When many people think about the healing process, they imagine a prescribed course of treatment that involves medications or physical exercise. And while medication and exercise are sometimes recommended, it is important to understand the key role that our minds play in the healing process. By combining a positive attitude with mental imagery and cognitive reframing, you can help yourself recover from life’s curve balls faster. Below are nine simple ways to heal yourself with your mind.
1) Believe that healing is possible
“I’ve been confronted many times by clients, students, or friends who believe there is nothing that can be done about their particular problem. Every option is impossible because of their beliefs about the change. So, rather than having to actually make change, they simply sit with their suffering and feel powerless.” – William Berry, LMHC., CAP
The path to healing yourself begins with the belief that healing is possible. If you are steadfast in your belief that your well-being will never improve, then you will continue to struggle with physical and mental health issues. However, if you vow to reframe your thinking and allow yourself to believe in the prospect of a full recovery, you can begin to focus on the healing process.
2) Become an eternal optimist
Studies show that people with an optimistic mindset have healthier immune systems and enjoy better recoveries from medical conditions and procedures. They are also less susceptible to stress and disease. So if you tend to have a glass-half-empty outlook on life, it is time to reverse that outlook! You can start today by developing a more positive mindset and master the art of finding the silver lining in challenging situations.
3) Think about a funny moment in your life
“When it comes to relieving stress, more giggles and guffaws are just what the doctor ordered.” – The Mayo Clinic
Laughter offers a host of short-term and long-term healing benefits. According to The Mayo Clinic, laughter can help soothe tension, stimulate production of endorphins, reduce symptoms of depression, and even improve your immune system. If there is nothing humorous at the moment to make you giggle, you can conjure up a laugh by remembering a funny moment in your life or asking a friend to share a funny memory.
4) Make time to meditate
Meditation is an age-old mental pursuit that many people employ to help alleviate depression and boost overall well-being. By helping to reduce cortisol levels, meditation can play a role in reducing stress. Some proponents even posit that meditation can help slow the aging process. And if you think you do not have time to meditate, then think again. Recent evidence suggests that you can enjoy its healing benefits by allocating just 15 minutes per day to meditation.
5) Imagine yourself completing an intense workout
Virtually everyone would agree that exercise and working out are beneficial to health and healing. After all, exercise helps to build muscle mass, which, in turn, helps to fight infection. But many people are surprised to learn that people can actually build muscle strength by imagining themselves working out. In fact, one research study shows that physical strength was increased by 24% through mental practice, or the act of imagining a physical workout.
6) Keep a journal
“Journaling provides a safe environment that enables you to face your traumas. When that happens, remarkable healing follows. Indeed, studies find that journaling can reduce pain, improve depression, and even lower markers of inflammation.” – Wayne Jonas, M.D.
Keeping a journal is more than just a way to stimulate your mind. Journaling can actually aid in the healing process. By writing about pleasant and painful experiences, you can grow as a person. Other healing benefits of journaling include reduced symptoms of pain and depression. If you are looking for journaling ideas, you can imagine a place where you feel secure and describe it in writing.
7) Open your mind to new relationships
People who have strong social support networks and enjoy time with others tend to live longer, healthier lives. They also tend to heal faster from ailments. Lonely people, on the other hand, tend to struggle more with the healing process. By resolving to trust others and work on developing new, meaningful relationships, you can enjoy the healing benefits that come along with a strong social support network.
8) Have faith in your treatment providers
The Placebo Effect remains alive and well as a compelling example of the role that our minds can play in the healing process. But if you are recovering from an illness and you have little faith in your treatment providers, the opposite effect can occur, hindering your recovery. If you find yourself skeptical about your prescribed course of treatment, there are several steps you can take to adjust your thinking:
- Focus on the many examples of successful healing that have occurred as a result of your prescribed course of treatment
- Talk to people who have fully healed as a result of the treatment
- Take note of the positive changes that have occurred since you began treatment
9) Reflect on your many successful experiences with healing
Sometimes a challenge can seem so insurmountable that the prospect of overcoming it seems impossible. But if you are able to read this article, then you have experienced successful healing in the past. Take some time to think about two or three times in your life when you overcame a particularly challenging ailment or problem. By recalling the steps you took in the past, you can gain the courage to face your current situation and overcome it.
The Bottom Line
The mind plays a powerful role in the healing process. By following the steps above, you can experience a variety of healing benefits without physical exercise or swallowing a pill. From adopting a more positive mindset to keeping a journal, there are many simple steps you can take to heal yourself with your mind. Put yourself on the path to faster healing today by putting your mind to good use!