Belief, Meaning & Purpose.
Our beliefs and expectations have everything to do with healing and wellness. Without finding meaning and purpose in our lives, the path towards self-healing may not be possible – regardless of medicine or surgery. One must have a strong belief in oneself in order to learn new ways of coping with pain and agony. Without belief, meaning and purpose in our lives, it becomes nearly impossible to resolve our pain or relieve our suffering.
If you have lost faith in yourself and can’t imagine the possibility of getting better, our expectation is you’ll be able to find some inspiration to help boost your morale and give you a sense of hope somewhere within the pages of TheBodyIsMind.com website. The Ultimate Healing Guide takes a completely different approach than almost anything else you’ll find online today.
We include the concepts of belief, meaning, and purpose as a fundamental piece of the self-healing formula throughout the articles on the site, but especially in this section.
While the subjects of belief, meaning and purpose would seem a formidable challenge to summarize in such a brief article, we will focus on how these subjects relate specifically to The Self-Healing Path as published by Shiela Pennington, PhD. in her book, Healing Yourself: Understanding How The MIND Can Heal Your BODY.
Sheila worked with folks who had lived at least three years past a terminal diagnosis to discover what kept them alive. The results culminated in the book she published way back in 1988. The healing path will be no different today because everyone who is delivered a death sentence by their doctor goes through these same steps regardless of the era.
The lessons learned from terminally ill folks who managed to delay a visit from the grim reaper can apply to anyone with a severe or long-term chronic health issue. Most folks who are struggling against extreme pain, anxiety, and PTSD conditions face a decision every day: to give in to the suffering and accept defeat, or to fight against the pain to live another day. It was discovered that the ingredients missing in the lives of the people who give up against their fight for life are belief, meaning, and purpose. Drugs do not restore these things, because they come from within.
Any industry which would take advantage of your situation and have you believe there’s a “magic bullet” that will solve your pain and suffering without taking into consideration the restoration of your self-awareness is selling you snake oil. Recovery without a restoration of belief, meaning and purpose may not be possible.
Unequivocally, those faced with a terminal diagnosis are forced to confront their greatest fears in a way which rapidly puts life into a new perspective. Those who fight to live longer than anyone anticipated obviously find a way to make life worth living. The same principles used by cancer survivors can be applied by anyone to assume full responsibility for their health and take command of their situation no matter how grave the circumstances may seem.
Inevitably, finding belief in yourself, meaning in your life, and a purpose for living involve self-work and psychological processes. There appears to be little anyone can change about their situation until they recover these missing ingredients.
So where do we start?
The concepts presented on this website go far beyond medicine and firmly into the realm of: how much of yourself can you actually put up with? Aren’t you tired of hating yourself? Haven’t you been running away from your problems for long enough? Isn’t it about time you turn around and face the things you fear the most?
It’s time to increase your self-awareness and take some responsibility for your health if you have any chance of getting well. It’s the things we’re constantly running from which pursue us with a vengeance, and we need to take some time to start caring about the way we’re treating ourselves. We treat ourselves like garbage, both in our minds and with a general lack of self-care and reliance upon physical dependencies – which we’re hypocrites about!
People aren’t lying when they talk about how our thoughts have an impact upon our health. If anything, our pop culture has been down-playing the role of the human spirit in our profit-driven healthcare system.
It’s time to find out what is available to you outside the traditional healthcare system and to do so with an open mind.
Before you can find meaning, you may first need to learn other skills such as self-compassion, self-forgiveness, and gratitude for your life and circumstances. It might mean finding love for oneself again, and a good place to start there is by learning how to reconnect with The Power of The Heart. There’s a strong case few could argue that our heart is our source of life. Learning self-compassion will play a huge role in your recovery.
Tapping into the power of life by looking inward is exactly what is required to rekindle any meaning for ourselves; it is a vital segment of the journey to find self. Ultimately, the journey to find health is the journey to find self. When we feel lost, we’re disconnected from the power of our heart. In general, we’re probably disconnected from our body and our emotions altogether, especially if we’re dosing medications.
Here’s an understatement: it’s not easy when you’re down in the dumps to find meaning or reasons to be motivated. There are many causes for why people experience chronic depression, feelings of remorse, and self-hatred. Usually, it involves an inability to become unstuck from a traumatic experience.
“Many traumatized people simply give up. Rather than risk experimenting with new options they stay in the fear they know.” – from The Body Keeps The Score, a book by Bessel Van Der Kolk, M.D.
