At this time of year, we are often bombarded with messages via the media about it being “cold and flu season” so we need to stock up on the various remedies that will alleviate the symptoms. SINCE WHEN WAS THIS A SEASON??!! The very suggestion that at this time of year we are likely to become sick can be enough to make us sick.
The power of suggestion is…well, very powerful. As Ralph Waldo Trine said, “Never affirm or repeat about your health what you do not wish to be true”. As you know, if you’ve attended The Winning Edge programme, you move towards your dominant thoughts. What you think about, and focus on, you get more of. Where is your focus during this “cold and flu season”? Are you expecting to get ill? What assumptions are you making about this time of year and the impact on your health?
Focusing your attention on illness, has been scientifically proven to make you sick. The more you focus on ways in which your body can break down, the more likely you are to experience physical symptoms. Scientists refer to this as the nocebo effect. Nocebo is Latin for “I shall harm”. You have likely heard of the placebo effect that demonstrates the power of positive thinking, hope and expectation, the nocebo effect demonstrates the power of negative belief.
For example, if you are given a pill and told it will relieve your pain, chances are the pain will go away, even if you are only given a sugar pill. If you are warned you may experience negative side effects with a medication (or a sugar pill) this is likely to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. The nocebo effect can literally cause disease. Scientists believe it is the negative information that stimulates the stress response, also known as the fight-or-flight response.
On The Winning Edge Programme, you learn that your life i.e. the results and circumstances you have created, are a direct consequence of your repeated behaviours – your habits. Also, that you operate from the subconscious mind 95% of the time. This is all good, provided your subconscious mind is filled with positive thoughts and your habits are moving you forward with your goals and supporting your health. Sadly, too many people have habitually programmed their mind over time with negative, limiting beliefs that can sabotage their efforts to become healthy. A belief such as “I catch colds easily” or “I always get the flu this time of year” changes how your brain communicates with your body, thereby altering your body’s biochemistry. Harmful stress hormones and neurotransmitters, such as cortisol and adrenaline are released that shut down your immune system. When your immune system is compromised, your body’s natural defence and self-repair mechanisms are compromised, leaving you depleted of energy and vulnerable to dis-ease and illness.
Once you have programmed your brain with a negative belief the Reticular Activating System that acts like a heat-seeking missile, will also perform a Google-type search to find all the evidence to prove you right. Et voila – you’ll be reaching for those cold and flu remedies.
The nocebo effect extends beyond your physical health to your mental health. In a crisis, or drama, if your dominant thoughts and imagination are directed towards what you don’t want to have happen, you attract more of that into your life. Every time you create emotional stress, you activate the fight-or-flight response. As your primitive, lizard brain cannot tell the difference between a real bodily threat to your survival (e.g. a lion chasing after you) and a perceived threat that only exists in your mind (e.g. fear of being rejected, or failure) it responds the same way to keep you safe. Physiological changes occur in the body that, when repetitively triggered, can do more harm than good.
Your thoughts can literally make you sick or they can facilitate health. Use this Autumn-Winter season to become more conscious of your thinking habits and beliefs about your health and remember you have the power to write your own prescription for self-care and vitality.
“Stand guard on the door of your mind” – Jim Rohn.
By Hazel Morley
About the Author: Hazel has worked as a Trainer, Facilitator and Coach for over 25 years, a number of which were spent as an Associate for Mancroft International. She believes in an inside-out approach to personal development and change and thrives on helping others who are ready to exercise their response-ability for being the best version of themselves. Her mantra is ‘always do what you think you might regret not doing’.
Hazel transformed her lifestyle in 2009, when she relocated to beautiful British Columbia, Canada. She gives credit to the Winning Edge principles for the nudge to move to the mountains. Since living in Canada, Hazel has expanded her portfolio of enabling others to achieve their career goals to include ways to create optimal health and live with vitality. She is fascinated by the power of the mind-body-lifestyle connection and the body’s innate ability to protect and heal us from disease.