Many of us believe that ill health is something that happens to us and we seldom have a choice in the matter. On the other hand, bestselling author Louise Hay, claims that we are each responsible for all of our experiences, including our so-called illnesses, through our own thought patterns. This might sound far fetched, but neuroscience is now backing this up with a growing amount of research showing that when we consciously change our thoughts, we rewire the brain and establish new patterns. Neuroplasticity is, quite simply, the ability to alter (positively and negatively) the neural networks in our brains. One of the world’s most respected neuroscientists, Dr Richie Davidson, says that they have now discovered that even our genes are not fixed and can be influenced by our mental environment!
Many of the limited thought patterns and beliefs that we hold, consciously or subconsciously, were picked up in childhood from things we heard or observed. For example, when a parent worries about the health of a child, the message that the child receives is that our bodies are vulnerable to disease and that our health is constantly at risk. When we are rushed off to the doctor for every little sniffle, we receive the message that the only way for our body to get better is by going to a doctor or taking medication. Not many of us were lucky enough to receive positive messages about how incredible our bodies actually are, and how they are constantly working to keep in balance and heal themselves.
Our thought patterns, beliefs and emotions are intricately connected to our bodies and our health. Every cell within our body responds to every single thought we think and every word we speak as well as to our emotions. Thoughts and emotions (and even memories) set off chemical reactions in our body. Negative emotions such as anger, may suppress our immune system for up to six hours, whereas positive thoughts and feelings boost the immune system. Research shows that fear alone triggers more than 1,400 known physical and chemical responses and activates more than 30 different hormones.
Without getting too scientific – each emotion causes various peptides / hormones to be excreted (through the hypothalamus and pituitary glands) that are received by and lock into receptors on the cells. These are like drugs that the cells become addicted to. Every time we repeat a thought or emotion, this creates connecting links between brain cells (neurons). These links create a complex net of information that then dictate our responses towards certain stimuli. These learned pathways of electrical flow in the brain become a vicious circle of reoccurring emotional situations and states.
The good news is that we can override our limiting belief systems! When we intervene by changing our thoughts and learning to perceive, feel and respond differently, this reverses the chemical dependency and rewires our brain – freeing us to make a choice rather than to respond in the usual ways that have become our chemical and electrical programming. Herein lies our real freedom. We can change these processes by changing our thoughts!
In my next article, I discuss how we can uncover limiting beliefs and develop new thought patterns to help our bodies heal.
Molecules of Emotion: The Science Behind Body-Mind Medicine by Candace Pert, Ph.D.
The Science of Emotions – www.armonikizoi.com/2011/11-the-science-of-emotions
You Can Heal Your Life by Louise L. Hay
Leila Summers is an author, book coach and Heal your Life® Teacher who assists others in their personal growth, and in learning to love themselves and live their best life. She has a particular interest in the mind-body connection and a knack for joining the dots to discover root issues that contribute to dis-ease. She offers workshops as well as one-on-one sessions via Skype. Visit her website at www.believeinchange.co.za
First published on Body Orchestra blog – June 2014