Thus, the release of trauma must become a priority for anyone who is suffering to such a degree that their ability to accomplish anything or change anything about their lives has been compromised. Trauma can be released with tissue massage, clinical therapy, floatation therapy, Yoga, and dozens of other modalities as listed in The Ultimate Healing Guide. The help we need requires a more than a pill; it means we need help from others, and medical doctors are not the only folks who can help us heal – far from it!
For people with trauma, without getting the help one needs from a therapist, it’s nearly impossible to get our mind out of the sewer of dark thoughts and find enough self-compassion that we’ll actually do the work to take care of ourselves properly. How can we worry about managing our life if we can’t even take care of ourselves? That’s a difficult question to answer.
There are plenty of self-help books on the market, but none of them can help if you don’t read. And most of the self-help books probably don’t apply to your specific situation. This is where TheBodyIsMind.com website can help because we research books on your behalf and provide reviews or summaries of the best ones at the end of each article on the website. Every little nugget of truth can help provide you with some hope.
Want to stay strong as you age?
In order for us to have the fortitude, the strength, the determination to change our lives, we must first find the reasons for our existence. There are many ways to do this, but the easiest method includes just getting into the habit of asking yourself questions every day which will help you find the answers. Our subconscious minds have a way of providing the solutions we need, if only we have the courage to ask.
Finding meaning in your life may include asking yourself questions like these:
Self-reflection is one way to discover belief, meaning, and purpose. It’s a powerful method which doesn’t require any expense except your time and effort. If you’re in dire straights with chronic illness, there’s no reason you should discount anything which might serve to help your situation. Become more introspective and you’ll certainly find the answers to your questions.
Besides, you won’t get the answers you’re looking for from any book as much as you will get them from your own mind, heart, or gut. You really don’t need to read anything except perhaps to find some inspiration, because meaning must come from within, not without. This article and the books we encourage you to read can only persuade you to change your mind about your outlook on life, but the real change that needs to happen in your life can only come from you.
Unfortunately, making change isn’t as easy as deciding to change if we’ve lost hope. This can appear to be the most disappointing part about such a journey: that we’re pretty much on our own. If we allow our minds to be swamped by shame, blame, and regret, it’s going to make life miserable. Likewise, if we turn our eyes upwards and look for the answers we need, we’re likely to find what we’re looking for. Never give up!
Life normally keeps us so busy that we don’t have the time we need to take care of ourselves, especially when we own a home and have children. Our lifestyles have us running around from the time we get up until it’s time to go to bed, leaving little space for attention to details like our health. The sheer number of things we need to do to maintain balance in our lives is almost impossible to keep up with. There’s just too much to do.
Factor chronic illness into the mix and there’s rarely enough time in a day to cope with everything, particularly if we’re working a full-time job. When the severity of our chronic pain is bad enough, perhaps working full-time is no longer even possible. For some folks on the extreme of the pain spectrum, it’s everything we can do just to hold ourselves together.
Pain holds our attention, and it seems as though the amount of attention we have for the outside world is inversely proportional to our level of pain. On a scale from 1 to 10, if we gauge our pain to be at a 7, this implies that 70% of our attention is consumed with pain, leaving only 30% of our attention for everything going on around us. Thus when pain ramps up, our self-awareness is proportionately reduced.
Can You Lengthen Your Life? Researchers Explore How To Stay Healthy Longer
As our self-awareness becomes reduced, we’re forced to focus more on our pain. When this happens, there’s a chain of events which contributes to our anxiety, depression, and a sense of worthlessness. Once belief in ourselves is diminished we start to feel we’ve lost control of our lives. When we feel this way for long enough, a sense of hopelessness and despair start to set in.
If we turn to drugs and alcohol to deal with this sense of hopelessness, there’s a good chance we’ll add a dependency to the list of things which contribute to our suffering. If our body holds unresolved trauma from childhood, an accident or wartime events, the dark pit of despair is like a black hole sucking us into an accelerating spiral towards death. Our bodies start to scream at us in crippling pain.
Being stuck in a seemingly hopeless battle against our pain and suffering, we withdraw from life, disconnect from others, and become a social recluse. When the balance is tipped this far out of our favor, it can seem frightening how little control we have over anything. By the time we reach this stage, we lose faith in ourselves and recovery seems impossible. To imagine finding meaning or purpose in our lives seems out the question.
Once we’re stuck in this kind of a negative feedback loop, life no longer makes sense thus we lose the sense of who we are and it’s a horrible way to live. We need help, but the kind of help we get from drugs, alcohol, or surgery is rarely the kind of help we need. These things only seem to help accelerate our decline.
