Change your mind. Change your health.
What you focus on, grows.
Did you know that?
Most of us go through our daily lives, without realizing how much power our thoughts hold over us.
We don’t choose our thoughts with intention. We just let them come.
And for the most part, our thoughts come out of habit. Habits that we developed when we were very young.
Thoughts like, “I’m just not naturally athletic,” or “I’m bad at math” just become part of who we are.
But what if I told you there was another way, a better way to think?
I know the word “mindset” gets thrown out a lot these days, and it can conjure up images of chanting “om” for some and high-energy entrepreneurs for others.
In actuality, leveraging a positive, growth-focused mindset can be a huge factor in how quickly we heal. And it doesn’t have to mean you need to step too far outside of your comfort zone.
For years, science has explored the effects that the mind has over the physical body. (1,2) In study after study, researchers have been able to draw direct connections between mental state and physical state:
- Pain for burn patients has been shown to decrease by as much as 50% using virtual reality games as treatment (3)
- The placebo effect has demonstrated the ability of the mind to produce healing results (4,5,6,7,8)
- The level of care and attention that a provider shows to a patient has been shown to affect the outcome of treatment (9,10)
- A patient’s level of anxiety, worry and negative attitude before surgery affects the complications they experience after the surgery (11,12)
- Relaxation techniques and visualization can help reduce pain (13)
- In hypnotherapy, patients find relief from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) (14)
- Stress has been shown to exacerbate many medical conditions (15,16,17,18)
Learning to examine your thoughts
So what does all of this research mean for the average woman?
It means that we can train our thoughts to benefit us, rather than work against us.
We can use the power of our own minds to unlock our health and improve our lives in many ways.
This process starts with learning to evaluate and examine your thoughts. Like I said, most of us just let our thoughts come…but we don’t think to choose them or look at them with a critical eye. The key here is to start by finding those thoughts we have that weigh us down and keep us feeling negative, stressed out, and like things will never be better.
Instead, we start to focus on what we want to grow. What makes us feel expansive and hopeful and full of joy.
When we catch ourselves thinking, “my life is so stressful and I hate my job and I’m worried about how I will afford that bill…” we can choose to re-frame. Focus on the positive. Think about one simple thing that we’re grateful for. Then keep thinking about it. Maybe even make a list of all the things you’re thankful for and watch how this process changes your mood and lifts your spirits.
Then, we can start adopting a mindset that centers on belief in possibility, belief in the future. Rather than clinging to the habitual beliefs, we adopted as children, we start to choose our thoughts differently. We choose to believe that things can change and that we can grow. Thoughts like “I’m just not naturally athletic” get dismissed, and we adopt a line of thinking that says “Everything is possible, I can develop any skill or trait I want to.”
You can probably see how this type of thinking translates into better healing results. In my practice, the women who believe that healing is possible and that they have the power to change their situation are the ones who heal the fastest.
Vagal practices to calm the mind
Another great way to get your mind and body to a place where it’s easier to think about developing a growth mindset is to focus on toning your vagus nerve.
The vagus nerve runs throughout almost your entire body, and it influences many, many bodily functions, including:
- Heart rate
- Blood pressure
- Communicating sensory information between the gut and brain
- Managing stress and anxiety levels
When we focus on a few simple practices to stimulate this nerve, we can instantly improve our mood and stress levels. Vagal toning activates your parasympathetic nervous system — which means you’ll be able to reach a more relaxed state quickly. (19,20)
Some of the quickest ways to target the vagus nerve are singing, humming or chanting. Your vocal cords are connected to the vagus nerve, so when you use them, it stimulates the vagus nerve. Give it a try and you’ll find that your mood is instantly lifted when you sing!
Another quick vagal pick-me-up is to expose yourself to cold. Simply splashing some icy cold water on your face can usually do the trick.
Once you’ve got your mind calm by engaging in some quick vagal toning, it’s easier to start examining your thoughts and choosing new ones. These are great exercises to do before journaling or meditation.
