When my husband and I bought the health food store 29 years ago, I learned how to help people with physical problems by using nutrition and supplements. In the process, I grew to understand the mind/body connection and how our emotions and our thoughts can have negative effects on the physical body. This is because our mind is not separate from our body.
What affects the mind affects the body and vice versa!
This is the entire premise of lie detector/polygraph tests. It is clearly illustrated when we are fearful about speaking in front of an audience. We might get butterflies in our stomach, sweat, and/or tremble. Anger can make our blood pressure rise, and we shake and turn red. If we’re frightened, our heart will pound, we might get goose bumps, and our hair can stand on end. We can literally make ourselves sick to get out of doing something we dread.
It’s also the basis behind the placebo effect. We THINK or BELIEVE the pill is going to help us and it does.
Research in the field of psychoneuroimmunology demonstrates that our emotional and psychological states affect the immune, neural, endocrine, digestive, and circulatory systems through chemical messengers called neuropeptides. Dr. Candace Pert was a Neurobiologist, Research Scientist and Professor at Georgetown University Medical Center who discovered the opiate receptor in the brain. In her groundbreaking book, Molecules of Emotion, she tells us how every emotion, whether love or hate, good or bad, releases a cascade of neuropeptides that affect our health. She says your body is your subconscious mind, because whatever you’re thinking, consciously or not, is affecting your body.
She quotes another scientist in the book who said, “The body becomes the battlefield for the war games of the mind. All the unresolved thoughts and emotions and the negativity we hold on to shows up in the body and makes us sick.”
Everything that goes on in your thought life is converted into a physical reaction.
What you think affects your whole body!
I used to get so mad when my customers would tell me their doctors had told them their illnesses were ‘all in their head’. Psychosomatic illness they called it. Well, it turns out they were onto something. Not that they were making it up and their illness was just imaginary, but that their thoughts and emotions and stress were causing their symptoms. In her book, ‘Who Switched Off My Brain’, Dr. Caroline Leaf writes that “researchers say that 87% of the illnesses that plague us today are a direct result of our thoughts and resulting emotions. Fear alone triggers more than 1400 known physical and chemical responses and activates more than 30 different hormones and neurotransmitters.
The body cannot differentiate between stress caused by physical factors or stress caused by emotional factors. Adrenaline and cortisol can be released due to either one.
Every time you meditate on a thought, it is actively changing your brain and body in either a positive or destructive way. If you are bringing every thought into captivity under the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5) and you are meditating on whatever is true, pure, lovely, of good report and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8), your brain is going to convert these thoughts into a reaction that is going to produce health in your body.
Are your thoughts poisoning your body or are they working like a medicine?
The New England Journal of Medicine documented the remarkable story of Norman Cousins who healed himself of the extremely painful disease Ankylosing Spondylitis through laughter in December 1976. The study birthed a book, titled Anatomy of an Illness, in 1979. This really brings the above scripture to mind.
A thought may seem harmless, but if it becomes toxic, even just a thought can become spiritually, emotionally and physically dangerous. When you start listening to those toxic thoughts of anxiety, fear, self-hatred, self-condemnation, self-rejection, anger, rage, bitterness, unforgiveness, jealousy etc your body is secreting chemicals and hormones in response to those spiritual attacks that are counterproductive to your health and peace. Your brain is converting those thoughts into a physical reaction that is leading to the development of disease in your body.
Dr. Don Colbert, in his book, Deadly Emotions, says that between 75-90% of all visits to Primary Care physicians result from Stress-related disorders. He also notes that doctors frequently see patients going through emotionally devastating experiences such as divorce, bankruptcy, or the death of a child go on to experience heart attacks, recurrences of cancer, autoimmune diseases or serious, crippling or disabling conditions.
Your soul consists of your mind, will and emotions. Your mind is physically located in your brain and so is your free will. Your free will is the area in your brain where you choose whether to meditate on a thought or to disregard it (2 Corinthians 10: 5). To the same extent that your soul/mind prospers, so will your body prosper and be in good health.
