One of the first things I do when I meet a potential client is assess their point of view and their outlook on life. I listen to the way in which they speak, I am looking for indications that can tell me something about that person’s attitude, mainly if they still have hope or whether their will to live has diminished.
Finding these things out, I believe, is very important. This is because the way in which we view the world – our outlook on life – affects not only our health but also our ability to heal. If we have a generally negative attitude towards life, we may be more susceptible to becoming ill in the first place and our ability to bounce back from illness, to heal, recover and thrive, may also be impaired.
When we talk about a person’s outlook on life we really are looking at the concept of the glass half full or the glass half empty – the whole doughnut or just the hole. There are numerous studies that validate the theory that our emotions can play a part in our health. When we talk about illness versus health, we may also be talking about pessimism versus optimism – and how these two emotions can affect, for better or for worse, the course of cancer.
According to studies, the bottom line is that optimists do seem to live both longer and better lives when compared to pessimists. Optimists also cope much better with any medical treatment they may need, with the side effects of the treatment and overall they heal faster.
What we learn from these studies is that in order to enhance our immune system and become more resilient we need to develop a positive mental attitude.
But what exactly is a positive mental attitude? Is it simply a matter of thinking more positively more often? Or is there more to it? You may be wondering how easy it really is to ‘switch on’ a positive mental attitude if you have recently been diagnosed with cancer…the answer is it can be done but it’s not as easy as many guru’s are making it seem.
The truth is that the whole concept of ‘positive mental attitude’ is much more complex than forcing yourself to think more positively and it is important to understand that it’s a concept that can backfire. Of course, it is impractical for most people to suddenly force themselves to think positively, never mind sustain that feeling, especially when they are facing a life-threatening health condition. After all, what is more precious than our health?
We need to consider the concept of positive thinking more carefully. Our outlook and attitudes are functions of what is known as the conditioning process – this is the lifelong learning process where we learn about ourselves, the world around us and how we function in that world.
Much of what we think has been gathered via this conditioning process, so if you have a negative outlook and you feel that you want to blame yourself for not being ‘more positive’, please stop the blame right now. It is entirely unrealistic to expect that you can change thought patterns that you may have held for years overnight, or that you can erase your past at the click of your fingers. Of course, it cannot be that simple.
You can, however, change your perspective and your perception of the past, but this is something that takes time and that you will need support and help with. Hypnotherapy is, I believe, the perfect modality for helping us to do this. With the right professional help, you can change your mental conditioning. You can learn how to develop a more positive outlook on life that will be both productive in terms of influencing your health for the better as well as being sustainable. This is because in hypnotherapy we work in the realm of the subconscious mind, rather that the conscious part of the mind that in general psychotherapy engages.
Remember, you do not have to be a saint to overcome illness, but you do have to be prepared to take action and become proactive in your own healing.
Please share with us what worked for you or what is working for you?