Combining it all for supercharged results
You can’t really and truly heal your body without healing your mind too. It’s why so many experience temporary results when they’re working on themselves. They focus too much on the “thing they need to do” and don’t change the thoughts surrounding their situation. If you’ve ever seen someone lose a ton of weight only to regain it, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.
But when you take a positive, growth-focused outlook and combine it with the right physical healing program, you can experience massive results.
It’s important to note though — all of the positive thinking in the world won’t heal you alone — you have to do the work too. Thinking *thoughts* alone won’t help you, you’ve got to combine the thoughts with the appropriate *action* to see the results you crave.
I teach all of these mindset techniques and combine them with the necessary physical work in my programs. I’ve seen countless lives transformed by the power of mindset coupled with physical work. Trust me, when you’ve healed 15,000 women from pelvic floor dysfunction, you know exactly what it takes to shift a mindset and change a life.
- “Mind–body research moves towards the … – NCBI – NIH.” http s://www .ncbi.nlm.nih. gov/pmc/articles/PMC1456909/.
- “Mind over matter? The psychology of healing — ScienceDaily.” 2 Aug. 2010, https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100802101622.htm.
- “Virtual Reality as an Adjunctive Non-pharmacologic Analgesic for Acute Burn Pain During Medical Procedures” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4465767/pdf/nihms634502.pdf
- “Placebo effects on human μ-opioid activity during pain | PNAS.” https ://www.pnas.org/content/104/26/11056.short.
- “Expectation and Dopamine Release: Mechanism of … – Science.” https://science.sciencemag org/content/293/5532/1164.
- “High-altitude headache – LWW Journals – Wolters Kluwer.” https://journals.lww.com/pain/fulltext/2015/11000/High_altitude_headache_ __the_effects_of_real_vs.26.aspx.
- “Science Shows How Our Mind Plays A Critical Role In Healing Our ….” https://articlefeed.org/science-shows-how-our-mind-plays-a-critical-role-in-healing-our-body/.
- “Mind-Set Matters – Mind & Body Lab.” https://mbl.stanford.edu/sites/g/files/sbiybj9941/f/2007_exercise_mindset_crumlanger_psych_sci.pdf.
- “Patient-Provider Interactions Affect Symptoms in … – PLOS.” 30 Sep. 2015, https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0136855.
- “Continuous support for women during childbirth, a Review” http s://www.cochranelibrary .com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD003766.pub5/epdf/standard
- “Patient mood can impact medical procedure results ….” 3 Dec. 2015, https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/12/151203081212.htm.
- “Patient mindset matters in healing and deserves more study ….” 8 Mar. 2017, http s://med.stanford .edu/news/all-news/2017/03/health-care-providers-should-harness-power-of-mindsets.html.
- “Adjunctive non-pharmacological analgesia for invasive medical procedures: a randomised trial – ScienceDirect.com.” 29 Apr. 2000, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0140673600021620.
- “Hypnotherapy for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders: A ….” https://www.tandfonline com/doi/abs/10.1080/00207140902881098.
- “Association between stressful life events and … – The BMJ.” http s://www.bmj .com/content/328/7442/731.
- “Progression to AIDS, a clinical AIDS condition and mortality ….” https://www.cambridge .org/core/journals/psychological-medicine/article/progression-to-aids-a-clinical-aids-condition-and-mortality-psychosocial-and-physiological-predictors/EFFABD3E1CCC4181660C564C30939BAB.
- “Chronic stress accelerates pancreatic cancer growth and ….” https://www.sciencedirect .com/science/article/pii/S0889159114000658.
- “Cognitive-Behavioral Stress Management Reverses Anxiety ….” 15 Feb. 2012, https://www.sciencedirect .com/science/article/abs/pii/S0006322311009656.
- “Breath of Life: The Respiratory Vagal Stimulation … – NCBI.” 9 Oct. 2018, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih .gov/pmc/articles/PMC6189422/.
- “Vagus Nerve as Modulator of the Brain–Gut ….” 13 Mar. 2018, http s://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5859128/.