Thursday, 27 December 2012


What is mindfulness?

It is said that everyone participates in their health or illness at all times.   We create our health & wellbeing through our beliefs, feelings and attitude towards life.  This is how placebos are so effective, because of the recipient’s belief in the treatment.  Ellen Langer has found through her studies and experiments that when we pay attention, are mindful, we have better control over our health and wellbeing.

In days gone by when someone was ailing it was said they had a dis-ease of the mind.  The mind and body was treated as one and it was believed that we needed to remain balanced to remain healthy.

Over time the mind and body began to be treated separately; and now we are again just beginning to realize that they affect each other.  By putting the mind and body back together again wherever the mind goes the body will follow.  If the mind is in a truly healthy place then the body will be as well; and we can change our physical health by changing our mind.
Some of you may be asking how can the mind influence the body.
Research has shown that our wellbeing is connected to our mindset.  The Simontons and Bernie Siegel working with Cancer patients found that those who were the most positive survived against medical science’s predictions; and Bruce Liptons work investigating how we are who we are because of our environment and that our beliefs can change our genetic blueprint.
In tests in 1975 investigating how our thoughts affected our health, a group of retired people in the USA were asked to look at the following statements and asked to respond whether they thought they were true or false.
         Things get worse as I get older
         As you get older you are less useful and
I am as happy now as I was when I was younger
In 1995 the same participants were reviewed and it was found that those who were positive about getting older lived much longer healthier lives.
We strive to be healthy, yet do we really know what this is. 
What is being healthy?  You could say it is a medical phenomenon.  Medical science has a view on what good health is and they are ready to give us pills and potions to help us achieve this. 
I believe that we have reached a time in our history when we over medicate.  It seems that most 50+ people are taking medication for something – to lower blood pressure, cholesterol, to help them sleep, to make them happier ………..
Reminds me of the Rolling Stones song from the 60’s
“What a drag it is getting old.

Things are different today,
I hear every mother say
Cooking fresh food for a husband's just a drag
So she buys an instant cake and she buys a frozen steak
And goes running for the shelter of her mother's little helper
And to help her on her way, get her through her busy day.

Doctor, please, some more of these
Outside the door, she took four more
What a drag it is getting old.

Life's just much too hard today,"
I hear every mother say
The pursuit of happiness just seems a bore
And if you take some more of those, you will get an overdose
No more running for the shelter of a mother's little helper
They just helped you on your way through your busy dying day”.
When we pay attention to what is happening around us, to what people are telling us we can make up our own minds as to what we believe and how we will respond.  By looking at our lives, our health in this way you can not only control your experience of any dis-ease but also affect your recovery as has been shown by various research projects.
Ellen Langer completed a study to find out the effects of our thoughts on cancer survivors, her findings were much the same as those from the Simontons and Bernie Seigel.  Those who had surgery were asked if they thought of themselves as being in remission or cured?  Those who believed that they were cured were healthier, more energetic, and much happier in themselves.  Those who thought of themselves as being in remission had pains, were depressed, lethargic and expecting the disease to come back.
How you think of yourself is of paramount importance.  If someone has a headache they take an aspirin and the headache goes away and they feel better; yet if someone is depressed they take anti depressants and even if they feel better they still say they are depressed.
When we take in information without considering all the options, looking at the situation from different view points we are being mindless and tend to make a commitment to that information accepting it and acting as if it is true.
For example, many of my clients come to see me because they want to conceive; they have been told by various specialists that they are infertile.  The meaning of being infertile is someone who is unable to reproduce.  Many take on this identity, they decide they need medical science to help them as there is something wrong with them.  Most come to see me for assistance whilst they are going through IVF, many then conceive naturally.  Some of these after having been told that they would never be able to conceive naturally.
Ironically once labeled infertile this generally leads to depression and stress; both of these being known to lower fertility levels.
Our health is complex and there are always stories of the medical profession getting things wrong.  One story that brings a smile to my face is when a doctors prescription to treat someones earache was misunderstood.  The doctor at the hospital wrote administer in R ear and the nurse read this as rear and inserted the medication in the patients bottom.  Now that’s what I call being mindless.
Isn’t it time to question the dichotomy of health versus sick?  And to realize that health isn’t just an absent of illness.
On January 26th and 27th learn how the mind body connection really works and how to influence it in ways to achieve good health. Steve Crabb and I will be exploring and experimenting with being mindfull v’s mindless, beliefs, the placebo effect, technologies used to effect healing. Whether working with someone with skin conditions, fertility problems, and allergic responses or with cancer you will learn how to provide a service that will give them hope.  

Check out to book on line and for more details.