Beat Autoimmune with Baby Steps: Emotional Wellbeing


“When you can maintain a level of inner tranquility no matter what is happening around you, you can avoid the damage that stress causes to your health.”

– Gerald S. Cohen, D. Hom., D.C. & founder of the Center for the Healing Process

Healing from autoimmune disorders is a holistic journey that involves mind, body and spirit. At a glance our Manifesto for Healing may seem overwhelming — especially if you think you have to address everything all at once. We’ve broken it down into baby steps to help simplify your journey back to good health. If you haven’t done so already, you may want to check out the first 3 steps:

Step 1: “Mindset Matters” focuses on opening to possibility and preparation

Step 2: “Remove Your Triggers” helps you identify and remove harmful root causes

Step 3: “Nourish Yourself emphasizes beneficial elements to add or increase

Step 4: Emotional Wellbeing

The evidence is clear that autoimmune conditions and stress in all its many forms – chronic, acute, physical, mental, emotional, etc. — go hand in hand.1Stress as a trigger of autoimmune disease, Stojanovich L, et. al., Autoimmun Rev. 2008 Jan;7(3):209-13. doi: 10.1016/j.autrev.2007.11.007. Epub 2007 Nov 29., Even childhood trauma2Cumulative childhood stress and autoimmune diseases in adults, Dube, SR., et. al., Psychosom Med. 2009 Feb;71(2):243-50. doi: 10.1097/PSY.0b013e3181907888. Epub 2009 Feb 2, and inherited stress3Inheriting Stress, Inna Gaisler-Salomon, NY Times Sunday Review have been scientifically linked to adult autoimmune disorders.

Cancer counselor Daniel Kennedy has spent 20 years working with cancer patients and observes:

Across the board I see emotional pain of unresolved grief or trauma–some type of major loss: a loss of marriage, loss of freedom, loss of a job or a loved one. Instead of grieving adequately, they have suppressed it. It has to come out somehow and often it will manifest in some kind of illness.

Bottom line, if you want to heal from or prevent the advent or progression of autoimmune conditions, you must tend to your emotional wellbeing in addition to the body. Research suggests that efforts to promote physical wellbeing that do not also tend to mental and emotional wellbeing may be doomed to fail.4Emotional wellbeing and its relation to health, Physical disease may well result from emotional distress, Sarah Stewart-Brown,

So what is emotional wellbeing?

You can think of emotional wellbeing as a deep state of peace that abides, even during life’s ups and downs. Spiritual teacher, Eckhart Tolle uses the metaphor of modern life being a spinning wheel, and peace being the still center at the hub.

How can you maintain your “still center” in the midst of messy modern life?

Nurture yourself. Feel and let go of negative emotions. Actively cultivate positive emotional states. And, seek and regularly practice ways to relax.

1. Love Yourself First

When you love yourself first, you proactively “fill your bucket” which, in turn, gives you energy for the important people and activities in your life.

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    Make a ``Fill Me Up`` List

    Make a list of things that nurture you. These can be easy to do and free, like calling a good friend, taking a bath, doing some gentle yoga poses, or going for a walk — or just being — in nature.

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    Do One ``Fill Me Up`` Each Week

    Schedule and do one of those self-nurturing things per week.

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    Do One ``Fill Me Up`` Every Day

    Schedule and do one of those self-nurturing things every day.

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    Plan Something Special for YOU

    Plan something special just for yourself: a retreat, an art class you’ve always wanted to take, a girls’ weekend away… What are you waiting for?

2. Release Suppressed Emotions

When you hold on to negative emotions, you harm yourself mentally, emotionally and physically. Long-held anger, grudges, sadness, resentment, regret, worry, fear and unresolved emotional trauma take up real estate in your brain, affect your general attitude and get lodged in your cells, which is a set up for disease. Feel and release these negative emotions and ease into peace, which is where healing happens.

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    Forgive Everyone -- Including Yourself

    Forgive anyone who ever hurt you. Forgiving doesn’t mean forgetting, and it doesn’t mean you have to be buddies with someone who “wronged” you. Forgiveness is ultimately a gift of freedom you give yourself. And while you’re at it, forgive yourself.

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    Tap It Out

    Try tapping key acupressure points, aka Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) as a tool to help you release stress, emotional trauma, worry and anxiety. In less than 5 minutes you can find freedom from whatever is stressing you out.

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    Release Deep Grief

    Grieving is a normal and healthy response to loss – of a loved one or the end of a relationship, or even your own loss of function. It’s the unexpressed, long-held grief that can get stuck in your cells and harm your health. Try EFT or go see a grief counselor, psychologist or energy worker to release deep grief.

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    Face Fears Head On

    Whittle away fear by doing something that scares you every day. Start small and work your way up to the big stuff as you build confidence. Don’t forget to congratulate yourself as you face your fear and do it anyway.

