A dear friend reminded me of the importance the mind has on the physical body’s health. When your thinking is contaminated with stressful thoughts, that stress can come out in many different ways and manifest in your body. Your immune system may be weakened and unable to fight off infections. You may not be able to sleep with the thoughts churning in your mind. When you do not have a way to deal with those thoughts, the only alternative is to find a way to escape from them. Maybe it’s with eating to numb the mind, turning to drugs or alcohol, escaping from the pain with prescription medications (narcotics, antidepressants, etc.), sex, smoking, watching TV, too much exercise or not enough exercise. These addictions, where you turn to escape from the pain, may eventually lead to obesity, heart disease, cancer, dependence on drugs and alcohol and the list goes on and on.
If you had to choose, would you rather have a healthy body or a healthy mind? As Byron Katie says, “I hope you chose mind because bodies don’t make it.” Heal your mind and notice if the body follows. Start by just noticing what thoughts you are having in the moments before you turn to your escape, whatever that is for you.
“I’m not good enough.” “My body shouldn’t be hurting.” “I am alone.” “I’m too fat.” “I have too much to do.”
If we are honest, we all have them…just notice.
Brooke Uptagrafft, MD
Dr. Brooke is a family medicine doctor.