Welcome and thank you for joining me on my sixth post in my series, Meta-Moments. I have taken a bit of a hiatus the last couple of weeks for personal reasons, and I’ll be telling you more about that. However, today we’re going to be discussing the book Boundless. I talked about it a few episodes ago, but this chapter or part of the chapter is exciting because it connects very well to The Biology of Belief by Bruce Lipton, Ph.D. So, if you want to join with me, it’s in chapter 15, and it’s called “the Power of the Mind” on page 375. So, I’m going to go through some highlights about this chapter and how it’s helpful because of the power of the mind over the body and how it has a very powerful impact on your epigenetics and physical well-being.
There are over 150,000 different proteins that make up your body. And the shape of each protein can change because of electromagnetic fields. So, when it changes shape from one configuration to another, the protein molecule moves, as do all other protein molecules surrounding it. And they cooperate in a functional assembly called pathways. Pathways may involve respiratory, digestive, muscle contraction; these are just examples of proteins with coordinated movements with specific biological functions. Studies have shown that this change in the shape of proteins can change the expression of genes. Remember, the genes are the blueprint; they are not the signal. Thoughts and emotions generate electromagnetic fields, and since electromagnetic fields alter proteins, genes can be turned on and off by those same fields. That’s right. You can control gene activity by focusing on your beliefs. Pretty amazing.
Beliefs, whether they’re true or false, positive or negative, creative or destructive, they influence the very cells of your body. This means that the DNA does not control your biology itself. It’s the information that can be transmitted through your body to other people’s bodies and even to your descendants in ways other than through the base sequence of DNA. It means that the harnessing of the power of your mind can be just as effective or even more effective than pharmaceuticals, supplements, and bio-hacks. And your perception of your environment significantly affects your health. So, Brian Greenfield will talk a little bit about a story of emotions and cancer and how it can impact your experience if you do have cancer. Scientists at Yale University have discovered that the conditions for developing cancer can be significantly affected by your emotional environment, including everyday work and family stress. So, Western medicine is starting to catch up with Chinese medicine and researcher Sun Binyan who wrote in his book Cancer Treatment and Prevention, “According to our understanding of the tumor patient, most have suppression of the emotions. They tend to hold in their anger. Although some patients have good results after treatment, emotional stimulation may cause them to decline again, and then the previous treatment would have been in vain. Some people have a severe phobia about cancer. Before they know the real disease, they have a lot of suspicions. Once they know they have cancer, their whole spirit breaks down. This kind of spiritual state is very bad for the treatment.” Author and researcher Jia Kun gives ten recommendations for cancer prevention. In addition to having a good environment and personal hygiene, getting proper amounts of physical activity and rest, having good eating habits, and avoiding smoking, he states that “emotional changes, such as worry, fear, hesitation, anger, irritation, and nervousness, should be prevented. Mental exhaustion is harmful, and life should be enriched with entertainment.”
Furthermore, tumor-relevant lymphocyte subpopulations, also known as natural killer cells (NK cells), can attack cancer cells and have receptors for various neuropeptide proteins, including those released during stress; thus, there is a tremendous connection. This means that emotions can influence NK cell activity. And the level of NK cell activity has been shown in research to be an excellent predictor of breast cancer outcome. A loss of NK cell activity in cancer patients is correlated with increased patient stress levels, lack of social support, and fatigue or depression. So now I’m going to move on to some holistic healing strategies. Also, please keep a lookout for the blog post that precedes this one, for there, I will focus our discussion on spiritual strategies as well as holistic healing strategies. In this post, I will stick to only the holistic healing strategies, given that this is quite a lengthy chapter.
Literally translated as “life energy cultivation,” qigong is a system of coordinated body postures and movements, breathing, and meditation used in traditional Chinese culture to promote health and spirituality. It basically allows access to higher realms of awareness and awakens your true nature. Qigong typically coordinates slow, flowing movements with deep, rhythmic breathing and a calm, meditative state of mind.
Most of us know acupuncture to be used for pain processes; I certainly did. People also use acupuncture for infertility. I actually used it for infertility, and it worked! But in this case, it’s not only effective for treating pain it’s also for increasing the amount of qi, which is your life force energy – it flows through specific meridians in your body. So, what acupuncture can do in this case is it can cause a series of events within the central nervous system that results in the release of adenosine, and that may deactivate the fight-or-flight sympathetic nervous system. The fight-or-flight sympathetic nervous system is essentially the cortisol response or the stress response. So, you can actually influence the meridians, or the flow of energy, through the use of acupuncture and therefore be able to deactivate those fight-or-flight signals in your body, hence, destress.
This is a concept I have never used before, but I’m certainly going to try. It’s called tapping or emotional freedom technique (EFT). It is quite like acupuncture, but instead of using meridian points with needles, you use them by tapping on them with your fingertips. Wow! Tapping has been shown to provide relief from chronic pain, emotional problems, disorders, addictions, phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder, and chronic diseases. For example, research done at Harvard Medical School during the last decade found that the brain’s stress and fear responses, which are controlled by an almond-shaped part of your brain called the amygdala, can be downregulated by stimulating the meridian points. Other studies have shown tapping to reduce cortisol by up to 50%. Wow, that is incredible!
