How Mindfulness Helps Prevent Disease
We were all led to believe that the body is pre-programmed by our genes, and those genes always respond in the same way. We have been told that if we are unlucky, we may have genes that are more inclined to manifest certain diseases like heart disease or cancer.
It is true we all have different genes, but they don’t seem to behave the way we were all taught. In the last 20 years, researchers have discovered and proven that genes can express themselves in many different ways (over 2,000 ways, according to biologist Bruce Lipton in his book, The Biology of Belief). This means they can express themselves in ways that make us more likely to get sick or less likely. For example, Lipton cites in The Biology of Belief an experiment with rats that were given high doses of cholesterol. Cholesterol has long been thought to be a primary cause of heart disease. Researchers gave one group of rats a chemical to relax them and the other group a chemical to stress their system. The group given the stress chemical developed heart problems and died, but the group that was unstressed didn’t develop any heart problems. Apparently, it was the stress hormones that signaled the genes to take the cholesterol and form the plaque which caused the heart disease; the problem was not necessarily the cholesterol itself.
What causes stress? Certainly toxic physical environments caused by pollutants in the air, and unhealthy ingredients in our food create stresses in the body. But the biggest and most insidious cause of stress is our mind. Our beliefs, emotions and negative thinking all contribute to create a toxic environment in our mind. This translates to stress, and, as a result, produces chemicals in the body that create a toxic environment in our cells. These toxic chemicals signal the genes to express themselves in ways that lead to the body breaking down. Over time, disease takes hold. The body is built to be very resilient and compensates for things like unhealthy diets and even toxins in the environment. However, the constant stress of negative thinking and negative emotions will invariably break the body down.
What Can We Do?
Following are suggestions that have been proven by scientific studies to help shift the momentum back in our favor.
• Meditation: It has been shown that just 15-20 minutes of meditation, three times a week, has a significant effect on our stress level and creates greater health in the body. Any kind of meditation will work. Consistency is the key.
• Gratitude: Writing down 3-5 specific things we are grateful for at the end of our day begins to shift the mindset from “glass half empty” to “glass half full.” Over time, this becomes a permanent, positive default for our mind.
• Change deep-seated beliefs: Beliefs are stored in the subconscious and unconscious mind. There are many new therapies out there that are quick and efficient in allowing the inner mind to permanently change its negative and limiting beliefs. The latter leads to emotional upsets and faulty thinking. Some of them are regression therapy, hypnosis, TAT, EFT, EMDR and more. Many of these modalities, once learned, can be easily done at home.
• Change your environment: We often have a choice who we hang out with, what programs and movies to watch, what books we read, what classes we take, what workplaces we put ourselves into. Choose options that promote a more positive mindset and loving support.
Start making small changes every month using some of the ideas above. Take a 30-day challenge to make a 5 percent change and then another 5 percent change the next month. In the process, you have created permanent new positive habits that support sustained better health.
Michael Rosenbaum, ACHT, MP, an advanced clinical hypnotherapist and metaphysician practitioner, has a private practice in Danbury, and Katonah and Mt. Kisco, N.Y. He has been a practitioner for over 20 years and has over 3,000 hours of training in alternative therapies. Connect at 914-218-9000 and AlternativeChoices.org. See Community Resource Guide listings, pages 75 and 77.Edit ModuleShow Tags