Somehow, some way, we must figure out how to rekindle our human spirit, the flame within. We need to learn how to tap into the unseen inner strength that we all have within every cell of our bodies. We absolutely have the ability to heal ourselves, and it all starts in the mind. It starts in our mind by changing the way we think about ourselves. There’s a mountain of evidence that points to the fact how we think about ourselves has everything to do with our longevity and health.
Of course, it’s obviously not as easy as just deciding to change. Having someone tell you that you should eat better and exercise more is ludicrous when you’re feeling despair or are overcome with a bout of depression; however, the way we feel about ourselves, how we treat our body, what we put into our mouths, how much activity we get, and how strongly we believe in ourselves on any one day – these things are all interrelated.
What if the path to a longer, healthier life does not lie at the gym or in the fridge at all? Researchers say the key to longevity may be simpler than we think. People with a greater sense of purpose tend to engage in healthier behaviors, ranging from eating their veggie to flossing their teeth.
The Real Secrets to a Longer Life. Psychologist Howard S. Friedman, PhD, says that eating vegetables and going to the gym are not as important to our long-term health as having a rich, productive life.
The Heartmath Institute out of Boulder, Colorado, did some research to discover the effects of emotions upon cells. They discovered that when folks are feeling negative emotions such as anger, stress, or anxiety, the DNA strands in cells contracts or shrinks. And when cells were exposed to positive emotions such as love, gratitude, and joy, DNA strands lengthened and expanded.
This could mean that when you’re feeling tension and stress, your body is quite literally contracting at the cellular level. When you’re feeling emotions, every cell in your body is feeling that emotion. The implications for this means that it is our emotions, and not just our thoughts, which trigger our body’s stress response. According to HeartMath.org, “emotions trigger the autonomic nervous system and, in turn, trigger stress hormones that cause many harmful effects on the brain and body.”
Researchers at Yale University found that stress literally shrinks your brain in the areas responsible for self-control.
So the next time someone tells you to “think positive thoughts,” or to just “be happy,” you’ll know that just thought alone isn’t necessarily enough to change anything. The easiest way to achieve this is to contact a memory of something for which you’re grateful. Since thought and emotions are two different but interrelated things, you need to direct your attention to a place in your mind where the happy emotions live.
We’re not going to be making changes in our bodies at the cellular level unless we can feel our emotions. When we’re overwhelmed with stress, pain, and anxiety, what we’re feeling quite literally hurts!
The most powerful methods to learn control of your autonomous nervous system, and thereby learn how to override the stress patterns, include Floatation Therapy and Cold Therapy. Be sure to take a look at those modalities here in The Ultimate Healing Guide. Both are very aggressive methods to effect changes upon your body and consciousness.
Emotions are powerful energy. “Since emotions – in and of themselves – are a powerful energy, it takes an equally powerful energy to transform them. Research in the neurosciences has made it quite clear that emotional processes operate at a much higher speed than thoughts because they frequently bypass the mind’s entire linear reasoning process. Thus activation of positive emotions plays a critical role in breaking the stress cycle and effectively transforming stress at its source.” HeartMath.org.
Floatation is practically effortless and relieves stress, anxiety, tension, and pain. Floating in Epsom salts is good for your body, and you may even experience lucid dreaming while floating. This is a powerful method by which to wind down the mind and calm the body simultaneously. Plus, the sensory-deprivation aspect of floating means your brain and consciousness can work on self-healing instead of processing perception.
Cold Therapy puts you into a position where you are forced to confront your fight-or-flight response system and consciously override it. This practice helps to develop mental resilience to stand and face your fears rather than running away. The best way to ease into full-body cold submersion is to start with cold showers. If you can learn to withstand the cold, you’ll start to develop strong bodymind control.
You can learn to master your mind with forms of meditation and mindfulness, and with enough practice, you’ll be able to muster a calmness and wind down your mind when you need it most. Meditation shouldn’t be something which scares you off; it’s really about coming to terms with controlling your mind and thoughts so that you have more control of your life. There are many ways to enter into meditation, including sound therapy and hobbies; it’s not just about sitting in Lotus position as much as simply learning mental discipline.
So while positive thinking is definitely the direction you want to go, what’s even more important is reconnecting with your body and learning a bit of self-mastery in order to overcome the worst of your chronic pain and suffering. You cannot expect to continue the same habits and routines you’ve been doing if you want to get better. You need to learn control of your emotions, not just your thoughts.
You are absolutely going to need to find a way to crack the shell of your crushing sense of doom one way or another before any changes will start happening. The way to make this happen is by doing something drastically different and learning to feel something drastically different. Cold water will make you feel something different, guaranteed! If cold water scares you, then go try floatation!
The key to healthy aging is to engage fully in life—mentally, physically, and socially.
