Stop Making Yourself Sick: Using The Power of Your Mind To Create Greater Health

 By: Laurie Erdman
What if you knew your thoughts could make you well? Or they could make you sick?

What if you knew that changing your thoughts you could reverse cancer?

What if you knew your thought "I just want to get sick just so I could take a break" would make you sick?

Would you change your thoughts?

I'm going to share with you the power of your thoughts. As with any power, it can be used for good or bad. Our thoughts are the difference between vibrant health and lackluster "just getting by." Which will you choose?

The Dark Side of Our Thoughts

I've been reading the powerful book Love, Medicine and Miracles by Bernie Seigel, M.D. For those who don't know him, Dr. Siegel is a trailblazer in bringing the science and practice of mind-body medicine to the public eye and the medical establishment. In my talk Harnessing The Energy of Your Wake Up Call, I mentioned how he has shown the role our thoughts play in determining the outcome of cancer treatment.

His work is an inspiration to anyone with cancer or other "incurable" diseases. He shares stories and research supporting the power of our mind to melt away cancer tumors. Awesome, inspiring stuff.

But Dr. Siegel's work has lessons for everyone. Because where the is light, there is also dark.

I'm all too familiar with the dark side of the mind. Several years ago, pre-MS diagnosis, I was manifesting my illness, unwittingly. I was disaffected with life. I had little joy (except what I found in pottery). I felt enormous stress and pressure. Some of the pressure was external, being applied by my bosses and the fast growth organization I worked in. But a lot of it was internal. My own pressure to succeed and be perfect; fueled by my disease to please that I've written about.

The pressure was so intense, I often found myself wondering what would happen if I plowed my car into that telephone pole and ended up in traction. Or I thought, "if I only got really sick, like bed-ridden sick, then I would get a chance to rest." Yes, I hoped for cancer or even MS, something that would stop me since I couldn't seem to stop myself.

Was I really as indispensable as I was told by my colleagues? Would the projects I managed survive without me?

Of course I was replaceable, even as I left big shoes to fill when I did leave on my own two feet.

No one is irreplaceable. That fact, however, is not comforting when you are a perfectionist over-achiever.

These thoughts are the dark side of our mind at work and they make us sick. The thoughts of perfectionism, the drive to please and the desire to get sick just to escape life all came to bear on body's desire to shut down versus thrive. Our cells are listening to our thoughts. With enough frequency, we manifest that desire. The desire to get sick instructs our cells to comply, such is our power to create illness.

Wake Up And Smell The Incense

My illness inducing, disease to please, perfectionist, over-achieving mindset did not vanish overnight. In fact it still lurks around the corners of my mind. I still struggle with overwork, overachieving, perfectionism. The difference is that today, this mindset no longer rules my life. It no longer has a hold on my every action. I've made peace with the dark side.

Before we can make peace, we must acknowledge and embrace the dark side. We must recognize the dark thoughts for part of who we are. Yet we must also create boundaries. Not punishing boundaries, but loving, safe boundaries. We must become open to something softer (not weaker).

1. Recognize the value in the dark side. The dark side always has value, which is dangerous to ignore. The dark side is there to teach us something about ourselves. It is there to protect us from harm (real or imagined). The dark side can also be a siren song of warning. My own repeated desire to get sick or injured was clearly a cry for help, or as I call it a "wake up whisper" telling me I had to change. If we ignore the whispers we ignore the danger. That leaves the door open for the wake up call.

2. Get comfortable with discomfort. Life is unpredictable. It changes at a moments notice. Whether a request for divorce, a sudden deadline or a diagnosis, we can't predict what will happen in the next moment. This is painful to hear if you are a perfectionist control freak like I have been known to be. Instead, reframe the situation. When we fight unpredictability we are fighting nature. We are fighting our very nature. Instead, get comfortable with the discomfort. Marvel at the magic of every moment that is completely unpredictable. Embrace the surprise that is life. The dark side shrinks in the presence of magic.

3. Nix the judgment and pull back the curtain. I grew up in a household that was very judgmental. I resisted it as I got older, but had to admit years later I had learned at the feet of masters. The danger of judgment is we spend time looking outward when we should be looking inward. That means we view our problems as something being done to us, not from within us. This outward victim view leads to those thoughts of "will they miss me when I'm undergoing chemo?" Shift the focus inward. What needs to change within you so you can respond differently to the pressures.

The dark side of the mind is seductive when are in the midst of deadlines, late hours and lunch on the run. Start to create boundaries around the darkness. This means you will have to soften your tough exterior. But softness doesn't mean weakness. Softness means thriving.
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