It is now easier than ever to do a quick search online and diagnose a tickly throat or suspicious rash in minutes – often coming to the conclusion that we have a life-threatening, incurable disease. And when we are sick, it is easy to focus all of our energy on that “thing” on or inside our bodies and we may find it hard to remember a time when we weren’t unwell. More importantly, we may begin to feel helpless and powerless to this thing that is happening to us.
But what if, instead of searching for ill health, we shifted our attention to searching for health? How often do you wake up and say “my shoulders feel relaxed today, my knees feel strong today, my head feels clear today”? Or is this drowned out by the chatter of our ailments?
When I was studying herbal medicine, I remember a tutor telling us that it was now rare for most GPs to prescribe tonics to their patients – a substance, usually a blend of vitamins and minerals, to promote well-being and support the body’s own healing potential. Have our modern health problems become so advanced that our only option is constant medication regimes.
As mentioned, the body has its own powerful healing potential and it is constantly seeking to find a state of homeostasis – a process of regulating the internal conditions of the body to an almost constant state, which is controlled primarily by the nervous system and hormones. This might include regulation of blood pressure or body temperature. As this particular innate healing mechanism is controlled by the nervous system and the hormones, it stands to reason that these systems (and all the systems of the body) should be sufficiently supported to be able to function properly. This includes nutrition, regular exercise, meditation or mindfulness exercises, etc.
This is not to say that we should ignore the signs and symptoms of serious health conditions but for health issues that we have a degree of control over, notice how we allow it to become part of our story, listen to the daily chatter that takes place in our minds and consider how self-limiting it may be. It may even be the case that part of the healing process is simply just accepting where we are at that point, honouring that, and acknowledging the possibility that there will be progress.
I have had the privilege to work with people who have, what some may see as, debilitating conditions or injuries but who lead full, active lives – not letting their condition define them or limit them in any way. So even when we feel powerless or at our lowest point, we can try to search for the health within ourselves, become part of our own healing process and feel empowered.