Wow, if this isn't amazing timing! It's perfect for following on the heels of the last post about how your body can influence your mind. I'm going to turn over the idea that they have a relationship and just exactly what that means to me... but I felt like I needed to share this talk with you right now.
I just watched the following TEDx talk by Lissa Rankin, MD, "Is There Scientific Proof We Can Heal Ourselves?". She discusses how the medical establishment has been proving that your mind can heal your body for over 50 years. It's called "the placebo effect". I had never thought of it that way. Sometimes my scientific background actually comes back to bite me in the ass... that I understood how the drug efficacy thing worked, but never questioned the benchmark itself. While I knew that any new drug had to beat the placebo effect in order to be considered useful, I didn't think of what that meant. Funny, the premise of my current work was with me all along and I didn't see it!
I know from personal experience that the mind can heal the body. Years ago I had terrible food allergies to dairy products. It got worse each week, and at some point I couldn't eat at restaurants anymore because if they cooked my food in butter I'd have horrible belly pain and bloating for days. That was actually how I found Bioenergy Balancing. A friend recommended a healer, and despite my scientific training telling me that it couldn't work, I was so uncomfortable and desperate that I figured it was worth a few hundred dollars to see if I could change my life. It was, and I did. And after watching Lissa Rankin talk about what about medical care seems to work, I can see that it was the nurturing that my healer brought to the table, and her belief that I was worthy of being healthy, that gave me permission to think so too.
“When we think of nonverbals, we think of how we judge others. … We tend to forget, though, the other audience that's influenced by our nonverbals: ourselves.”
This was a new idea for me recently: Maybe it's not just that our state of mind can influence our bodies... maybe this is a two way street. It's interesting to consider that we might also be taking cues from our physical body. It reinforces my perception that we have an internal relationship with ourselves that is very much like relationships we have with other people, only we fail to recognize it because we can never remove ourselves from it. It FEELS like it's us talking to ourselves, but really, it's what we've learned talking to us. It's what other people have told us, synthesized into a single voice in our heads. Anyway... it seems it's appropriate to add our very own body as another "voice" in this relationship.
I'm also going to admit that I've started standing in power poses in the morning. So far, I haven't been caught by my husband or my children, so they have no idea that I've been re-patterning my brain. They, maybe haven't noticed anything at all. But I sure have. My ability to continually deal with situations as they come up unexpectedly, the routine interruptions of trying to work at home over the summer, and to find ways to be productive (historically I've battled old family dynamics of being unproductive)... it's all been so different the last few days since I saw this TED talk!
I can't remember which of my incredibly awesome friends or colleagues posted this on Facebook, but I do have much gratitude for the things they post. This practice of standing powerfully is quickly becoming part of a 5-minute morning ritual where I stand tall, feel the power within (meaning that I summon words like capable, confident, strong, resilient...). I breathe deeply, receiving that sense of my essential self, and I release what no longer serves me. I give myself some appreciation for things that I know that I do well. And in less than five minutes I feel supercharged, positive, energetic, and totally ready to do what needs to be done for the day!
I'm still playing with my "daily" rituals (because I've admitted before that it's a challenge for me, right?). I'm actually taking an e-course about it. I'll share more about that as I work it out.
Click here to go to Amy Cuddy's TED talk about body language and it's influence on our perception of ourselves.
“If you can manage to experience three positive emotions for every one negative emotion … you dramatically improve your health and your ability to successfully tackle any problem you're facing.” ~ Jane McGonigal
My husband was out of town and my youngest child wanted me to sit with her every night while she fell asleep. I used this time to watch some really amazing TED talks.Jane McGonigal. Photo from her TED bio page
One talk that piqued my interest and stimulated some mental connecting-of-dots was by Jane McGonigal, a game developer... who has noticed that games that encourage us into optimism, cooperation, and creativity can actually lead us to approach our daily lives with the same outlook (link to her talk at the bottom of this post).
It seems... that perception is everything. People perceiving themselves as competent, capable, powerful, able to produce the desired change... that perception trumps physical discomfort as an indicator of how much people will feel that their lives are worthwhile. While this is where she leaves the talk... it's where I'd like to begin. Because this is where healing begins.
To know that our mindset is directly related to our ability to heal is incredibly powerful. It means that we don't have to manage healing first (be it physical, emotional, or mental) BEFORE we see ourselves as worthy of healing, as lovable, capable, and full of gratitude. In fact, that's backwards. We must perceive the possibility before we can take steps to make it happen for us.
So, what steps can you take today... to do something that encourages a positive, strong, grateful state of mind? If you're not feeling well perhaps you could take some time to make a brief list of things that you are grateful for. Get physically active... take a walk around the block... dance... walk your dog... or take time to stretch fully. Anything that gets you moving encourages blood flow and movement in the cerebral spinal fluid that delivers oxygen and nutrients to the brain. Connect with a friend, your community, or nature. Challenge your brain and stick with it. Choose wisely, so that it takes effort, but is not so complicated that you'll give up. Do a Sudoku puzzle, make some art, plan next week's menu and the groceries you'll need to make them.
That's a long list... don't let it be daunting. Choose one thing today and do it. Just... go ahead and do it. It doesn't have to be gigantic... just successful... and I think the other piece missing from the talk is to give yourself credit for it. I know that I, personally, often get to the end of my day and lament that I didn't do ANYTHING that day. That's not true. I'm not giving myself credit... I'm discounting what did get done... by saying these things to myself and relating my day to my husband. I did the dishes. I threw the ball for the dog. I HAVE to give myself credit for what I accomplished in order to feel up to doing more. If, instead, I berate myself for what I did not do... well... then I feel unmotivated to do what needs to be done the next day. Again... all back to perception. The keys to a shift in perception being lasting, though, is to 1) to acknowledge the deed that was accomplished, and 2) receive the resilience (read: motivation) that is gained from the completion. Which is to say... really let yourself understand and give credit for that success.
My 3-step prescription? Choose one thing. Do it. Acknowledge the accomplishment and receive the resilience.
I'm going to do this myself today... and I'll let you know tomorrow what I did. Will you do that for me too?
I'm an explorer of inner realms, a pattern observer, and an invitation maker. I believe that healing the world starts within.
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