Here’s how tapping works: first, identify the problem and what you want to focus on. It can be general anxiety or a specific situation or issue that causes you to feel anxious. Then compose a setup statement acknowledging the problem you want to deal with, such as “I feel very anxious right now.” You then follow this statement with an affirmation of deeply and completely accepting yourself. For example:
- “Even though I feel this anxiety, I deeply and completely accept myself.”
- “Even though I’m anxious about my interview, I deeply and completely accept myself.”
- “Even though I’m feeling this anxiety about this relationship, I deeply and completely accept myself.”
- “Even though I’m having trouble sleeping, I deeply and completely accept myself.”
Then you begin tapping five to seven times in each of these locations, in order: on the outer edge of the hand, the eyebrows, the side of the eyes, under the eyes, under the nose, under the chin, under the collarbone, under the arm, and on top of the head. You then finish with a deep breath to clear the emotional dirt away.
The last quotation was a big one for me. I could have used that years ago when I was dealing with several sleep issues. Tapping seems to be a good practice to use on those nights where it’s just hard to fall asleep. I will try it, and it’s much better than using chemicals like Ambient (zolpidem).
My favorite mental/emotional healing practice is mindfulness meditation. I use mindfulness meditation any chance I get, and I consider this technique “exercise for your mind.”
If I offered you a pill that could increase your levels of stem cells; lengthen your telomeres; dissolve b-amyloid plaques in your brain; improve your memory and attention; boost serotonin; repair DNA; regulate inflammation; increase the strength of the immune system; repair skin, bone, cartilage, and muscle cells; increase growth hormone levels; and enhance the neural connections in your brain, would you take that pill? I know I would! But guess what? This priceless “pill” is free and backed by research. And guess what it is called? Mindfulness mediation! Yes! It’s doable. You don’t need to stick something in your mouth; you don’t need to buy anything. Begin by taking a seat in a comfortable place and pay attention to your breath. Once your attention begins to wander, which it will remember to refocus back to your breath. What follows is an excellent step-by-step guide on how to meditate. Truly, the steps for mindfulness meditations are this simple:
- Take a seat on the floor, the ground, a chair, a meditation cushion, a park bench, or anything else on which you can sit comfortably for 5 to 45 minutes.
- Straighten your upper body so that your head and shoulders comfortably rest on top of your vertebrae.
- Let your hands drop onto the tops of your legs and lightly rest on your thighs.
- Drop your chin a little and let your gaze fall gently downward. It helps to rest the tongue against the roof of the mouth gently. Your eyes can be open or closed. I prefer closed.
- If possible, breathe through your nose. Bring your attention to your breath and feel your breath (some say to follow your breath) as it goes in and out.
- Most likely, your attention will leave your breath and wonder. Don’t worry. There’s no need to try and stop this from happening. When you notice your mind wandering, don’t judge yourself or think you’re failing. Instead, just gently return your attention to the breath.
- Before making any physical adjustments, such as scratching an itch, pause for just a moment. Then, with intention, shift at a moment you choose. This creates space between what you experience and what you decide to do.
- When you’re ready, gently lift your gaze (if your eyes are closed, you can now open them). Take a relaxed, focused moment and notice any sounds in the environment, how your body feels, any thoughts and emotions you have. After you’ve paused, simply move on and continue with your day.
That’s it! It’s that easy.
Box breathing apparently happens to be a beneficial and effective method of breathing during meditation, and it helps you focus on your breathing. Basically, you count to four as you breathe in 1-2-3-4. And then you hold for four seconds: 1-2-3-4. Then you exhale as you count to four. Finish by holding your breath for one more count to four. So, 4-4-4-4, just remember to hold your breath in between.
To keep this blog post from being too long, I will expand on two more techniques, visualization and yoga, in a subsequent post. Nevertheless, here is just a quick introduction: Visualization is an excellent way to bring your attention to your mood; in fact, I use this is even during meditation. I visualize the most peaceful, the most extraordinary outcomes that I look for in life. The outcomes that give me chills, the ones that make me giddy. For instance, a situation that you have been wanting, a goal you have been wanting to achieve, a person you have been wanting to meet, or maybe a conversation that you were potentially dreading. How about you visualize the best-case scenario? How about you envision what you want it to be? And when you do, really feel the details: what it smells like, what your hair looks like, what you dress like, what other people around you are like. If you’re alone or with people, for that matter, what the environment is like and then even the wording. This in detail, vivid thoughts are critical in visualizing. I have had a lot of these come to fruition. It’s like creating your future in your head and then suddenly putting that energy out to your environment, that electromagnetic field if you will, and having it come right back at you. Like karma. Thanks for reading, and please leave a comment below!