Obviously, good sleep, stress reduction, and connection to a community of like-minded individuals all help contribute towards a better life for everyone regardless of whether they have chronic pain issues. However, if you do have chronic pain issues and you’re not getting good sleep, your stress is overwhelming, and you’re completely disconnected from society, then you’re going to have to find the guts to make these changes.
Just don’t expect to be able to make any change at all until you first 1) deal with the reestablishment of faith in your ability to get well, 2) struggle to find meaning in your life and don’t give up until you do, and 3) discover a new purpose for living. Until you can answer the question, “Why am I here?” then you may never take responsibility for your health or make the changes in your life which you so desperately need. Find belief, meaning, and purpose, and you will find yourself.
The spark of life resides within you. Only by finding ways to reignite your passion, curiosity, interest, zeal, and spirit for life will you discover a path away from your agony and suffering. Your pain may never go away, but it doesn’t have to steal 100 percent of your enjoyment for life.
You will find a way. Just keep looking until you do! By gradually but persistently chipping away at every angle (self, body, and mind, plus belief, meaning, and purpose), you will make progress on your healing path and eventually restore a sense of self. When you find direction in life and no longer feel lost, you’ll regain a sense of joy and fulfillment that would not otherwise be possible with drug dependency alone.
Finding belief, meaning, and purpose in our lives means we need to learn better control of what happens inside our body and mind; it means we need to develop a relationship with our body, separate ourselves from the mind, and find our true self. Ignore this journey at your own peril.
Find something to believe in, anything! How about start with you. IN MOST CASES, a reduction of pain and suffering is possible – and without extreme measures. There are 101+ other things you could be trying before you give up hope.
In Dr. Jonathan Kuttner & Naomi Kuttner’s book, Life After Pain: Break Free of Chronic Pain and Get Your Life Back, the authors quote Victor Frankl, “a Jewish psychiatrist who interred in a Nazi concentration camp during WWII. He observed that people who could not find meaning in their suffering soon died. Victor said, ‘If there is meaning in life at all, then there must be meaning in suffering.’ ”
However, all of this is entirely up to you – not your doctor.
We suggest you first find your starting position on The Self-Healing Path, then explore and discover something new on this website which helps inspire you to cast your gaze upwards and imagine good things for yourself. Here are some resources to start you out.
The Quick Coherence® Technique for Adults
Easily create a state of coherence (the quality of forming a unified whole) in about 60 seconds by releasing stress and stopping draining emotions such as frustration, irritation, anxiety, and anger. When you are in a coherent state, your thoughts and emotions are balanced and you experience ease and inner harmony. Another word for inner harmony that might sound even more appealing is tranquility. Bring yourself some tranquility.
Unlocking the healing power of YOU
The Role of Belief In Healing
Spirituality and Religion in Pain and Pain Management
Inside Stressing Out: What works and what doesn’t in the face of stress
The weird power of the placebo effect, explained. Yes, the placebo effect is all in your mind. And it’s real.
Harvard Health Publishing – The Power of the Placebo Effect: Treating yourself with your mind is possible, but there is more to it than positive thinking.
National Institutes of Health – Placebo Effect
Blue Zones – Places In the World Where People Live to 100 and Stay Healthy
Healing, Hope & Guidance for the Warrior’s Spirit from Britta Reque-Dragicevic
Real Love: The Art of Mindful Connection
Hardcover – June 6, 2017
by Sharon Salzberg (Author)
A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose
Paperback – January 30, 2008
by Eckhart Tolle (Author)
Living in a Mindful Universe: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Heart of Consciousness
Paperback – October 17, 2017
by Eben Alexander (Author), Karen Newell (Author)
The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A Toltec Wisdom Book)
Paperback – November 7, 1997
by Don Miguel Ruiz (Author)
Paperback – 25th Anniversary Edition – April 15, 2014
by Paulo Coelho (Author)
Finding Purpose in a Godless World: Why We Care Even If the Universe Doesn’t
Hardcover – July 17, 2018
by Ralph Lewis (Author), Michael Shermer (Foreword)
Fear-Less Now: A Manual for Healing and Self-Empowerment in a World of Crisis
Paperback – May 29, 2012
by Ph.D Ingrid Bacci (Author)
Life Force: The Creative Process in Man and in Nature
Paperback – November 13, 2004
by Charles R. Kelley (Author)
Healing Yourself Understanding How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body
Paperback – April 1, 2006
by Sheila Pennington (Author)
Finding Purpose Beyond Our Pain: Uncover the Hidden Potential in Life’s Most Common Struggles
Audiobook – October 15, 2009
David Livingstone, MD (Author), HendersonPaul Meier, MD (Author)