Beat Autoimmune with Baby Steps: How to Have a Healing Mindset


“Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.”

– Henry ford

The first question on my new client intake form is, Do you know that autoimmunity is reversible? Chances are, if someone decides to work with me, they usually know that I beat MS, and they are at least familiar with some of the dozen healing stories I share in my book, Beat Autoimmune of other people who have reversed numerous other autoimmune disorders like Hashimoto’s, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, celiac, Crohn’s, colitis, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, and IBS. If they don’t know for sure that autoimmune conditions are reversible, I might suggest that they check out the empowering science and healing stories I share on my blog and in my book.

One of my greatest pleasures is editing and sharing healing stories, so if you have one, please please reach out. The world needs more uplifting healing success stories. Plus, there is beautiful healing that happens in both the writing and sharing of our own healing stories.

The second question on my intake form is, Do you believe you will [beat an autoimmune condition]? There is no right or wrong answer here, but the individual answer turns out to be a pretty good predictor of how well someone will do. It turns out that positive expectations, optimism, personal control, and a sense of meaning are known to be protective of both mental and physical health.1 Psychological resources, positive illusions, and health, Taylor, S.E. et al., 2000 Jan;55(1):99-109. doi: 10.1037//0003-066x.55.1.99,

The good news for us all is that it’s never too late to shift our mindset and adopt even a cautiously optimistic one. Psychologist and author Martin Seligman, PhD argues that we can cultivate a positive perspective and that directly ties to better health outcomes.2 Learned Optimism article:

It turns out that old adage attributed to Henry Ford is right. Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right. So why not stack the deck in your favor and believe you can?

Of course healing from an autoimmune condition requires much more than a can-do mindset; but, I find that the attitude of the person, their determination to be well, their commitment to themselves, and their willingness to do whatever it takes, is like rocket fuel sprinkled with magic fairy dust for the healing process.

Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.

– John F. Kennedy

Embrace a Healing Mindset

A healing mindset includes your reasons for living – or better yet, thriving, your personal commitment to yourself, and strong connections.

1. Know Your Why

When it comes to beating the odds of a chronic disease like cancer, researcher and author Kelly Turner, Ph.D., found that one common trait of survivors and thrivers was having strong reasons for living. Your reasons for living inspire and keep you motivated, even when you are feeling low. If you can’t identify your “Why”, ask a close friend or therapist to help.

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    What's Your Why?

    Answer the question, “What or who do you live for?” And who else, or what else? There is no right answer except a truthful one (or ones) for you.

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    What's in Your Future?

    Answer the question: “When you think about the future, what do you look forward to?”

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    What's On Your List?

    What have you always wanted to do, or dreamed of doing “someday?” Use your imagination.  Start a “bucket list” (experiences or achievements that you hope to have or accomplish during your lifetime).

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    Have a conversation about this with a good friend or someone you trust.

Do not outsource your health.

— Walter Bortz, II, MD

2. Accept Responsibility

The only thing that ever has healed or cured anyone is their own immune system. No one else can cure or heal you. Your top job is to unburden your immune system so it can do its job optimally. 

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    Appoint Yourself CEO of YOU

    You don’t have to have all the answers, but you do have to take charge. Consider hiring a practitioner who will address the root causes of your disorder(s). Choose a practitioner whose title includes “Functional Medicine,” “Naturopath (ND),” “Doctor of Osteopathy (DO,” or “Integrative.“ If you’re in the U.S. and want a powerful healing team of Naturopathic Doctor + Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach to help you reverse autoimmunity faster, book a 30-minute discovery call to gain clarity, confidence, and an action plan.

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    Empower Yourself

    Know and own your power. The CDC reports that 90% of health outcomes are due to environmental factors: what you eat, drink, think and do, and only 10% are due to genes. 3 Exposome and Exposomics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, The relatively new science of epigenetics demonstrates that your lifestyle choices influence which genes get expressed, and which don’t. That means YOU have the power to control gene expression. This website is dedicated to helping you make healthy choices for complete autoimmune recovery. For empowering science, stories, and strategies, read (or listen to) my book, Beat Autoimmune (foreword by Mark Hyman, MD).

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    Reframe Autoimmune Outcomes

    Autoimmune disorders are reversibleeven curable! The word “cure” means to restore to balance. Conventional (allopathic), western medical doctors receive little or no education in nutrition or healthy lifestyle habits in medical school, so they may not have all of the information you need.

