Is Your Mind Causing Your Disease?
Exercise every single day of your life. No matter what, prioritise exercise
Photo Credit : PTI
Back when I was growing up and interested in medical reading, most books dismissed “psychosomatic” factors leading to asthma attacks, pain- related illnesses, certain types of cancers, and instead focused on reaction-based medication. The causes were neither focused on nor identified. But today, as we treat patients holistically for severe diseases including cancer, the effects of stress, whether conscious or subconscious, have shown linkages to the emergence of disorders, including which part of the body they occur in.
Thanks to healers like Louis Hay and cancer crusader Susan Silberstien popularising the mind body disease connection, a lot of clinical data is now available to demonstrate that relieving stress, meditating and letting go can miraculously get us rid of diseases, including some terminal cancers that go into “spontaneous remission.” In fact, a University of Pittsburg research published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), provided clinical data and evidence for the neural basis of a mind-body connection, which is responsible for the body’s rapid response in stressful situations.
So how do you train your mind not to react to stress when stress is all around you? How do you meditate when you don’t have patience and can’t stop your mind from whirring (I’m one of them!) all the time? For most of working professionals, the mind-body balance is achieved when the mind and body are in sync with each other, and this cannot happen if you eat foods that make the stomach restless, the brain nutritionally compromised and the body inadequately moved. In short, eating foods that calm the stomach, feed the mind and exercising to keep memory sharp are the three ways to release stress, apart from meditation. Listed below are simple steps in how to do this:
Eat what permanently calms the brain and stomach. Simply ditch “cold milk” for acidity and yoghurt for pacification. To repair your stomach, a combination of raw leaves like lettuce combined with extra virgin olive oil can actually produce good bacteria that fight the bad bacteria and calm the stomach and the mind. For those who cannot digest raw items, start by including a salad every meal with a small portion of steamed white rice and veggies so that the raw salad discomfort is reduced. As the stomach gets stronger due to raw greens and olive oil (the combination is important), white rice can be replaced with millets, brown rice, quinoa or amaranth. The problem that a lot of people who eat “healthy, home cooked food” face is no raw greens, and combining fruits with food. “I don’t eat dessert, I eat a fruit after a meal.” Fruits should always be had separately from a meal, as a snack. This also repairs your stomach lining.
Exercise every single day of your life. No matter what, prioritise exercise. Walk one day, do yoga the 2nd, do only stretching the 3rd, climb 7 flights of stairs the 4th (you can break it into 3 parts). Vary your exercise as per your work schedule and body, but move every day.
Do guided meditation. There are loads of links online that have 10-12 minute guided imagery or meditation. Just put on your headphones before sleeping every night, close your eyes, and listen to the pleasant man or woman guiding you towards de-stressing. Done every night, you will realise three things after a few weeks: you’re sleeping better, less cranky and get sick less.
Schedule one thing you enjoy a lot on the weekend. This could be a theatre class you want to join, a game of golf or taking the kids for a picnic. Schedule it, plan it at least 3-4 days in advance so that you’re looking forward to the weekend. This increases positivity and releases stress.
In the words of Mark Twain, “I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.” It’s not going to happen, so just stay calm and you’ll stay free of debilitating illnesses and diseases.