Why can changing your beliefs improve your health?

You may be surprised to see changing your beliefs in a section on  ‘natural therapy approaches to healing.’ In fact, your beliefs are probably the most important single factor contributing to your health, and the most important single factor contributing to the development of your disease. Your beliefs influence your state of mind, affect your emotional state, and have a direct affect on your health:

  • If you feel inadequate and need to constantly prove yourself to others, you will almost certainly suffer from stress. Stress has all sorts of negative effects on your health, including digestive problems, high blood pressure, and suppression of the immune system. Long-term stress can trigger many illnesses, including stokes, heart attack and possibly cancer.
  • Eating disorders are nearly always connected to psychological and emotional issues. Obesity may now be the number one cause of disease in the developed world, and anorexia has a devastating effect on many young people. These are diseases of our modern society and are related to cultural and psychological factors.
  • Depression and anxiety are prevalent in modern society linked to other conditions such as insomnia, paranoia and obsessive compulsive disorder. These are often connected with beliefs that we hold about ourselves and other people. In my opinion, many of these psychological states are a result of our sense of isolation from one another, and the breakdown of traditional family and community support networks.
  • In spite of our increased material well-being, many of us feel insecure, unloved and unable to express ourselves. Security, love and the ability to express ourselves are important needs that we have as human beings. If we are unable to meet these needs we will gradually develop illness related to the areas where our needs are frustrated.
The effect that our beliefs have on our ability to heal is dramatically demonstrated by the so-called ‘placebo effect’. Rigorous scientific studies have shown that believing that we have been given an effective drug can be almost as powerful as being given the drug itself. In other words, our belief that we are receiving an effective drug has a strong healing effect. Research into the placebo effect has caused major dilemmas for drug manufacturers. In some cases, the placebo effect of a drug under research has been shown to be more beneficial than the drug itself. It is also true, that if we believe a drug (or a particular food) will upset our health, it probably will. This is known as the ‘nocebo effect’.

How can changing your beliefs improve your health?

So how can changing your beliefs help you to overcome your illness? This will depend on the nature of your illness. Disease that manifests on a physical level always has a psychological equivalent. There are many good books available that list various illnesses and their corresponding psychological and emotional states. You will find some of these listed under ‘Recommended books’. The following list gives some examples of common health issues and some positive beliefs and emotions that can help these conditions to improve.

  • Heart conditions: loving yourself and being gentle and loving to others.
  • Digestive ailments: letting go of strong emotions and learning to accept life has its ups and downs.
  • Eyesight problems: seeing beauty in nature and good in other people; seeing things as they are, in a balanced way.
  • Hearing problems: willing to listen to others and enjoy various types of music/sound; being relaxed and at ease most of the time (not hyper-vigilant).
  • Arthritis, mobility problems: open minded and flexible/tolerant of other people.
It doesn’t take a great deal of imagination to extend this list. Every physical ailment has a corresponding psychological component. Your symptoms will usually tell you where you have psychological weaknesses that you need to address. Once you are aware of the possible connection of your beliefs and emotions to your illness, you need to work on changing these to help the healing process. There are many ways you can do this, but simply becoming aware of this connection will help.Every time you observe yourself having negative thoughts and feelings that correspond with your condition, say NO or STOP firmly to yourself or out loud. Then say a positive affirmation to implant positive thoughts and feelings into your unconscious mind. For example: for a heart condition you might say something like; “I deeply love myself just the way I am and I am happy to share my love with others”.You may find it helpful to have a series of EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) sessions to help change your underlying beliefs. These are particularly useful if you are not aware of what psychological or emotional factors may be connected to your illness; also, EFT will help you release ‘negative’ thoughts and emotions.

What conditions can changing your beliefs help?

You can use this knowledge/understanding to support healing of any illness or disease.

Is changing your beliefs safe?

If you have serious psychological or emotional problems you should always get professional help, and inform your consultant/practitioner of what you are doing. The process of changing your beliefs and emotions can be used safely alongside other types of therapy. For example: it is supportive of homeopathy and conventional treatment of chronic illness.