By Lissa Rankin MD
Guest Writer for Wake Up World
You may know that your body is brilliantly equipped with natural self-repair mechanisms that repair broken proteins, kill cancer cells, fight infections, retard aging, and generally keep your body healthy. But did you know that these self-repair mechanisms can be flipped on – or off – with the power of thoughts, beliefs, and feelings that originate in the mind?
It’s not New Age hocus pocus. It’s simple physiology! Here’s how it happens for the nerds among you who, like me, like to understand how things in the body work.
The Stress Response Vs. Relaxation Response
Your nervous system operates in two different states – the “fight-or-flight” stress response, when the sympathetic nervous system dominates, and the relaxation response, when the parasympathetic nervous system is in charge. But here’s the kicker- your body’s natural self-repair mechanisms only activate when your body is in a relaxation response!
The average person experiences 50 stress responses per day, and every time you have a fearful thought or a pessimistic belief or a resentful feeling, you trigger stress responses that fill the body with poisonous stress hormones like cortisol and epinephrine. But when you have an optimistic belief or a loving thought or a feeling of compassion, you activate relaxation responses, and the body can then do what it does best – heal itself.
Balancing The Nervous System
How can you help your body heal itself? It’s all about reducing stress responses and adding in relaxation responses. Reducing your stress requires taking a good look at your life to determine whether there are any areas where you’re living out of alignment with your truth and personal integrity. Maybe you’re in a soul-sucking job or a toxic relationship, or maybe it’s time to finally forgive your father or pursue a dream. While reducing stress responses can require some radical actions, activating relaxation responses can be easy and pleasurable.
Here are a few scientifically-proven relaxation response activators:
- Playing with animals
- Generous giving of time or gifts
- Creative expression
- Attending religious services
- Practicing gratitude
- Nurturing touch
- Seeing an alternative medicine practitioner
- Listening to music
Still not sure how to heal yourself? Get quiet and tap into your intuition and ask yourself this one question –
What does my body need in order to heal?
Let yourself hear the truth, and then choose one baby step you can take right now that will either reduce stress responses in your life or increase relaxation responses. Then muster up your courage and take action!
My Self-Healing Story
By the time I was 33 years old, I had been diagnosed with a whole laundry list of health problem my doctors deemed chronic and incurable, but by making The Diagnosis for myself and writing my own Prescription, I was able to enlist the help of my body’s natural self-repair mechanisms and get off all but 1 of the 7 medications I was taking – and I’m now symptom-free. You can read all the juicy details of my personal Prescription – all the things I did to overcome my multiple health conditions – in my book Mind Over Medicine, which you can order here.
You can activate the same sort of radical self-healing in yourself when you make your body ripe for miracles by allowing your self-repair mechanisms to operate optimally.
Do you believe your body can heal itself? I do…
With faith in your body’s natural self-repair mechanisms,
Updated September 2014
Previous articles by Lissa
- 8 Ways Overcoming Fear Can Improve Your Health
- The Health Benefits Of Finding Your Tribe
- 7 Tips For Finding Your Tribe
- 10 Myths About Self-Healing Debunked
About the author
Lissa Rankin, MD is a mind-body medicine physician, founder of the Whole Health Medicine Institute training program for physicians and health care providers, and the New York Times bestselling author of Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself. She is on a grass roots mission to heal health care, while empowering you to heal yourself.
Lissa blogs at LissaRankin.com and also created two online communities – HealHealthCareNow.com and OwningPink.com. She is also the author of two other books, a professional artist, an amateur ski bum, and an avid hiker. Lissa lives in the San Francisco Bay area with her husband and daughter.