3. Increase Positive Emotions

Kelly Turner, Ph.D. & author of Radical Remission: Surviving Cancer Against All Odds studies people who survived cancer, even when they were given little hope. Increasing positive emotions is one of the traits common to all survivors. Dr. Turner notes that cultivating positive emotions requires daily practice. And, she emphasizes, you don’t have to be happy all day long, you just have to make the effort to laugh or be grateful every day.

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    Laugh More

    Norman Cousins wrote a book called Anatomy of an Illness as Perceived by the Patient: Reflections on Healing and Regeneration about the power of laughter (and high dose vitamin C) in helping him heal from his “incurable” heart disease. He found that 10 minutes of laughter would give him 2 hours of pain relief. This book was key to my own MS recovery in 1984.

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    Start a Gratitude Journal

    Emotions like compassion, love and gratitude strengthen the immune system and synchronize the body’s systems. Consider starting a gratitude journal and adding to it each night before bed.5Ref 5: The Coherent Heart; Heart–Brain Interactions, Psychophysiological Coherence, and the Emergence of System-Wide Order, McCraty et al., 1995,

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    Choose Kindness

    Science shows that kindness heals wounds faster. Arguments and hostility cause wounds to heal more slowly. Choose kindness.6Ref 6: The Impact of Psychological Stress on Wound Healing: Methods and Mechanisms, Jean-Philippe Gouin and Janice K. Kiecolt-Glaser, 2005

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    Be Kind to Yourself

    Self-compassion has three aspects: mindfulness, common humanity and kindness. Good news is that it can be learned. How can you be kinder to yourself today?7Ref 7: Kristin Neff, Associate Professor
    Human Development and Culture
    Educational Psychology Department
    University of Texas at Austin and pioneering researcher into self-compassion),

4. Choose Peace

We live in an always-on society with no shortage of things to stress us out. Our habitual state of too little sleep, too much caffeine, and too many pressures can exhaust our adrenal glands, harm our guts, elevate our cortisol output, lower our thyroid function and inflame our whole bodies. This is the pro-disease state. To heal or prevent disease, we must actively engage the “Relaxation Response” – which is the opposite of the stress response.

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    Surrender Your Stressors

    Take stock of your life and write down everything that causes you stress. What can you eliminate, minimize or outsource? If it’s all on you, then you need to learn and practice stress management techniques. For the things you can’t control, surrender them to a higher power or the universe.

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    Catch and Replace Negative Thoughts

    Often the biggest source of our stress is our own mind. Research shows that we have about 60,000 thoughts each day and most are negative. Worrying, catastrophizing, mind reading and all-or-nothing thinking are examples of distorted, negative thinking. The antidote is to become aware of your thoughts and challenge the unproductive, distorted ones.

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    Activate the Relaxation Response

    Deep breathing, yin (restorative) yoga, hypnosis, progressive relaxation and meditation are all calming practices that activate the Relaxation Response. Do one or more of these daily – even for 5 minutes. Don’t have 5? Start with 1.

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    Choose Herbal Tea

    Choose herbal teas after noon. Ginger, turmeric, chamomile and peppermint are caffeine-free, soothing and anti-inflammatory.

Spirit: Emotional Wellbeing – Action Summary

  1. Love yourself first by planning and doing something nurturing for yourself – every day

  2. Free yourself from long-held emotional pain by forgiving everyone – including yourself

  3. Proactively increase positive emotions like laughter, kindness and gratitude.

  4. Minimize stressors – especially your habitual, negative thoughts – and find ways to relax everyday.

How will you find more emotional freedom today? Who do you need to forgive? How does more emotional freedom feel? 

When you free yourself from emotional pain, your mind, body, and spirit will be lighter, brighter, and more aligned with healing energies. That’s a profound gift for yourself; and when you elevate your energies, chances are good that you’ll lift other people’s spirits too, and that’s a gift for everyone.

Take good care!

Image Credit: Nadezhda1906/iStock


  1. This was extremely well written. Took me several years to discover many of these things. Will share this outline with others. God bless.

  2. Thank you thank you thank you!!!!!! So grateful to have come across your page on FB then to this site………..everything you said is true to what I believe……..been sick for 4 years and am FINALLY determined to beat all of it ~ emotional and physical….this last Full /Blood moon was my turning point….to purge purge purge…..”I am Healthy” my mantra as I reread one of Wayne Dyers books……so excited to read more of your postings/information ~ sincerely Paige:-))

    • Hi Paige, Thank you so much for your kind feedback! Really and truly the reason I do this is to help people who are on the healing path and who are seeking solutions in harmony with nature. Sounds like I met you at the right time! Take good care!

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