How often do you hear about the importance of nutrition for good health? I bet you hear it a lot. And that’s because nutrition is an important factor in maintaining a healthy body. In addition, more and more people are talking about how they healed their illnesses and health problems through nutrition. For some health conditions that is completely reasonable. If you have type II diabetes for example, there is a lot you can do with nutrition. If you have a more complicated health condition however, it gets a lot trickier.
If all health conditions could be healed simply through nutrition, I would have healed myself many times over by now. I’ve tried it all:
You get the idea, right?
Some of these things help, such as eating mostly whole foods and keeping my intake of dairy, sugar, and gluten on the low end. I generally feel less heavy and my digestive system works better when I eat this way. What none of these eating strategies has done for me, however, is heal any of my health conditions. And I believe there is a very good reason for this:
What you put into your mind is much more important than what you put into your mouth.
Let me explain. We can be on a strict and extremely "healthy" diet, but if we are stressed, anxious, depressed or struggling with difficult emotions on a long-term basis, that can do a lot more damage to our bodies then eating a bag of potato chips. This isn't permission to go crazy with the chips though! Nutrition still matters, but maybe just not as much as we are sometimes led to believe.
Let's say you have chronic anxiety. Your body will be in fight or flight mode most of the time. This puts an enormous amount of pressure on your body to continually produce cortisol, adrenaline, and other stress hormones, which is an unnatural demand. Constant stress leads to inflammation and eventually something breaks down. Often we develop pain or illness because our bodies can’t keep up with our automatic negative thoughts, resulting emotions, which many of us do our best to repress. More often than not, it starts with your thoughts.
Our bodies were originally designed to go into fight or flight mode only if there was a serious threat to our lives, such as a bear chasing us. These days many of us spend far too much time in fight or flight for reasons that are not actually life-threatening.
In my practice, I'm seeing more and more clients dealing with mind-body connection issues where when they are stressed, anxious or unhappy, their bodies respond in kind - with pain, fatigue and/or illness.
The mind body connection is very strong, stronger than I think any of us still even realize. When the mind is stressed, that stress is also put on the body and eventually the body gives out if the stress is not relieved. Your stress level, your ability to cope with stress, and what you think and feel is going to have far more impact on your health than what you put in your mouth.
Imagine how your body would feel if your automatic negative thoughts stopped and you had only calm and peaceful ones.
You have more power than you think:
You have the power to change your automatic negative thoughts into more realistic ones.
You can keep yourself in the present and stop dwelling on the past or constantly worrying about the future.
You have the ability to feel relaxed and calm as much as you want.
You have the ability to change the thinking that is leading to the fight or flight response in your body.
You have more power to heal your body through your thoughts than you do through your diet.
You have more control and power than you know. All you have to do is start using it.
Great, so how do you start using your power to change your thinking and heal? The first step is to become aware of your automatic negative thoughts. Patrol your mind. Become the observer of what is going on in your head.
I'm going to leave you with that homework until the New Year. For the month of January I'm going to be blogging about how to change your thoughts, step by step. By the end of the month, you'll have all the tools you need to increase your sense of peace and calm whenever, wherever.