It is truly remarkable how
our thoughts, our stories, impact our well-being.
The stories we keep effect us on a deep emotional level.
These held emotions, if not releasesd,
will eventually be manifested by the body.
The power of a story
To explain the power of our thoughts on our body, I would like to share the story of Alice.
Alice has given me permission to do so in the hope that her story may make a difference to the well-being of another.
Alice is a care-provider in the true sense of the word.
Alice loves to help others whenever she can. And, as most care-providers she really doesn’t like it when others try to make a fuss over her.
She is most content when those around her are happy and Alice does her utmost to be a beakon of light, a beakon of hope, for those she encounters.
Problems arise, though, when Alice uses knee pain as an excuse to get out of social situations.
Instead of explaining how she is feeling or simply saying she is unable to attend, she makes an excuse. Alice tells her friends her knee is too sore and for that reason she is unable to attend.
The blue dye represents the story of the knee pain. The water represents the body.
Each time Alice uses knee pain as an excuse to get out of a social situation, her body aligns itself more fully with the belief that knee pain is associated with socializing.
Who is Alice?
Alice is 88 years old.
Her husband of 67 years passed away last fall.
Alice has good days and bad – she is still going through the grieving process.
Before the death of her husband, Alice loved going to lunch with friends.
After the death of her husband, Alice started to turn down lunch invitations.
In a candid conversation with Alice, she states she does not want to cry in public. She believes when her friends show their concern or ask how she is doing it may cause her to cry.
Alice states her mother’s words play over and over again in her head – This family does not air their emotions in public – We do not cry in public.
Our beliefs can unitentionally harm us.
This belief “the family does not cry in public”, which Alice holds near and dear to her heart, will unintentially cause her harm.
And so, Alice lies and tells her friends her knee is too painful – she can’t go out to lunch.
Friends being friends don’t want to take no for an answer. They are persistent and Alice finally agrees to a day and time she will meet her friends for lunch.
Because Alice has been running the story of her knee pain for so long, subconsciously Alice’s body truly believes that knee pain is associated with going to lunch.
The knee pain story is so dense within the body that it becomes the reality!
It is therefore no surprise at 5 am the day of the luncheon, Alice wakes up with excruciating knee pain. She cannot walk.
She calls an ambulance and instead of going to lunch she ends up spending the entire day in emergency.
X-rays are taken from every possible angle and nothing is found.
According to the Alice there are no visible signs of arthritis or any other disease state.
Alice insists, though, on something for the pain and she is prescribed anti-inflammatories.
Alice takes the anti-inflammatories. They make her nauseous and the pain remains.
After hearing Alice’s story, I ask Alice to consider the possibility the pain may be self-inflicted – caused by a combination of the stories she tells herself and the stress caused by the death of her husband.
Its never too late to rewrite the story.
Breathwork can be used to support any stressful situation!
Alice agrees to try some deep breathing exercises. She has nothing to lose and potentially a lot to gain if she is able to reduce her stress level.
Alice tries the deep breathing exercise and reports it is increasing the pain.
I ask Alice to put one hand on her chest and the other on her lower abdomen while she takes in a deep breath and to tell me which part of her body rises – her chest or her belly. She says it is her chest.
Alice is chest breathing which is stressing her body even more.
I ask if it possible for her to belly breath?
I explain when we belly breath, the in breath must travel all the down and into out lower belly. And, the exhalation must be longer and slower than the inhalation. Nothing should be forced. Nothing should be uncomfortable.
Relaxation and, by extension healing, can only occur when we transition the body from fight or flight to rest and digest.
That evening Alice gives the belly breathing another try.
Much to Alice’s surprise, the breathing exercise helps and the knee pain subsides.
After incorporating other relaxation techniques into her daily routine and focusing on positive self-talk, Alice’s stories/beliefs begin to shift.
Within a month, Alice’s knee pain is gone, as she no longer uses knee pain as an excuse when she doesn’t feel comfortable attending luncheons.
Instead of making up an excuse, Alice simply says “I’m busy this week, I’ll call you next week and let you know how the week is looking”
The stories we tell ourselves are so very extremely important.
A negative story, especially when repeated, can have serious consequences on our well-being!
Please, for the sake of your body and your health, keep your self-talk, the stories you tell yourself, positive.
Love yourself because your health truly does depend on it!