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    Can you find the gift in your illness? What if instead of lamenting that this is happening to you (victim mindset) that you consider that this is happening for you (empowered mindset)? Symptoms, after all, are just messages from your body letting you know something is out of balance. What do you think your body is saying?

Love is the most powerful healing energy.

3. Cultivate Connection 

Research shows that strong social connections are more beneficial to longevity and healing than diet, exercise, stopping drinking alcohol & smoking.4

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    Reach Out

    From a scientific standpoint what matters more than your number of friends is how connected you feel inside. If you are feeling lonely, isolated, or disconnected, can you reach out to someone today who would be happy to hear from you? Chances are they may be feeling disconnected too. We need each other.

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    Get More Hugs

    Aim for 3 hugs a day. Animals count too. You’ll get bathed in oxytocin, the healing love and bonding hormone and so will your pet! Don’t have a pet or another human? Hug yourself. Seriously. Studies show self-hugs increase feelings of comfort and safety while lowering pain and anxiety.

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    Trust Yourself

    Connecting with your inner self may be the most important connection. That “gut feeling” or inner voice may know exactly what you need way before your mind does. Get still and listen to the small but powerful voice inside you. What do you know you need to do?

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    Find or start a Meetup group, book club, or start your own healing circle to be with other positive people, even online, who have common interests and who seek healing, solutions, fun, and connection.

Healing Mindset Action Summary

  1. Know your “North Star” – your primary motivation for healing.
  2. Empower yourself, educate yourself, and enlist the support of a root cause doctor.
  3. Cultivate connections – with yourself, your loved ones, and your higher power.

So now that you have the how; it’s time to take a step. What will your first step be?

Take good care!

P.S. If you want inspiration, motivation, and a turbo charge for your own healing journey, watch my FREE Beat Autoimmune Quickstart Training series. It’s all I know about how to beat an autoimmune condition in bite sized videos with simple strategies and hopeful stories. Sign up and watch video #1 right away.

Image Credit: Galen Crout


  1. Hi Palmer, my daughter has Devic’s disease. Can this be helped. Conventional Western Medicine saved her life. The doctors tell me there is no cure. Can only some Autoimmune diseases be reversed and others not? My daughter’s immune system creates an antigen B cell that destroys her healthy tissue. It’s already damaged her brain and spinal cord. So many naturopaths, not many in California where we live seem to offer help with her type of diagnosis. All I know is the RX meds eventually will do her in. I am a mom on a mission to cure my child.

    • Hi Cindy,

      My understanding is that Devic’s Disease is an autoimmune condition that affects the optic nerve, and mimics MS.
      YES this can be reversed, just as any of the 140+ autoimmune conditions can be reversed. You have to find her root causes, remove them and heal her gut.
      Please find a functional or integrative medicine doc (see my Resources page) and educate yourself about the steps. You might like my article on reversing autoimmune conditions:

      Take good care and keep me posted!

  2. MTHFR Homozygous 677T diagnosis. upon researching, it seems that the major issues with this condition is not being able to detoxify properly. Hence, why I also have Fatty Liver, some heavy metal toxicity (cadmium, mercury), H Pylori years ago, on and off cervical dysplasia, lack of energy, low grade depression, anxiety. Any thoughts??

    • Hi Maribel,

      Sounds like you’ve done good research and testing. My thoughts are that there are many paths into autoimmune conditions and they all must be addressed. Broadly speaking, the big categories are food, stress, toxins, infections and leaky barriers (especially the gut) + any genetic constraints like detoxification. How are you doing now? Thanks very much!

  3. I have MS and I have also been told Lyme and do not detox easily. My problems started in my gut at the age of 27 when I had the most horrible acid reflux ever. From my research…we are loaded with bad bacteria and viruses so I have changed my way of eating and eat mostly raw foods and I am currently getting IV ozone where they take your blood out and mix it with ozone and put it back. This not only kills virus and bacteria, but also give your body more oxygen that it needs. I also purchased sn infrared sauna which penetrates deep into the skin and removes toxins through sweat. Also there are two natural antibiotics. Olive leaf extract and oil of oregano that help kill off these viruses and bacteria and I will be starting that soon as well ?

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