You may know that your body is brilliantly equipped with natural self-repair mechanisms that repair broken proteins, kill cancer cells, fight infections, retard aging, and generally keep your body healthy. But did you know that these self-repair mechanisms can be flipped on – or off – with the power of thoughts, beliefs, and feelings that originate in the mind?
It’s not New Age hocus pocus. It’s simple physiology! Here’s how it happens for the nerds among you who, like me, like to understand how things in the body work.
The Stress Response Vs. Relaxation Response
Your nervous system operates in two different states – the “fight-or-flight” stress response, when the sympathetic nervous system dominates, and the relaxation response, when the parasympathetic nervous system is in charge. But here’s the kicker- your body’s natural self-repair mechanisms only activate when your body is in a relaxation response!
The average person experiences 50 stress responses per day, and every time you have a fearful thought or a pessimistic belief or a resentful feeling, you trigger stress responses that fill the body with poisonous stress hormones like cortisol and epinephrine. But when you have an optimistic belief or a loving thought or a feeling of compassion, you activate relaxation responses, and the body can then do what it does best – heal itself.
Balancing The Nervous System
How can you help your body heal itself? It’s all about reducing stress responses and adding in relaxation responses. Reducing your stress requires taking a good look at your life to determine whether there are any areas where you’re living out of alignment with your truth and personal integrity. Maybe you’re in a soul-sucking job or a toxic relationship, or maybe it’s time to finally forgive your father or pursue a dream. While reducing stress responses can require some radical actions, activating relaxation responses can be easy and pleasurable.