“More than anything you guard, protect your mind, for life flows from it.”
-Proverbs 4:23 CEB
I was told frequently that I needed to manage my stress, but no one told me how to do that. The research is vast between the mind and body connection, and how perceived stress contributes to chronic illness (Lipton, 2005). What I didn’t know were specific techniques to tap into healing the body through the mind, and decreasing hypervigilance (increased alertness and arousal).
How does the mind impact the body?
Dr. Caroline Leaf puts it like this,
Breakthrough neuroscientific research is confirming daily what we
instinctively knew all along: What you are thinking every moment
of every day becomes a physical reality in you brain and body, which
affects your optimal mental and physical health. These thoughts
collectively form your attitude, which is your state of mind, and it’s
your attitude and not your DNA that determines much of the quality
of your life (2013).
I knew that stress and trauma were something that I needed to address, in order to heal. Despite what I knew, I avoided seeking treatment. My symptoms of pain and fatigue were often so severe that I couldn’t think clearly. I couldn’t see beyond a level 8 total body pain, to think about my feelings. I was in crisis mode and didn’t know how to turn off my hypervigilant mind. Severe fatigue left me mentally in a haze of “brain fog,” where I couldn’t remember things or find words to express myself. My husband would often ask me questions, and I would just stare back at him unable to find the words I wanted to use.
I had seen counselors. Some were terrible and just wanted me to rehash my symptoms. They didn’t use any evidence based techniques, and actually made things worse by having me focus on my symptoms. I sought treatment with a counselor who implemented the technique of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). This technique is a way to help someone process a traumatic event. I personally didn’t get much help from this, as my counselor just wasn’t implementing the technique often enough and wasn’t digging deeper into the root of the issues. Despite discouraging experiences, I remembered what I learned in school. The brain is capable of changing, through the principle of neuroplasticity. And, I was in search of techniques that could do just that.
All awhile, I practiced qi gong (a relaxing mind and body exercise), I received reiki (energy healing) on occasion, and acupuncture. These things helped, but I was still very disconnected from my body. In order to survive being in extreme pain every day, I learned to mentally detach from my body and to attempt to ignore the pain unless it went above a level 8 (which I couldn’t ignore, no matter how hard I tried).
How does one restore the mind and body connection?
I have since learned that there are many ways to heal trauma, relieve intense emotions (shame, loneliness, sadness, anger, etc.), and reframe beliefs that aren’t helpful. We all have “stuff” that we have buried, because that’s what we were told to do. People say things like, “buck up” or “put on your big girl panties.” Both are weird comments that aren’t helpful.
I pushed away emotions that I didn’t like. I moved through trauma, because life didn’t stop. All awhile it was taking a toll on my body. Throughout life, we all form beliefs about ourselves. These beliefs are based on our childhood experiences, what others think of us, or what we think of ourselves. As a result of being sick for many years, I believed that I will never be well. I often told myself I can’t do that, when asked to do a task that I knew I would struggle with. These are both beliefs that needed to be reframed.
Amazing mind/body healing
I began working with a practitioner, Eleni Kapetanios, who could implement techniques to resolve trauma, dampen or dissipate negative emotions, and replace negative thought patterns with positive ones. She tapped into the unconscious mind utilizing techniques of Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), hypnosis, and Time Line Therapy.
It was life changing. My brain actually felt exhausted after working with her. I knew that changes were being made. She gave me exercises and homework to solidify these changes. Eleni helped me uncovered things from childhood that I had never realized. Things that had negatively shaped my beliefs. I worked with her for three months to resolve my issues, and I can contact her if I need to re-address an area. After working with her, I felt free. I felt relief from the weight I had been carrying my whole life.
What techniques are there?
I am writing this for anyone who suffers from a chronic illness to know that it is imperative to address underlying emotional and mental disturbances, in order to heal the body. Stress is inevitable; unfortunately, terrible things do happen in this world. The good news is that there are dozens of techniques to resolve trauma, and cope with stress.
Below are links to a list of modalities that are based in neuro-psychology principles for you to research.
- Dr. Bruce Lipton’s Mind-Body Techniques Resource Guide
- Retraining the Brain
- Please see my Resource Guide for other tools for coping with stress.
Tips for investing in your mental, emotional, and physical healing
The Healing Codes was fairly affordable, you can buy the book and learn how to do it. It did help me some, but not as much as my work with Eleni.
Moderately priced options:
1.) Look for a counselor that will take your insurance. Someone who specializes in treating people with chronic illnesses and practices EMDR. Based on my psychology degree and personal experience, EMDR is by far the most effective technique in a clinical psychology setting, along with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
2.) If you can make an effort to save for another treatment, I highly recommend it. It was life changing for me doing a “breakthrough” with Eleni. I looked at it as though I was saving money from building a dependency on a therapist with no to minimal results, and saving on future health care costs from perpetual illnesses.
Another way that I continually deal with daily stress, is through a real relationship with God. Prayer and reading the Bible bring me daily peace and clarity (Please see Developing a Deeper Relationship with God). I could not have healed on my own, and needed God to remove the weight of the world.
You can heal from trauma! You can learn techniques to cope with daily stress!
Leaf, C. (2013). Switch on Your Brain: The Key to Peak Happiness, Thinking, and
Health. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.
Lipton, B. H. (2005). The Biology of Belief. Carlsbad, CA: Hay House.
Copyright @healingfaithfully 2019.