“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. It can feel overwhelming — especially if you think you have to address everything all at once. I’m breaking it down into baby steps to help simplify your journey back to vibrant health. If you haven’t done so already, you may want to check out the first 3 steps:
Step 1: “How to Have a Healing Mindset” focuses on opening to possibility and preparation
Step 2: “Remove Your Triggers (aka Detox Daily)” helps you identify and remove harmful root causes
Step 3: “Nourish Yourself“ emphasizes beneficial elements to add or increase
Step 4: Prioritize 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., http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18190880 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, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19188532 and inherited stress3Inheriting Stress, Inna Gaisler-Salomon, NY Times Sunday Review http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/09/opinion/sunday/can-children-inherit-stress.html?_r=1 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 cultivate your emotional wellbeing in addition to focusing on 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, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1114432/
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 difficult 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.
2. Release Suppressed Emotions
When you hold on to negative or difficult 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 attitude, and get lodged in your cells, which is a set up for disease. Feel and release these trapped emotions and ease into peace, which is where healing happens.
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.
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.
Prioritize Emotional Wellbeing – Action Summary
Love yourself first by planning and doing something nurturing for yourself – every day, however small
Free yourself from long-held emotional pain by forgiving everyone – especially yourself
Proactively increase positive emotions like laughter, kindness and gratitude.
Minimize stressors, especially your habitual, distorted, and negative thoughts – and find ways to relax everyday.
How will you find more emotional freedom today? What one relaxing thing will you do for yourself?
When you free yourself from emotional pain, your mind, body, and spirit will be lighter, brighter, and more aligned with healing energies, which is a profound gift for yourself.
Take good care!
P.S. Want my personal help beating an autoimmune condition? If you live in the continental U.S. (except NY due to state laws) and are ready, willing, and able to invest in your best health, I offer Functional Medicine Total Health Transformation Programs over Zoom. I collaborate with skilled naturopaths who are expert in resolving root causes like hormonal imbalances, gut disorders, chronic infections and toxic burdens which are almost always part of the autoimmune puzzle. Together we provide comprehensive, customized treatment plans, and collaborative, caring support. If you are ready to beat autoimmune and reclaim your best life please book a 30–minute discovery call with me to gain clarity, confidence, and explore the possibility of working together.
Image Credit: Edu Lauton