It seems everywhere you go these days, people are talking about Mind–Body Medicine. The cat is out of the bag: most physical illnesses have strong psychological and spiritual components, the habits and addictions caused by our unbalanced emotional lives are killing us, and no cure is complete without attending to the mental and emotional components.
The right food, the right exercise, the right medications, the right relationships - all these can help support your healing, but not unless you intentionally cause them to. Your conscious mind is the key.
A very valuable tool for self-healing is guided Imagery. This process involves holding specific healing imagery in the mind while in the receptive "Healing State." This results in relief of stress, and the activation of your unconscious healing. In a very real sense, with guided imagery you are "reprogramming" your mind and rewiring your brain. Your goal is to restore internal balance, and thus to help heal your body, emotion, mind and behavior.
These new behaviors are key for modifying how the internal organs of your body operate, how you talk to yourself, your personal habits, how you interact with others, etc. Other modalities of rebalancing the system may be needed (diet, exercise, rest...), but all these require us to change our mental behavior in order to apply them in our lives. Change Your Mind – Change Your Life.
The Six Steps of Self-Healing
1. Education — Obtain as much accurate information as possible about health and healing. Learn as much about your constitution and about your condition, the symptoms, etiology, and therapy, including the role of stress, diet, emotions and exercise. Learn about the different options for treating your condition.
2. Relaxation — Deep Relaxation is essential for rapid healing because it is the direct antidote to stress. In addition, relaxation empties your mind of distractions, and thus allows you to self-program new, more desirable healing behaviors — both at the visible (macroscopic) level, and in the microscopic behavior of the cells of your body. It is also the key to programming mind and body for peak performance in any endeavor — sports, profession, or personal life (yes, even sexual).
3. Entering "The Healing State" — Here the mind is open to re-scripting and the body accepts new healthy images and emotions. Re-scripting is a powerful way to mentally rehearse desired behaviors of the mind and body, much as athletes or actors mentally rehearse their performances. Guided imagery can teach you to do this through simple, logical, straightforward, and highly enjoyable experiences. The experience and your ability to use the Healing State becomes progressively more powerful with a few minutes a day of pleasurable practice.
4. Forming Powerful, Transformative, Healing Images—Intentional mental imagery through Selective Awareness — Software For The Mind — allows you to make a commitment to healing by directly influencing the behavior of your immune system, initiating and sustaining healthy lifestyle choices, and producing a strong and radiant self-image. This inner image serves to change your behaviors at every level of the mind-body system.
5. Rehearsing These Images Daily — Reprogramming your mind is actually retraining the mind. Just as you might practice musical scales or typing in order to improve, the regular practice of the appropriate imagery trains the brain, the nervous system, and the immune system to easily carry out the desired changes. Your goal is to restore internal coherence and balance and thus to help heal the body, emotion, mind, and behavior.
6. Reinforcing Positive Changes—Reward your mind for responding to your entreaties so that the new behaviors prevail. Take yourself out for dinner, to a ball game, or a movie, for instance. Or take time off to be with loved ones.
Dr. Miller, author of "Deep Healing; The Essence of Mind-Body Medicine," practices in Nevada City. His books, Self-help audio and video programs are available at his entertaining and informative website, DrMiller.com. There, you will find his guided imagery and meditation programs, his free newsletter, and Free Resources for the wellness of Mind, Body, Emotions, and Spirit.