Can A Belief Influence Your Health? For Good or Even Bad?
Someone in a group I am in on FB asked for people to contribute the negative beliefs they had as a result of their childhood. The post was inundated.
* I am worth nothing
* Nobody outside of this family can know of our business
* I should be quiet
* I have no power
* I am always in the way
* I am unwanted / I am unlovable, unworthy, not good enough, not trustworthy, insignificant, invisible
* The world is unsafe and I need to watch out
* My body is not for my own use
* I never have enough money
* It is not safe to speak
* Men are dangerous / Women are dangerous / I can’t trust anyone / Adults are not to be trusted
* My father left me so that means men will leave me
* I have to make everyone happy / I am in charge of my parent’s happiness
* No one will love me
* I am stupid, I am dumb / I am a disappointment
The list went on and on and it was heart breaking to read. These people going about their day, month, life, with this kind of sentiment tingeing how they experience that life.
Sadly, these are actually the beliefs that drive us and usually we have no idea they are even there. Beliefs shape our view of the world and therefore how we behave within the world.
'Beliefs are generalisations or rules that you’ve come to accept as true about yourself and the world. Beliefs show up as stereotypes, prejudices and mindsets. A large number of your beliefs and attitudes are outside your conscious awareness,'
says Grant Soosalu co-founder of mBraining and an NLP trainer. He also says that there is a crucial difference between what you say and what you actually do - the beliefs you are conscious about and the beliefs you act upon.
Beliefs are so deeply ingrained within us that they become unconscious, often until a time comes that we need to do some form of personal growth or change is required. Maybe that time comes in the form of a dawning realisation or maybe it comes as a crisis.
Imagine a bed of soil. It is nicely raked and watered and the soil is perfect for planting seeds into. A seed is carefully placed. And another. Then somehow a couple of seeds get planted that weren’t supposed to be, dropping in from places unknown, blown in on the wind, spilling out of the seed packets of people planting seeds in a soil bed adjacent. There are a couple of other people putting their own seeds into the soil bed too and pretty soon the soil is full of these seeds, from various people – intentionally and unintentionally.
The rain and life helps the seeds germinate and grow the roots. The sunshine encourages growth. Some of the people are no longer around to nurture those seeds, others barely give the seeds or the soil a second glance, whilst some carefully tend to the seedlings and delight in their growth.
But some of the seedlings turn out to be ugly weeds. They spread through the garden, now full of little plants and may take over. Under the surface they have been actively spreading their roots, choking off the nutrient supply to the pretty plants, crowding them out on the top. Soon enough while there are some pretty flowers there, the weeds are stifling their growth and vitality. But the plants become well established.
Just like our beliefs do - they turn into habits and patterns. Every one of us walk around with our own unique set of beliefs. These that have been given to us intentionally or unintentionally by our parents, siblings, religion, teachers, culture. Some of those beliefs are incredibly good but the problem comes when some of those beliefs limit the quality of our life, or stifle the growth of it. Or may be downright bad for us.
Have you ever considered that limiting beliefs impact not only your outer world 'behaviour', but also your inner world? What is your 'inner world'?
Health is something that your body ‘does’. It is a behaviour and just like your beliefs make you ‘behave’ in a way that makes those beliefs ‘true’ (self-fulfilling prophecy), your body will behave in a way to make your beliefs true. It is kind of like brain-washing yourself.
Of course we all say I believe in being healthy! I believe that my body is good for me.
So the problem lies in those seeds of belief planted through those years, that have become like a stubborn weed, but not always weeds that you are aware of.
Some commonly ‘dug up’ beliefs in those suffering from ill health –
* I am so tired and this is a way to rest
* I do not deserve to be healthy because I am unworthy/bad
* If I am sick I will be cared for at last
* Mum was so sick so of course I will be too
* It is genetic
* I am 40 (or insert the number here) and that is when things start falling apart.
Can you see how this kind of ‘secret belief’ can be detrimental to health? This ‘message’ is being quietly whispered to your physical, mental and emotional body constantly, brain washing, and your body will behave in such a way to fulfil this way of thinking, even though you are not actually aware of it.
Like you are brainwashing yourself without even knowing it.
When the belief that is working away in the background is discovered, the change can happen. Many a person is alarmed to find that this has been running their health show. Driving their health bus. They find this sentiment may have been ‘installed’ into their psyche when they were a little child – it wasn’t the intention of anyone, and certainly not their fault however they are now the ones to make the changes. And once the limiting health belief is rooted out, the health, being the behaviour of the body, can be changed and improved.
So while limiting beliefs are usually attributed to how you perform in relationships, business and life, there are limiting beliefs that drive and create/destroy your health too.
There are various ways of discovering a belief that is not positive to your health and every time a client discovers their own, they are amazed to realise that it was something picked up and interpreted in a literally childish way, for example when they were 6 or 3 or even as a tiny baby. It isn’t always a conscious memory but often a feeling of ‘something’ happening back then, a hazy kind of memory that is surprising in it’s detail. And, able to be rewired with understanding and little bit of effort.
This is a major step forward in creating health in the individual. The physical body has now a new set of instructions to work to, unhampered by that constant whispering of the previous instructions, but enjoying the new directive and direction.
It all goes to show that we are a human system. A system of mind and body. A system of thoughts impacting feelings, impacting physical behaviour and the other way around too.
Trying to separate the thoughts and feeling from health is like trying to separate the salt from the seawater with a fork. You just can't do it. By working with the whole aspect of being human, the thoughts, feelings and physicality of health, incredible changes can be attained allowing health to be recovered.
Paula Ralph is a women's health and surgery coach. She uses a 30 year pharmacist career combined with neuroscience, mindbody techniques and human behaviour to help her clients find their health again. She is a firm believer in the system that means we are human, and how our health can be improved by using that system to our advantage.