Question for Bernie
Hope you and your family are happy.
I just wonder if what you say is true about the power of the mind. I have had a number of health issues for many years. I tried to live with them, but the quality of my life was just terrible with psoriatic arthritis/vitiligo/recurrent UTIs/asthma/thyroid, etc. So two years back I threw everything into healing, e.g., I no longer eat sugar, gluten, and am 100% organic. I do yoga and meditate.
I even did the Hoffman process to forgive my parents. I’ve had tons of therapy, gone on meditation retreats, and seen nutritionists. And what happened? I didn’t feel better. I eventually had several relapses on the arthritis, and after six steroid jabs, I am now back on the maximum dose of Azathioprine. I had made a decision that I really don’t want to live anymore if I am continually ill. It’s just exhausting and not fun. I am, however, giving it another try and am embarking on a full-on leaky gut healing program, but I wonder if it is the other way round—it is my body affecting my mind. Your thoughts would be interesting.
You cannot separate mind and body. Emotions alter body chemistry and immune function. When you decide that you don’t want to live, your body gets the message and your immune system weakens. If, instead, you love your life and your body, the immune system gets the message that you want to LIVE, and then things change. Don’t make your body the enemy. Love it just as it is.
It is important to identify and then eliminate from your life what is killing you. An easy way to do this is to write down the words that describe your health problems—think of words that describe the physical feelings (like pain, difficulty sleeping, no energy or whatever is true for you physically), but also write down the words that describe how your health affects your life (like restricting, annoying, frustrating, anxiety-producing, etc.) The next step is to identify the people and situations in your life that fit any of the negative descriptive words you have listed. Then, resolve to eliminate as many of these destructive, negative relationships and/or situations as you can from your life and restore a positive atmosphere around you.
It is not about blame, so abandon your past and what your parents did to you by getting the anger out. As long as it is stored within you, it plays a negative role, interfering with the strength of your immune system.
Question for Bernie: (response from questioner above)
What a kind response.
I will think about what you say and get back to you…
Bernie’s Answer: (to questioner’s response above)
Here is a mantra/affirmation to say every few hours:
Thank you for everything
I have no complaint whatsoever
I am happy
I am healthy
I love my life, body and family
I am content with what i have
I rejoice in the way things are
Nothing is lacking
The whole world belongs to me
Also, see a naturopathic physician for help. Finally, recall times that made you laugh out loud in the past, and enjoy laughing again several times each day. Do all of these things and watch what happens.
Question for Bernie
Good morning Dr. Siegel,
I thought I would quickly relay this story to you and let you know that I successfully employed what you spoke about in an interview you gave Tony Robbins.
I was recently in charge of a number of attorneys reviewing documents in an old warehouse. Because of the lack of space in our storage room, we utilized some common area hallway space (about 10 people with tables, chairs, and little lamps). Really, no one was using the common space and the warehouse was very quiet. As life happens, the landlord stopped by to show the property to someone. He completely freaked out at the people who were there. I was not there when he initially started yelling, ranting, and threatening people. One of my trusted staff was calm and tried to talk to him, but realizing that to be impossible, called me and said “GET UP HERE ASAP!”
I met up with the landlord just outside the building. He continued to rant, calling me an idiot for not checking with him before using the hallway. I let him yell, sat down in front of him on a little stoop (so as not to be threatening in the least) and let his energy go. At one point during the yelling he said, “Well, I’m not going to kick you out,” so I thought we’d be OK. After he calmed down a little bit, he told me about an alternate space I could rent. Fine, I needed the space as I had few options.
Then using lessons from my dad to try to get people smiling, and remembering a story you told about nurses calling you if a patient was ranting and raving (the nurses saying you’d probably like the guy) you relayed that you would talk to someone threatening the nurses by saying “Violence is not productive, but use the energy to get well.” You said that you liked the person’s energy. I made one more statement to the landlord. I gently tapped him on his chest and said, “You know what, I really love your energy. If I had one person with that much energy on my document review, I’d be done in no time!” Well, he started laughing and the rest worked out.
It was a situation that could have gone terribly wrong, but in using something you said, it really worked out.
I just thought you would enjoy knowing you made a difference in my life.
You made a difference in my life by telling me how something I said worked so well for you. It is a great lesson to pass on. It is very difficult to go through life without enduring confrontation, but it does not have to be a negative stand-off. It can be, as you experienced, a great lesson in positive communication leading to positive outcomes.
This is what it is all about. Life is a school and you are learning. In that respect, I feel like I’ve won the lottery of Life!