January 01, 2015
Our minds are powerful. In fact, so powerful you can use your mind to help you heal. Well, if your mind can help you heal then can it also do the opposite, cause illness. A recent study by psychologists at Ohio State University found that the thoughts and attitudes of breast cancer clients had a profound effect on their tumour. A previous study also had similar results in that the rate of recurrence of breast cancer reduced with psychological therapy. Another study found that immune system responses rose rapidly with patients when their breast cancer had returned who had psychological therapy. A UK study with patients who had foot ulcers found that their mind, especially their sense of mental well-being, affects the healing process. This information is not new… it was back in the 60’s that Solomon discovered that when rheumatoid arthritis patients got depressed their symptoms worsen. The WHO (World Health Organisation) has stated that depression is one of the 10 factors that can cause disease. Meditation and the power of the mind can help reduce pain said a study and a self-awareness program that included people acknowledging their emotions helped fibromyalgia sufferers.
Likewise a negative mental attitude- one that doesn’t acknowledge your emotions and moves the emotions through the body- also can create sickness and disease. Research shows that a poor immune system is suppressed by chronic stress and depression and increases the risk of MS. People who feel guilt and shame are affecting the function of their immune system. A study found that when you self-blame you have raised levels of cytokines, that cause inflammation in an immune system attack and those who suppressed their thoughts showed significant deceases in the lymphocytes that fight infection.
Meditation also causes a thickening of the brain cortex allowing them to deal with pain more easily and the area of the brain becomes more active when you meditate that deals with cognitive and emotional tasks and self-regulation. A research at the Dalian University suggests that meditation might reduce or prevent mental problems and disorders.
Our thoughts affect our immune system, which has a connection to the hormonal system and the nervous system. Neurotransmitters, hormones and neuropeptides act as transport mechanisms between these systems and deliver your thoughts, be it negative or positive thoughts. Cytokines allow for the communication between cells and nerve tissues, therefore the immune system and the nervous communicate with each other through a chemical language.
We have an innate healing power that is either suppressed or activated on our ability to feel loved and grateful. As disease can be something that we have created rather than something that happened to us, what can you do to be grateful about in your life now? And instead of saying, such and such disease occurred to me, re-phrase that to ask yourself ‘how can I use this to change my attitude today?’.
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- European Heart Journal, 2010;doi:10.1093
- Pain Management Nursing, 2010; 11: 56-65
- Journal of General Intern Medicine, 2010; doi: 10.1007
- Drugs today, 2009; 45: 115-26
- Int Rev Psychiatry, 2005; 17: 515-27
- Immunologicval Allergy Clin North America, 2009; 29: 309-20
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