‘The great majority of us are required to live a life of constant systematic duplicity. Your health is bound to be affected if, day after day, you say the opposite of what you feel, if you grovel before what you dislike and rejoice at what brings you nothing but misfortune. Our nervous system isn’t just a fiction, it’s part of our physical body, and our soul exists in space and is inside us, like the teeth in our mouth. It can’t be forever violated with impunity’ Dr.Zhivago.
At university I was taught about illness. Alternative medicine later taught me about preventing illness. By studying healthy, happy people and asking them how they achieved better health, I found a key ingredient was hopeful, optimistic and proactive thoughts. Time and again, these individuals would seek out and pursue wellbeing in appropriate ways to achieve healthy, longer lives.
This month I would like to touch upon the link between our thoughts and our listening skills and the impact these have on our health.
I hope you would agree listening is a skill most of us could improve upon. Being able to communicate our feelings to each other and ourselves is necessary to achieve health and happiness. If we feel listened to and understood, we feel positive and cherished. But if we sense we are not being listened to, this launches a sequence of negative thoughts and responses throughout our body.
I came across a piece of research which really illustrates the impact of thought on our immune system. Analysing salivary gland samples of medical students after they had watched an hour of either war or Mother Theresa, the impact on the immune system was clear. War had an immediate harmful effect and Mother Theresa an immediate positive effect. Now consider the impact of non- stop bad news in the media. Our immune systems were simply never designed to cope with this onslaught. That’s why sickness, both mental and physical, tends to increase when there is a lot of bad news around.
Thoughts are interpreted as good or bad and this creates a cascade of neurotransmitters which fire off the adrenal gland to release fight or flight chemicals according to the degree of fear. These neurotransmitters are secreted not only in the brain, but also in every cell in the body, creating a direct impact on the immune system, controlling cellular inflammation and abnormal growth.
Many drugs, including those for arthritis, are targeted at the end point of this cascade, but I want you to learn how to go back to the beginning and change your thoughts to elicite a different emotional and chemical response.
The link from what we hear (listen) from the world around us and how we interpret (think) this input is clear. If we can improve our listening skills, we can have a positive impact on ourselves and those around us. Here is my favourite listening exercise for you, life changing if you take it seriously. Sit down with a friend or partner and role play at being their therapist, draw out a timetable of daily activities in 30 min chunks. Write activities underneath, i.e. drive to work 8 am for 30 mins, work at computer for an hour, etc. Listen carefully to the words they use and their body language about that activity and write down a key emotion beneath that activity. Your partner needs to write down their actual emotion, to compare notes afterwards. Be honest put a score down of how well you listened and swop over. Then repeat in a weeks time.
What memories of your life do your cells hold? Look at the amount of time you feel content and increase it by either your attitude or your activities to make your life more purposeful and happy.
Stop as soon as you have a negative thought, hang on to positive ones for at least 15 seconds and reprogram your cells, be the architect of the new you. Change your consciousness and change your cells. Everyday I get the privilege of changing lives by creating tailor made programs that nurture the immune system. Being able to create the right mind state and brain wave pattern is a crucial step to being in optimum health. Now take action, and if you need some guidance to achieve this, contact my clinical retreat.
Contact Nicky Snazell’s Pain Relief Clinic on 01889 881488