It’s Not Just About the Food

Sugar Plum FairiesLast weekend I had the opportunity to attend Healing Journey’s cancer convention and see some incredible speakers share their wisdom and knowledge about cancer and healing.  Guest speakers included Marianne Williamson; Jonathan Ellerby, PhD; Kelly Turner, PhD; and Lise Alschuler, ND.  While the focus was on cancer, most of the info shared could be applied to any healing strategy.

The most common theme amongst the speakers was finding one’s truth, one’s spirituality, and putting it into practice.  To clarify, this means deepening your spiritual experience, not just your beliefs.  And the easiest place to start is with simply being grateful.

The level of gratitude in your life affects your attitude, and consequently the physiological state of your body.  Think about the physiology that occurs when you are sad — specific hormones are activated, which in turn can produce tears and/or physical feelings of lethargy.  When you are angry you may shake or tremble.  When you are scared the “fight or flight” response of the sympathetic nervous system is activated, enhancing muscle function and turning off digestion.  Your emotions affect the functioning of your hormones and in turn your cells, organs, and body as a whole.

IMG_20120908_122342According to Lise Alschuler, being grateful actually stabilizes your DNA, which allows for healthier gene expression, while pessimism leads to faster aging (shortens telomeres).  When you experience joy or increase positive emotions, you increase the Natural Killer cell activity, which provides a healing state for the immune system.  As Dr. Turner stated, this doesn’t mean you have to be happy all the time, but during times of fear and upset, learn to feel the emotions instead of holding on to them, and let them move through you.

While a sporadic practice of gratefulness and spirituality will produce some benefits, to experience its true healing powers one must practice on a consistent basis and with deep emotion.  Think about what you are truly grateful for and feel the sensation of appreciation in your body.  Maybe it brings a smile to your face, causes you to take a deep breath, or fills your chest and belly with warmth.  Create a daily practice by either journaling, spending some time in thankful silence, or sharing your moments of gratitude with a loved one.

Ready for more?  Stay tuned on how to define your spiritual personality, in next month’s content!

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