Your body is a self-healing organism. By bypassing its natural self-repair process and handing all your power over to a doctor, you might be ignoring the very thing you need to heal. This is not a revolutionary idea. Doctors learn that the body can heal itself. Their physiology texts teach them that it is brilliantly equipped with natural self-repair mechanisms that kill the cancer cells we produce every day, fight infectious agents, repair broken proteins, keep our coronary arteries open and naturally fight the aging process.
We all know stress is bad for us, but did you realize that every stressful thought, feeling or belief — we average more than 50 such responses every day — disables the body's ability to repair itself?
We have an unhealthy relationship with the very notion of stress. We often think it means that we're too busy (and therefore that we're worthy and important). But it's much more than demands on your time and energy. Sure, stress can be running around like a headless chicken, trying to check off your to-do list. But as far as your nervous system is concerned, stress is also social isolation and loneliness. It's selling your soul for a paycheck. Stress is a pessimistic worldview. It's toxic relationships. Stress is money worries. It's knowing you have a song within you that has yet to be sung, or feeling out of touch with your life's purpose. Stress is negative beliefs about your health. It's feeling like nobody really gets the real you. It's pretending to be something that you're not. And stress is feeling disconnected from your higher power.
The scientific literature shows that to keep the nervous system in relaxation response so the body can heal itself, we need a different kind of medicine. To the nervous system, medicine is being loved just as you are. It's helping those in need. Medicine is expressing your creative genius. It's seeing the glass half full, and laughing out loud. Medicine is the unconditional love of animals. It's speaking your truth, and knowing you belong. Medicine is communing with nature, and nourishing the body with real food. Medicine is tapping into your higher power. It's being unapologetically you. Maybe to finally get well, you need to quit your soul-sucking job or escape a toxic relationship. Maybe you need to meditate more, or move to the country. Maybe you need to find your calling and do your part to save the world. Maybe you need to paint.
So I ask you the question the poet Mary Oliver posed: "Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" When you start living the answer, your body's natural self-repair mechanisms will flip on and you will have done everything within your power to heal yourself.
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