You are what you think, you are what you believe

Many of us have handed over our health and well being to an outsider called the ‘good doctor’. In effect, we have given up an innate capability of healing ourselves when something goes out of balance in our body. This capability comes through our own belief system. As with anything, if we believe we can, it may come true and if we believe otherwise, that will come true too. This is true for our health too.

Now there is research to prove this.

Bruce Lipton in his book Biology of Belief wrote;

“I was exhilarated by new realization that I could change the character of my life by changing my beliefs.”

We live in a delicate dynamic balance, not only with other life forms, but with the physical environment as well. It was life’s harmony – not life’s struggle – that Lipton was inspired by.

Biology’s central premise is that genes control life. “Not so”, says Lipton. “It is our environment and beliefs and not our gene driven hormones and neurotransmitters that control our bodies and minds”.

This opposes contemporary biology that lingers in the physical age of Newtonian linear thinking as opposed to the new quantum age where there are no absolutes. The quantum world is invisible. It is about fields of energy and cannot be physically grasped. Our beliefs are not absolute. They are personal and how and what we believe cannot be measured in any way.

Biology also pays little attention to the important role of co-operation, because it’s Darwinian roots emphasize life’s competitive nature. So, the world has shaped itself around the ‘survival of the fittest’ philosophy. So, we generally leave things up to the genes.

Biology is also in alignment with the Cartesian system of development where the mind and body split is its cornerstone. Body is physical and mind is not. Quantum philosophy, on the other hand, accepts the mind-body linkage and accepts mind as a field of energy.

So, what is standing in the way of people moving in the quantum direction ?

It is the fear of the unknown compounded by the medical establishment’s propagation of the old system for its own survival and economic gains.

So, the medical establishment has the whole world sewn up in their philosophy of “The good doctor is always right”. So, we hand over our illness to the ‘good doctor’ who writes us a prescription for some chemicals, which we happily take and get better. So, the cycle is perpetuated and reinforced. We are afraid to move outside this paradigm. After all this is our life we are dealing with. What we do not realize is that the most ‘good doctors’ have a huge pharmaceutical industry behind them. That is why news such as the western medical industry kills as many as 300,000 people annually in the USA (Death by Medicine; Null et al – 2003) gets stifled by the establishment.

We are also happy to ignore this as we have become comfortable with our dependence on the ‘good doctor’ – who may not be so good for our health after all.

So, this requires a mind shift in our thinking. We need to value ourselves more and trust in our own belief system. This is linked to our self esteem.

Self Esteem

If we define self esteem as the confidence in our right to be happy, feeling of being worthy and the ability to think and cope with the basic challenges of life, our beliefs are central to keeping our esteem up.

If our self esteem is low we may not have confidence in our own belief system.

So, how do we build our self esteem when it comes to our health? It is not easy.

I am not espousing that we abandon the medical system entirely. It has its merits in overcoming many health hazards that could destroy us. It just needs to be put in perspective. We have to understand that it has limitations too. On the other hand, as thinking, believing humans, we have a major say in managing our own health. Drugs may cure a particular illness, but often it has other side effects, that may make us ill later and even kill.

Also when we go to the doctor and take the prescribed drugs, we hand over the entire process of curing to them. We do not take ownership of the problem and the solution. So, we become passive observers in the process. We lose our self esteem in the process, as we feel helpless.

When we understand that our mind and beliefs can help in the cure, in balancing the system, our self esteem will rise.

What proof is there that our mind has so much power ?

The Proof in the Placebo

A placebo is an inert drug (usually a sugar pill) given in place of a drug for a certain illness. Scientists have done many experiments using placebos as alternatives to actual drugs in controlled experiments and found people get cured in the same way. How can that be ?

The only explanation is that our minds were fooled into believing that the drug, whether it was a sugar pill or a chemical, was going to cure us. Only that we believed it was a drug. This belief sent a signal to our mind to commence the curing process. Once we realize that it was just a sugar pill that cured us, it will enable us to think differently about the power of our beliefs. That will lead to our increased self esteem, when it comes to health.

Self esteem is also linked to our emotional well being. Our ability to respect self and others and live positively amongst others is a part of this. These are based on our values and behaviors which in turn anchor our emotional well being. Go deeper and all this is based on our spirituality.

We need to put spirituality back into life when we want to improve our physical and mental health. So, we have to become more aware of our mind and body. Becoming aware will help us to realize that we do have control over it all. A fully conscious mind wins over both nurture and nature.

So, Lipton, through his research and the book has given credence to age old traditional health systems like Ayurveda that are usually ridiculed by the establishment. It has also given us an opportunity to take better control of our lives, which will result in improving self esteem, thereby becoming more aware citizens of this world.

Lipton says, “You can live a life of fear or live a life of love. If you live a life of love your body will respond with good health”.

Prevention is the best cure

Prevention includes all the measures health providers use to keep their patients healthy, such as vaccinations, cancer screening tests, and counseling. As a primary care doctor, my practice has a major focus on preventive medicine. But this new report reveals doctors are falling far short of providing optimum preventive care for their patients. The five simple steps are all standard, established procedures that, sadly, are underutilized in our healthcare system.

Given the challenges in our healthcare system with various obstacles for preventive care, such as high deductibles for preventive services or lack of insurance coverage, empowering individuals (along with their doctors), will have the greatest impact in saving lives. The choices we make about the way we live shape the quality of the life we lead. Choosing to make these steps a priority can help bring remarkable quality to our lives.

So what are these five easy steps?

  1. Take daily aspirin to help prevent heart disease. An impressive 45,000 lives would be saved annually if we increased to 90 percent the number of people who use aspirin daily to help prevent heart disease. Currently, fewer than half of American adults who would benefit from taking daily aspirin preventively actually do so.
  1. Stop smoking. An estimated 42,000 lives would be saved annually if we increased to 90 percent the number of smokers who receive smoking cessation support through tools, such as counseling or medication, from their health provider. Currently, only 28 percent of smokers receive advice from their physician on how to quitting smoking.
  1. Colon cancer screening. Fewer than half of Americans age 50 and older receives regular screening tests for colon cancer. Increasing the amount of people screened to 90 percent would translate to 14,000 additional lives saved.
  2. Get your flu shot. Too few adults over age 50 receive their annual influenza vaccination. Study results showed only 37 percent of people in this age group get this crucial immunization. Increasing this number to 90 percent would save 12,000 lives each year.
  3. Stay up-to-date with your breast cancer screening. Barely 67 percent of women over age 40 received recommended breast cancer screening tests during the past two years. By raising the number of screened women to 90 percent, 4,000 lives would be saved each year.

Ben Franklin was right in his remark “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” So why have we been neglecting to make these simple, healthy choices? Why aren’t more people getting flu vaccines, quitting smoking, or getting cancer screening tests? In part, it may be that we only consider seeing our doctor when we are sick, rather than before we get sick. Prevention may be a new concept for some, but it should be the cornerstone of how we think about healthy living. Each of us has the power to make a profound difference in the direction of our own health. Doctors have heard the appeal to amend their practices and renew their commitment to prevention. They understand their responsibility for the shortfalls in use of preventive services and the resulting negative impact on lives. While policymakers work to remove the financial restraints and access dilemmas inherent in our healthcare system, each of us can help close the gaps in the use of these five preventive services by choosing to put prevention into practice for ourselves.

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