When most people think about getting healthy, they think about eating better and exercising. And yes, those things are definitely a huge part of getting healthy. They may also think more about reducing or eliminating exposure to toxic chemicals that are found in household cleaners and personal care products, and that is an important part of healthy living as well. But what about toxic beliefs?
People don’t typically focus on what they believe when working to restore their health. Beliefs are nothing more than thoughts that you think over and over again, and accept as truth. But what you focus your thoughts on has a huge impact on your overall health! Every time you have a thought, it is followed by an emotional reaction in your body. And when those emotional reactions are chronically negative, then it can make you sick.
Unfortunately, it’s easy to not pay attention to what you are thinking. If you are like the majority of people, you let your mind run on autopilot. But if you are spending a lot of time focusing on negative or pessimistic thoughts and beliefs, you may be creating excess stress without even realizing it! And that stress will begin to manifest itself as symptoms and illness in your body.
The Nocebo effect
For decades, I have been fascinated with how the mind works and how it can impact your life. Not long after I graduated from college in the 90’s I ran across a book called “The Power of the Subconscious Mind” by Joseph Murphy. This book was eye opening to me because it talks about the connection between what we humans believe and how it impacts our lives. There is one story in the book about a gentleman who goes and gets a reading by a fortune teller who informs him that in one year he would die.
This man was very healthy and had never been sick a day in his life. As the year went along, the man began to worry about the impending date more and more. And as the date got closer, he became sicker and sicker. When that date arrived, he did die. His belief in what the fortune teller said caused him more and more mental and emotional stress…and that is ultimately what led him to get sick and ultimately die. This idea is called the “nocebo effect”.
The opposite of the nocebo effect is the more well known placebo effect. It is not uncommon for people who have been give a sugar pill and told that it’s a powerful new drug that will heal them, to actually experience healing. It’s the power of the mind that is creating that healing through the belief that healing will occur.
So thoughts and beliefs are far more powerful than most people recognize! And they do hold the power to either help you heal or make you sick! The good news is that a belief is nothing more than a series of thoughts. And with a little practice, negative thoughts and beliefs can be changed! These things aren’t serving you or your health.
So many people hold beliefs that just don’t work for who they truly are. From childhood we are taught who to be, how to act, what to believe. Our parents, teachers, coaches, mentors and other adults who hold a place of authority teach us these things. But even if those things don’t work for who we are as adults, so often it’s easy to cling to them because they are familiar and comfortable. Society teaches us what to believe every day…just turn on the television or go online and you’ll see it everywhere! Maybe it’s time for you to start questioning exactly what it is you believe to see if those things are harming you.
It can be a powerful and liberating thing to start questioning your beliefs. One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “does this belief really work for me?” I started asking myself that question a few years ago and it has profoundly changed my life and my world. I have let go of major life beliefs after asking myself that question. And I really allowed myself to listen to my own inner voice, and realized that certain things just were not serving me. Certain beliefs were so against who I was on soul level that it was creating a lot of stress, anxiety and depression.
I had a ball of tension in my gut for decades that didn’t go away until I honored who I really was and let go of the thoughts and beliefs that weren’t in line with my truth. I had had hints that these things weren’t right. But because of earlier conditioning, I just shoved any questioning to the side and continued to hold onto them, even though they didn’t work for me. Because of the conflict between holding onto limiting beliefs and being true to me, I was creating stress that was making me sick.
I let go of beliefs about myself that were hurting me. Things like….”I’m not thin enough, smart enough, good enough” are so common for so many to believe. I let go of beliefs about the world around me that no longer aligned with my soul and that came from a place of hate, anger, shame, fear or guilt. These things create stress in the body, and that stress can chip away at your health. It certainly did for me!
Letting go of the beliefs that no longer serve you can be a powerful way of loving and nurturing yourself and your health!
How do you retrain yourself to let go of toxic beliefs?
- Become aware of it. A good place to start are the “I’m not….” and “I’m too….” beliefs about yourself. We all have them and those beliefs can prevent you from living your best possible life!
- Acknowledge it. Recognize that this is a belief and only a belief. It only has the power to affect you if you allow it, and you can change it!
- Question it. Where did this belief come from? Often times our beliefs don’t even come from us, but from other’s beliefs and perceptions. Those beliefs that you did create are only your own judgement and perception of yourself and the world around you. You may need to do a little clearing when strong emotional beliefs come up. Using tools such as Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) or the Sedona Method can help you energetically clear away the garbage of toxic beliefs. EFT is my go to clearing method and is very effective.
- Choose a new belief. Choose a thought that is positive and repeat that as an affirmation. If you can feel the positive emotion that is attached to the new positive thought/belief, even better! Before long, that belief will become prominent and you will have let go of some toxic beliefs that have been creating stress!