Robert Dilts is a well known American expert in neurolinguistics and writes frequently for a magazine called Anchor Point. In a past edition he was discussing the connection between beliefs and health or wellness. He introduced the concept of ‘thought viruses’. What a fantastic way of describing one of the most powerful mechanisms of illness or recovery.
The link between body and mind is now proven beyond dispute.
We can’t always exactly define the way the two are connected but, that the body influences the mind and visa versa should be considered in the assessment of every ailment affecting us. We have a bodymind – one integrated unit. And we can sometimes fool our minds but we can’t fool our bodies.
Our bodies store stress and pain and frustration, emotion and everything else!
We can continue for a finite time abusing our bodies or stretching ourselves to the mental limit or stressing ourselves to the maximum and then we start being given warning signals. If we ignore these warning signals; if we continue to push ourselves beyond a reasonable limit; if we never slow down long enough to listen to our bodies then something gives. We ‘suddenly’ find ourselves with a bad back or a bad neck or pneumonia or malnutrition or migraines or stomach upsets or chronic fatigue syndrome or rheumatoid arthritis or heart disease etc.
When Michael Crighton, the author of Jurassic Park and who originally trained as a doctor, was a resident he conducted a survey of heart attack patients. Without exception when he asked these people “WHY did you have this heart attack?” they would give answers based in emotion. Like ‘my work situation was unsatisfactory – I was living with uncertainty’ or ‘ my wife left me’ or ‘our marriage is going through a difficult time’ and so on. They all related the illness with a mental or emotional trigger. Not to ‘I had been exercising too hard’ or ‘I carried too many boulders in the garden’.
So with this bodymind, our non physical thoughts and beliefs and our physical bodies are interchangeable. Our thoughts can cause disease. Our body can affect our moods (Try feeling excited and enthusiastic when you are slumped, your head dropped and eyes looking at the ground!).
Lifestyle is still critical but what determines our lifestyles if it isn’t our beliefs about how we should live or how we need to live.
Beliefs are deep ingrained thoughts about the way we feel the world does or should work. And they influence everything we see, do, hear, and say. It’s as though anything that comes into or out of ourselves is filtered through our belief systems which act as rose coloured glasses or black tinted lenses or purple glass or whichever way our beliefs colour that part of our world.
For example, ‘pointing the bone’ in cultures where the belief is that if the witchdoctor points a bone at you, death follows, ensures the death of a perfectly healthy individual because they believe that they are cursed and that death is inevitable. A belief like that can kill a fully functioning human being in days.
What happens when an expert tells a patient they have only months to live? Of course the expert is offering what they believe to be the situation based on their knowledge, experience and assessment of the person and the condition. But how many times have you heard of people who chose not to believe that ‘pointed bone’? Those who decide ‘no, I will live and I’ll try all sorts of ways to make me well enough to fight this condition’; someone who chooses to believe they will beat cancer. They may still make a will and clearly organise their affairs but that’s just sensible – it doesn’t mean they expect to die. Even if they still die I bet they lived longer and felt more in control if they believed they could fight it.
Search your beliefs about health and wellness
- Do you believe it’s possible to be fit, flexible and strong as a more mature individual?
- Should we keep our minds active and continue learning or does being old mean we mentally and physically shrivel up and stiffen up and die?
- Do you believe happiness happens to other people, not you?
- Or that you are a depressed person – that’s just your type?
- Or that your father and grandfather died of heart disease so you will? Or that bowel cancer is claiming everyone and you’re next?
- Why not believe that you are inherently a very well person?
Sit quietly and ask yourself what you need to be well – more balance; more rest; more relaxation; more stimulation; more fun and laughter; more exercise? And whatever you need, find a way of incorporating it into your life.
Believe exercise is so important that you make time for it; believe rest and meditation are too critical to miss for extended periods – if you really believe this you will be motivated to do it.
If you have a problem or a family history of hereditary conditions then make sure you have regular checkups. Believing you are well does not mean ignoring minor or blatantly obvious signs that something is wrong – that’s just being an ostrich! Seek help when you need it – your inner oracle is great most of the time but outside experts are a valuable resource.
Viruses ‘steal’ from healthy parts to create a life of their own or take over the life of a healthy cell. In the same way a body or computer virus works, a thought virus insidiously slides it’s way into and affects or colours all our thinking. They are dangerous and quite frequently life threatening.
Make sure that once a month you ‘de bug’ yourself – run a ‘virus checker ‘ through your bodymind and clean it up. Delete, destroy and trash any thought viruses that are allowing your life force to weaken or ebb away.
Beware of spreading thought viruses yourself. And beware of others who are carriers of these nasty little bugs! They are more dangerous than you realise.
What do you do to eliminate the thought viruses?
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