Our beliefs are powerful. They shape the way we see and feel the world. Sometimes I don’t think we fully appreciate just how powerful they can be.
Case in point, certain beliefs may actually impede our physical healing. Now obviously, you wouldn’t consciously believe in something that would block you from good health; yet, there are instances where this is exactly what happens. Instead of looking within and taking ownership of our health in totality, we may believe external factors are the main causes of our symptoms and conditions. For example, there is a widely-held and long-standing belief that arthritis pain is related to the weather. So far, the actual evidence is weak to support this belief (Redelmeier & Tversky, 1996).
So, what leads us to adopt and hold onto this type of belief if it isn’t true? According to research cited by Redelmeier and Tversky, aside from the general plausibility and traditional popularity of this notion, “the desire to have an explanation for worsening pain may encourage [you] to search for confirming evidence and neglect contrary instances.” Additionally, if you experienced a day of severe pain and extreme weather, you may be inclined to link the two, causing a lifetime belief that both are related. Psychologists call this phenomenon “selective matching”. We are motivated to look for external explanations because we are uncertain of the cause of our condition and we selectively remember certain things from the past that we can connect it to.
I feel that many times, it’s easier to explain away what ails us by blaming it on genetics, the weather, others, etc. In some instances, external factors from our environment definitely may be the cause; however, more often than not, it’s our own diet and lifestyle choices that are directly affecting our health. However, it usually takes a long time of making poor choices before it’ll show up in the physical body. By then, habits become ingrained (becoming our “norm”) and we will tend to try and pinpoint things to one immediate explanation (like the weather) instead, which doesn’t happen to threaten these deep-seated habits. I know it’s challenging to change the way we do things – old habits can die hard.
An important thing to realize is that the body wants to heal and is always seeking balance, so anything blocking it definitely tells us about the inner workings of the mind more than all else.
Remember that this is not about judgment and blame. It’s about our will to choose. Since the physical body tends to move toward balance (homeostasis), let’s choose to support it through better nutritional and lifestyle choices moving forward. We don’t need to focus on our previous less-than-stellar choices as justification for why we are weak to change things now. We’re not weak – that’s a false belief. Our thoughts are powerful.
For true deep healing, it may prove more beneficial to explore your own choices first to see how the puzzle pieces fit together in your greater health picture. A holistic nutritionist is trained to help you uncover these puzzle pieces as well should you feel overwhelmed and/or unsure of where to start. As I always like to say, play detective with yourself to look for the inner hidden clues and don’t let yourself get distracted by any external noise.
I know you’ll be a super sleuth!
Redelmeier, D. A., & Tversky, A. “On the Belief That Arthritis Pain is Related to the Weather.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 93, no. 7 (1996): 2895-96. http://www.pnas.org/content/93/7/2895.full.pdf.
Milka is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist based in the Greater Toronto Area guiding people toward optimal health, energy & well-being through nutrition. She is passionate about teaching people how to cultivate healthy eating habits and a greater respect for food, while also helping them discover the joy of cooking and eating well. Milka believes we can make mealtime a mini celebration every day!
Visit her website, like her Facebook page, and follow her on Twitter!