I’m Not Crazy
I’m currently reading Lissa Rankin’s new book, “Mind Over Medicine. Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself.” I’m currently on page 119 of 218 and am blown away. I’m blown away because its affirmation that I’m not crazy. I often speak about how your thoughts create your reality. How you can control what’s going on in your life. How your negative thoughts about men or family or yourself directly translates into the stress you carry in your body or why your hair probably isn’t growing or why your relationship sucks. I hear people say “I do all the right things, I eat vegetables, I exercise, I use organic products and still XYZ isn’t happening?” In numerous youtube vlogs, you can hear me saying, “But what are you thinking?” “What’s your stress level?”
I’m no doctor. I just know in my gut that the stress you feel about your mom is directly translating into some other areas of your life. Or the fact that your boss says no to all your ideas directly affects that ulcer you don’t even know you have. I KNOW this. But I think some people think I’m a bit of a far east, free spirited, voodoo, pole dancing yogi, chakra kind of freak who’s read one too many Pema Chodron books.
Lissa is my scientic proof. I am not crazy. As I read her book, I keep thinking, “See. That’s what I’ve been saying. AND on top of that, now there is scientific proof, evidence, paperwork to back this stuff up! I knew it!” I’m so grateful that Lissa wrote this book and I’m not even done yet! I’m not even in the “healing” portion of the book.
Perception versus Reality
But today, what I want to share with you as you proceed about your Monday, is two excerpts on her book that deal with PERCEPTION and REALITY. I’ve heard ALL my life about “perception being reality” and I supposed in one way or another I get what people mean. We normally used that phrase when it comes to how people perceive us. An example would be,…. I went to check into a hotel and there were six agents behind the check in desk. Not one looked up at me. They were preoccupied with one thing or another. PERCEPTION to me was that there were six people, no line and I was standing there not being helped. What the HELL? Reality could have been that two were printing a report. Another could have not even been a front desk agent. Maybe one of those people were tech support. It doesn’t even matter what the reality was. The perception was that there were too many people and none of them were helping me. That’s usually what people are talking about when it comes to perception being reality and why we should be mindful of how we’re being perceived.
The Physiology of Emotion
Lissa takes this notion to a whole other level about what your mind perceives and what is reality and how both directly impact your health.
In The Physiology of Emotion where Lissa expounds on fear, she writes, “Your thoughts are powerful. Your conscious mind – which resides in the forebrain- knows you’re frightened. But your lizard brain- the area near your brain stem that houses the hypothalamus- can’t tell the difference between an abstract fear thought and a real live survival threat. Your lizard brain thinks you’re about to die and this stimulates the stress response, setting off the “fight-or-flight” mechanisms, activating the HPA axis, flipping on the sympathetic nervous system, shutting down your immune system and getting you ready to run away from danger.”
Before and after this section of the book Lissa explains what STRESS does to our body. She gives the scientific proof and explanations of just how stress literally screws us up and leads to disease and back problems and migraines and more. So then, you take a fear…whether its a real fear or a perceived fear, and your body starts STRESSING OUT because that’s what it does to fear and that STRESS starts to break your body down.
My Body Does Not Know the Difference
So whether five lions are circling me or I’m scared of failing, my body does not know the difference. It treats all my fears as the same. My body breaks down when I stress. Whether my stress is because the communication between me and my lover is SUCKING or an earthquake just took away my entire city…my body treats it all the same. Do you get how much power that gives you? Do you get why its so important to master your thoughts and to dispense with crazy notions of fear. Your fear of succeeding can literally kill you and its not even worth it.
Later in, “Financial Stress and Health” to give another example, Lissa writes, “The body can’t differentiate between perceived financial stress (fear that you’ll wind up flat broke) and real financial stress (you really are flat broke.) Either way, the stress response becomes chronically activated and this can translate into disease.”
Do you see that? Whether you’re actually broke, homeless and hungry or you fear losing your job, not making enough money and are stressing about the mortgage, your body treats it exactly the same. Your thoughts are directly related to your health. Perceived fear is treated as the same as a life threatening fear. Perception and reality of stress directly impacts your body. What are you going to do about it? First off, you can take a moment breath, drink some tea and calm down. Second, you can pre-order Lissa’s book to read the other chapters on how “Happiness is Preventative Medicine” and “How to Counteract the Stress Response” and “Radical Self-Care” and “6 Steps to Healing.” But even before you get to the good stuff, you most definitely want to read her case study findings and details of just what your mind is doing to your body in all the previous chapters too.
There are ways to manage your stress and fear and there are ways to master your mind and your emotions. You have the power. Its not just in xanax and zoloft and in eating another red velvet cupcake. YOU ARE POWERFUL!