Think about this: The quality of your health is directly tied to the quality of your thinking. There is a direct connection between them. Your life is an expression of your thoughts. That is why the Bible says to guard your heart – out of it flows the issues of life (Matthew 12: 34). If you’re angry and wanting revenge, sad and depressed, filled with self-pity, thinking you’re worthless or stupid, know that your body is listening to you. Your body listens to every word you say and every thought you think. It will then reflect those thoughts and emotions in the form of ailments.
The Physical Manifestation of your thoughts.
The new research called Epigenetics shows that our thoughts and perceptions remodel our genes and not the other way around. Now the reality of the scripture “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23: 7) really comes to life. Epigenetics shows us that our genes can be switched on and off by our thoughts and emotions. This has changed the conventional understanding that our genes control and determine who we are and what we become. We no longer have to accept that ‘it’s in my genes’.
This changes everything. We need to start taking responsibility for our choices and our health. The days of being a victim to ‘the hand you are dealt’ are over. Although you may not be able to control your circumstances all of the time, you can control how it affects your brain by changing the way that you react to those circumstances.
Dr. Caroline Leaf describes in detail in her books and YouTube videos how the thoughts we think build connections that form ‘trees’. Toxic thoughts form what she calls, “thorn trees that secrete toxic chemicals that begin to make you sick.” For example, she says that bitterness will set in motion a sequence of chemical and hormonal reactions that can lead to breast cancer. A thorn tree of fear and anxiety will release toxic chemicals that can lead to over 100 incurable diseases, such as angina, heart failure, high blood pressure, allergies, and asthma. A thorn tree of anger, rage, and resentment can cause aneurysms, strokes, varicose veins, and hemorrhoids. A thorn tree of jealousy and envy can cause osteoporosis and breakdown of the production of our red and white blood cells and immune cells that are produced in the bone marrow. A thorn tree of a low self-esteem and guilt will release toxic chemicals that can cause depression, addictions, migraines, autoimmune diseases and weight gain due to excessive overeating, to name a few examples.
So What Can We Do To Fix This?
The good news is that just the opposite is also true. If you think on GOOD things as mentioned in Philippians 4:8, you will secrete good neuropeptides that create health. “Whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there be any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things.”
Think on THESE things and your health will vastly improve!
Proverbs 4:20-22 says, “My Son, give attention to MY WORDS; Incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; keep them in the midst of your heart, for they are LIFE to those who find them, and HEALTH (medicine) to all their flesh.”
And even more good news is that in just 4 days of thinking correctly, you can detoxify the brain of the damage caused by the toxic thoughts and create new healthy cells in 21 days.
So if you’ve been told that you just have to accept that cancer or heart disease runs in your family and is in your genes, you can change that by choosing to think the right things and making the right decisions to love and forgive.
The Bible calls this “renewing the mind”.
Being a Christian means that you have put Jesus on the Throne of your life. The Throne of your life is there in your free will. He not only wants to be your Savior, He wants to be your Lord. As we submit our thoughts to God with our free will, the Holy Spirit will lead us to make the right decisions.
If you want your life to change, if you are not happy with the state of your health, you have got to change your thinking. Start to become aware of what you are thinking. We just let whatever toxic thought pops into our mind roam in our head and then we wonder why we are sick and why we have tension headaches. Meanwhile, if we would just control our thoughts, we would be so much happier and healthier.
Hosea 4:6 says, “My people perish for a lack of knowledge.” For too long we have been unaware of just how toxic our thoughts can be and how they affect our physical body. The body speaks to us through symptoms. Symptoms are an indication that something is out of balance. In the past, we’ve never connected that maybe the ‘something’ that is out of balance is in the realm of our thoughts and emotions. Perhaps we need to let go of anger by forgiving someone. Perhaps we are believing lies about ourselves that came to us during childhood hurts and traumas, and we need to ask God what he has to say about the matter.
If 87% of diseases are a result of what goes on in our thought life, then 87% of diseases can be cured by changing our thinking. This is actually what the word Repentance means. To change the mind. To decide to think about it differently. When you meditate on the Word of God, you are going to build lush trees in your brain that have been scientifically proven to secrete healthy chemicals such as serotonin, dopamine, endorphins and enkephalins that cause healing. It is all in your thought life.