If you recognize it as such, then the meaning of prodromal emotions and symptoms (those that arise before an illness) or the meaning of the illness itself, can be identified and you can take steps to either avert or heal it. Healing it means recreating yourself and your body to serve you better, whatever that may look like – it may not necessarily seem like healing to an outsider. However, people rarely take the steps required to recreate their health, because emotions, symptoms and illness are not seen as a message, but as a threat which must be resisted. The perception of threat, and the resistance to it results in added stress on an already stressed system.
Some of you may say that this is blaming the victim, but this is not blame – this is how our minds and bodies work. The brain of very early man had a primitive response mechanism, the fight-flight-freeze response, to help him fight or escape from Sabre-Tooth Tigers and other outside dangers. These situations were stressful, but the stress was short-lived. The man was either eaten or he escaped.
Over time, as mankind evolved and man became part of a social system, living in a group with others, this mechanism became more sophisticated. As it became important for man to fit in with the group, stress could be caused by internal events (doubts and fears) as well as by external ones. And the growth of imagination meant that stress could be relived, even after the stressor was gone. Consequently, stress itself has become an ever-present danger, because while its short-term effects help mobilize man to escape an external threat, when these effects continue and become long-term they are extremely damaging to the body.
Nowadays, our lives are so complicated that most of us have multiple small (or even large) stressors to deal with on a daily basis. Situations such as working for a boss we dislike, living on a barely adequate income, having a row with our spouse , or even being ‘unfriended’ on Facebook, may cumulatively lead to a stress level that, if not deliberately reduced, may contribute to a ‘stress iceberg’ – ninety percent of the stress is hidden below the surface but is still having an on-going effect on us. The mechanism of how stress leads to physical illness has been known for fifty years, but only recently have physicians been acknowledging the link and tailoring treatments to include stress reduction techniques.
My intention is to be open about the known mechanisms for creating illness and health, and to give examples of actions (both external and internal) that people can use to reverse illness, or create greater health – whatever that may look like for them.