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  • Dr. John Bohlmann, N.D.

The most important step in recovery

Despite the major advances in medicine today, there are no magic pills promising and delivering transformation from illness into wellness. There is, however, a growing pool of evidence pointing toward diet, digestion and lifestyle modifications as supportive of health optimization or what naturopathic doctors call "a return to health". Even these don't hold the power of "the most important step in recovery", which is aligning your mind with healing.

What does it mean to 'align your mind with healing'?

It may be hard to believe, but healing (or remaining ill) actually begins with how you think about your health. That's right, your thoughts can change the course of your health!

Most of the time this happens on the subconscious level; however, the closer attention you give to your thoughts the more conscious you'll become about their connection to your physical body.

One of the things I love most about practicing naturopathic medicine is the opportunity to work with individuals holistically and often we discuss the topics of emotional and mental health and how they play into physical health. This is not new information to practitioners such as counselors, intuitive healers, monks, shaman and clergy. It just isn't being given the importance in medicine that I believe it deserves, so I'm going to share some of the insights I have gained over the years regarding the subject.

To begin consciously aligning your mind with healing, you must first be willing to ask a critical question of yourself:

What purpose does my current health status serve? Stated in the affirmative, what good is this "condition" to me?

If you dig deep into this question, you can determine if you're ready for a different experience.

An example most people can grasp is when you've taken on a large task which requires long hours of effort to complete by the given deadline. You push yourself to get it done, and at the end of it all you come down with a head cold or the flu. The illness may require you to lie in bed for days to recover. The purpose of such an illness could be to give you much needed rest or even to draw attention to the imbalance in work vs. rest (esp. if this is a regular pattern). When asked in the face of a more chronic condition, it can be more challenging to bring to the answers to conscious awareness. Hypnosis, meditation and dream analysis can be helpful tools in this first step.

Once you believe you know the purpose of your condition, you can contemplate the next step in aligning your mind with healing,

determining if you would like things to change, and to what.

This step can be more challenging than the first because it requires you to take a broader perspective on life. It also requires you to project yourself and other people/relationships into the future. You will begin to realize that when you heal, everyone close to you must heal with you (or at minimum accept that you are changing). Within this step you need to ask yourself what will be different because you are well and how you will use your newly recovered health. There must be a purpose for health just as there is a purpose for illness and you need to be consciously aware of it!

Now that you are aware of the purpose for your illness and health you can begin the final step in aligning your mind with healing:

replacing the illness mindset with one of health.

This means creating an affirmation, positive mental image or healing mantra to replace the mental chatter that may be keeping you locked in your current condition.

Author Louise Hay became very popular in the self-help culture with her list of healing affirmations. You might want to check out her book, "Heal Your Body" for help creating an affirmation.

The point is to catch yourself in negative thinking (doubt, fear, anger, remorse) and quickly change the thought to one that affirms your recovery. This will form the basis of actions you take on the path to recovery. Regardless of the timeframe or relative "seriousness" of your current condition this step must be done.

When you've been dealing with a condition for longer than a few months, it's easy to get accustomed to the changes you have experienced in your body. Compounding this is the fact that others around you have grown accustomed to your changes as well. If your illness is serving a purpose for someone close to you, it may be hard to get them on board with your healing and you may meet with resistance from this person. You may even feel resistance from yourself! The important thing is to be consistent and persistent.

The good news is that as you work through this step, you can begin to see real changes! Plus, it is actually fun to get focused on something positive for a change! Just keep your eyes open for the help coming your way, so you'll know when to act! I think you'll be amazed at how the world opens its doors to help you realize the change you desire!

If you've got something going on in your life right now that you'd like to change, why not give this process a try and see what comes of it? At the very least you're going to learn something important about yourself, and that is always worthwhile!

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