By Eric Deeter
Your thoughts and words can help your body heal. On the other hand, they can also slow down and hinder your recovery. The good news is that you can choose your thoughts and your words to help your body heal.
If you are a runner, the odds are not in your favor when it comes to injuries. Some reports say that up to 85% of all runners will have some kind of running-related injury in a typical year. Get a group of runners together, and odds are that one or two are recovering from an injury. And we runners hate it when an injury keeps us on the couch. So we tend to stress, worry, and complain about how terrible life is since we can’t be out running.
My plea to everyone is to stop it! Whether you are a runner or not, there’s good evidence that you’re better off speaking positive words about yourself vs. negative words.
Several years ago I had my grandkids do an experiment with bean seeds. We planted green bean seeds in three separate cups. They all got the same amount of water and sunshine. I had my grandkids talk to the seeds in two of the cups. The third cup was the control subject. The first cup they spoke critical words to. The second cup they spoke positive words to. And the third cup they ignored.
The beans sprouted about the same time in all three cups. The bean sprout in the first cup grew up a few inches then wilted. The bean sprout in the second cup grew so fast and tall the stem couldn’t support it. The bean sprout in the third cup grew like normal. I only watered the plants. My grandkids were the only ones speaking to them.
You can find examples of similar experiments showing the power of words and thoughts. Most of these were more tightly and scientifically controlled than the one I did. And if you study the power of the placebo effect in medical studies, you can’t deny that your mind can do more than affect bean sprouts.
So how do you harness the power of your mind to get a faster recovery? Here’s the method I use. I’m sure there are others, but I like to keep thing simple.
Step 1: Accept what has happened.
I know this may sound like taking a step backwards. But think about your typical reaction to an injury or sickness. Maybe you don’t use these exact words, but you probably say, “I don’t want this. I hate this!” Often, at least on a subconscious level, you reject what happened, push it away, and wish it had never happened. Resistance is a natural response, but the saying is true: What you resist will persist.
Acceptance puts you in a different mindset. This doesn’t mean that you’re accepting an injury or illness forever. It’s merely a nod of your head to what’s happened and what state your body is in right now. This lets you move on to . . .
Step 2: Expect your body to heal.
Your body is amazing. It’s constantly rebuilding and renewing itself. Just like the bean sprouts in my experiment, your body is at work to stay as healthy as it can. Every day thousands of cells are replaced in your body. Injuries heal. And your thoughts can help or hinder that process.
Focusing on an injury or illness with fear, worry, and complaining creates the same kind of situation as the bean sprout my grandchildren ridiculed and mocked.
On the other hand, expecting your body to do what it does gives it the same boost as the bean sprout they spoke encouraging words to.
Step 3: Connect a feeling of gratitude to your expectation.
Yes, you can generate a feeling of gratitude at will. If you struggle at first, go back to a time when you were deeply grateful for something. Replaying that event will bring up the gratitude again. Hold on to that feeling and switch your thoughts to your expectation for recovery.
There is a principle that what you focus on will increase and grow. Call it something spiritual or psychological, the fact is that it works. And it works whether you focus on pain or on healing.
There is a proverb that says,
“Life and death is in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat the fruit that comes.”
This proverb works on plants. I believe it works in the human body as well. Speak life to your body. I believe it will do your body good.