Have you ever contemplate what affect your thoughts are having on your well- being?
Consider Deepak Chopra MD’s remark, “The average human thinks about 16,000 thoughts a day, but 90% of today’s thoughts are the same ones we had yesterday.” We almost become ‘addicted’ to our thoughts. So what are you thinking? Are those thoughts of success, enlightenment and happiness or are you more inclined to be pessimistic, imaging failure and allowing doubt to block your progress?
Every thought has a neurological, neurochemical, biophysical and biochemical affect on our body. In other words each thought promotes an emotion and the hypothalamus, the emotional centre of the brain, transforms these emotions in physical and chemical responses. Our nervous, endocrine and immune system work intrinsically together, communicating with the brain through neuropeptides with receptors in every cell of the body. Hence every thought has an affect not only on one particular part of the body, like the heart or the lungs but on every single cell. It becomes evident through epigenesis that memories are not solely stored in the brain but in every cell too.
A cancer diagnosis can be extremely frightening, it is one of the great challenges which we face as human beings, for the first time possibly we are faced with our own mortality. The diagnosis itself can be stressful, even before surgery or treatment have even begun. Every body’s stress levels are different. How one person may cope with a given situation is completely different to another’s. Stress, caused by our own perception of an event or circumstance, effects us all in different ways to greater or lesser degrees, based on our core beliefs or past experiences.
Stress or anxiety can activate a natural “fight or flight” survival response in our bodies. Hormones flood the bloodstream causing our respiratory rate to increase. Blood is shunted away from our digestive system and into our muscles and limbs. Our pupils dilate. Our awareness intensifies. Our sight sharpens. Our impulses quicken. Our perception of pain diminishes. Our immune system mobilises. We become prepared—physically and psychologically—for fight or flight.
As human beings we require an optimal level of stress to perform effectively and occasionally needing further arousal to achieve even greater performances. However being able to switch off this response and switch on the ‘relaxation’ response is vital. Otherwise long term stress can suppress our immune system, digestion system, sleep and sex drive. Leading to depression, generalised anxiety and eventually it may even lead to chronic illness such as heart disease and cancer.
Becoming aware of what you are thinking helps. How you approach situations is very important. Each and every one of us holds the key to our own success. Our thoughts immediately form an image in our minds, that image or ‘visualisation’ can be of huge benefit to us, if we choose to think that way.
Visualisation in sport is no longer perceived as alternative, in fact the majority of top sports people have their own psychologists. They train their subconscious minds, through repetitive multi-sensory input, imagining the ‘event’ in their minds to point that the body/mind can not distinguish whether the event is real or imagined.
In the 1990’s Denis Whaitley took US Olympic athletes and connected them up to sophisticated bio-feedback technology and had them run their races in their minds and on the track. Interestingly the same muscles were fired, the same neuro pathways lit and endorphins released, in the same order of sequence, whether they were running the races in their minds or on the track – visualisation is extremely powerful and we all do it whether we are aware of it or not.
If you click here, Marcus Child a renowned world speaker will explain to you just how we all visualise.
Having belief and hope in your journey does make a difference, the thought process alone can “keep people going way beyond the natural physiology of their body and tumour would normally allow,” Prof A. Dalgleish, Head of Clinical Research, St Georges, London.
Guided Imagery/Visualisation is a fantastic tool to help people circumvent troublesome thoughts, relaxing the mind/body to assist in its most natural healing ability. With repetitive use of the imagery/visualisation we can train the mind to improve success rates not only in a sporting arena but in all aspects of life.
I have founded inmindinbody.com to give HOPE and BELIEF to people on their cancer journey. Our audio guided visualisations come in two stages. Stage One – a Cancer Involvement Programme to help people from diagnosis, through to surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and onto welcome wellness. Stage Two – a variety of different physical activities to be imagined, whilst debilitated and tired through treatment, all written with the intention to boost the immune system, reduce anxiety and stress and ultimately get people moving, when their body’s allow.
In future blogs I will explain in more detail how this works. For now, I hope you are visualising a bright future 🙂