Is Your Glass Half-Empty or Half-Full?
|Chiropractic Can Help Support a Positive Mental Attitude
It is very difficult to focus on the positive when you are in pain, especially if that pain is chronic. Headaches, back pain, and neck pain can often take the joy out of what potentially could have been a wonderful day. Even when we know, for example, how to center ourselves and focus on our breathing, physical pain can relentlessly monopolize our attention.
Chiropractic care can help to both alleviate the cycle of pain and restore normal function. By helping spinal joints work more effectively, chiropractic treatment eliminates many sources of chronic physical pain. A more normally functioning spinal column results in a more effectively functioning nerve system. All body systems improve and overall health and well-being increases. Chiropractic care is invaluable in helping us focus and regain our positive mental attitude, which is imperative for optimal health and well-being.
What is your overall view of the world you live in? Do you lean toward optimism or pessimism most of the time? Do you tend to expect everything to work out in your favor or are you just waiting for the next crisis? Our mental attitude determines how we interact with people and the events and circumstances of our lives. Our mental attitude also profoundly affects our health and well-being.
Plastic surgeon Maxwell Maltz wrote the groundbreaking book Psycho-Cybernetics more than 50 years ago, ushering in the self-help book genre and popularizing the idea that the subconscious mind is a goal-seeking mechanism that will do whatever it is programmed to do. According to Maltz, it is imperative that you visualize the successful completion of whatever goal you would like to achieve. As long as the instructions to your subconscious mind are clear, it will go to work manifesting that goal in your life.
Maltz was a scientist who supported this theory with decades of interactions with his patients. Over the years there have been a plethora of self-help gurus who have been preaching the same concepts for creating the life you want.
With regard to a person's health, having a positive attitude is critically important.1,2 For example, what is your internal response when a nearby co-worker spends the day sneezing and coughing? Do you automatically assume that you too will get sick, and then in fact do? Other people, when exposed to the exact same environment, do not. Perhaps the people that do not succumb to the cold or flu that is "going around" did not internalize the belief that they were being exposed to contagion. This may not always be the case, but it is possible. There has been mounting evidence that our thoughts influence our reality.
In the fascinating book The Holographic Universe
, the late Michael Talbot wrote quite a bit about the healing effect that the mind can have on the body, including the amazing case of a patient whose brain tumor "melted like a snowball on a hot stove"
. The patient, named Wright, had advanced cancer of the lymph nodes. He had exhausted all standard treatments and was not expected to live more than a few more days. Wright read about a new drug that he believed might offer him a cure, and though his doctors thought it was hopeless, they gave it to him anyway. Within days his tumor had "melted" to half its original size and Wright was pronounced cancer free ten days later. Wright remained cancer free for two months until this scientific minded patient began to read that his miracle drug was proven to have no effect on the type of cancer he had. As a result, Wright became depressed, suffered a relapse and was readmitted to the hospital. This time his physician decided upon an elaborate ruse, injecting Wright with plain water while convincing him that it was in fact a much more potent version of the drug that had cured him the first time. The effect of the placebo was once again very dramatic as his tumor melted away for the second time and his symptoms disappeared. His restored health lasted two months until the AMA published the results of a study reporting definitively that the drug Wright thought he had been given was worthless against cancer. Sadly, this shattered Wright's belief in his placebo - his cancer returned and he died two days later.3
So how can we cultivate an unwavering belief in our body's ability to be healthy? Is it as simple as just thinking happy thoughts all day long? Probably not. But it is important to remember that maintaining a positive attitude is very important. If we have a tendency to look at the glass as half-full rather than half-empty, we will probably have a more successful, productive and satisfying day. If we tend to think of ourselves as vibrantly healthy and invulnerable to the colds and flu that other people participate in, we will probably be more likely to remain immune. And, even better, our subconscious mind will build on those successes, helping to create even more health, happiness, success, personal growth and well-being.
1Matsunaga M, et al: Association between perceived happiness levels and peripheral circulating pro-inflammatory cytokine levels in middle-aged adults in Japan. Neuro Endocrinol Lett August 5, 2011 (Epub ahead of print)
2Layous K, et al: Delivering happiness: translating positive psychology intervention research for treating major and minor depressive disorders. J Altern Complement Med 17(8):675-683, 2011
3Talbot, Michael. The Holographic Universe. New York, NY: HarperCollins, 1991. Print.