How does attitude conditioning affect our pathways in Fibromyalgia?
It is not “mind over matter” when it comes to fibromyalgia, no, I like to say “it is the mind and body working together”
I get it. I live it, breathe it, sleep it, and as fellow fibro and practitioner, I am invested in helping all of us live the best life with a complex condition.
Negative emotions do not just go away, they can manifest and perpetuate disease. They ‘settle’ within the body, muscles and the delicate endocrine system as well; especially the liver, gallbladder and thyroid.
These deep seated emotions settle and cause increased pain and stiffness in the muscles and joints.
Adjusting our attitude is not merely attending a few therapy sessions or saying positive affirmations every day and then we are fixed.
No, it is a daily practice. Just like with any habit, we CREATE healthy thought habits or unhealthy thought habits.
For Attitude Conditioning “Practice Makes Progress”
I’ve never heard of anyone attaining greater levels of healing while nursing a negative attitude and outlook on their lives. It just doesn’t work. And that is not how it worked for me.
I had to face ‘head on’ my negativity, my pessimism AND my skepticism about how I might be managing my own fibromyalgia.
I became convinced that others didn’t have it as bad as I did. How could I stay positive when my bones and muscles hurt to the very core? And the environmental part of my illness made it nearly impossible for me to live, function or travel like a normal person. Yes, I had some internal work to do, not merely physical.
I am grateful that I became more accepting of mindbody medicine over 12 years ago, because before then, and as a practitioner in holistic medicine, I had always been too focused on the physical body. These mindbody concepts were not easy for me to accept.
It took me awhile. I didn’t accept it overnight, but then after enough research, I realized that it was worth my time and effort, especially when compared to what I had already endured in my life since a young age.
Being positive doesn’t mean that everything is ok. It does mean that we put our faith in something greater than the illness and put our actions into CREATING the best life possible.
With mindbody conditioning practice, a positive outlook can start to create endorphins. I know, I have experienced this, and it is truly a gift that we give to ourselves through a small amount of time and effort.
By consistently focusing on any positive event, no matter how small, you will begin to change neural pathways.
It gets easier because the neural pathways get rewired in your brain. This approach is really the beginning of behavior modification. I really struggled with this until I finally confronted my “Negative Nelly” and threw her out.
This book is in our resource/books page but it bears a special note here.
A great book by Dr. Shad Helmstetter, “The Power of Neuroplasticity”, explains the concept of rewiring our neural pathways and does so in an easy to understand style. This concept is an extremely critical step in my protocol.
The power of this technique extends even to physical healing. Remember the “monkeys research” I talked about in Mind Body Science?
This technique can actually heal corrupted cells as the Harvard monkey experiment demonstrated. It’s this technique that enables what I call “intentional intervention” in your own body’s struggle with fibromyalgia.
If you latch on to this technique, you are halfway home to achieving many more good days than bad. Shortly, you’ll begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and, no, that’s not a train coming back towards you; it’s a new, brighter day.
I like to say..”A smile from the heart is a great place to start”.
This simply means that we are NOT dependent on any outside influences to determine our state of happiness..
Gratitude resides within us.
Joy ..Happiness ..truly an inside job.
Now, I awake in the morning, and before I open my eyes, I have a mental image of my heart smiling. This is a ritual with me now. We all need these rituals to remind ourselves to be positive.
This may seem too simple or childish to you, but attitude conditioning (behavior modification) requires the constant practice of the “positive behavior” we’re using to replace the negative behavior.
To get the upper hand on fibromyalgia and it’s related conditions, there’s nothing we can do that’s more powerful, but we must be consistent. If you are, your brain will actually build new neural pathways that affect your fibro body in amazing ways, and the “positive attitude” will become second nature in time.
One day, I was having relatively high pain levels in my neck and upper back, yet my passion, purpose and joy for my life was overriding some of the pain. In that moment, I was actually reducing the level of pain just by automatic, positive, attitude conditioning; endorphins (the body’s own painkiller) were being released and reducing the pain level.
But this occurred only after regular practice of mind conditioning, it didn’t happen overnight. Again, what a gift we give to ourselves when we invest time in our positive attitude; let’s not ever be so skeptical that we prevent our minds from supporting our efforts.
As I note in our protocol:
Meditation/Prayer is FREE and can be done at any time. In my protocol I suggest meditating for 40 minutes per day; that is 20 minutes, 2X per day, once in the morning, and then later afternoon or evening.
Remember, it’s not mind over matter, it IS mind and body working together.
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