Living Empowered by Stepping Outside of The Box
We like our labels. Labels are a shortcut to understanding. A quick assessment. But often we stop there, draw conclusions, and don’t look deeper.
Sometimes our labels become stereotypes or judgments, and sometimes they polarize us: Black. White. Republican. Democrat. Conservative. Liberal. Religious. Atheist. Union. Management. Sometimes they lead to misunderstanding or incomplete learning.
What about how we label our health conditions? Flu, Cold, Arthritis, Diabetes, Cancer. Depression. Whether we receive the diagnosis or label from a physician, a friend with similar symptoms, or the Internet, we’re often relieved to have a place to focus, a place to start. That label or diagnosis identifies the next steps. Is it a trip to the doctor? Further testing that’s needed? What type of treatment should we consider? Or do we choose to do nothing and let it resolve on its own?
What we often don’t see is how labels can be limiting. We often stop at the first label or diagnosis received and quit looking for answers. For example, your physician has told you that you have a certain condition. You look it up on the Internet and you may notice there is a long list of symptoms. You briefly wonder if that could be your problem since you don’t have all those issues. As you read the list, however, you start thinking about things you hadn’t noticed before and begin to believe in the label/diagnosis and it may be worse than you thought! You glance at the prognosis and decide it may take years for the condition to resolve, or maybe it’s never going to go away! You lose hope. Over time, you begin to live your life like your condition.
Are you really your diagnosis, your label? You begin to stay at home, maybe even in bed. You cut yourself off from friends, because you don’t have the energy to go out. You decide you deserve comfort food which adds excess weight, then you don’t have the energy to exercise. It becomes a vicious circle, you start feeling worse and believe it’s because of your “condition” not realizing much could be related to your actions or lack of action and the way you are thinking about it. You don’t realize you may be able to reverse the diagnosis with some help.
Understanding the connection between the mind and the body is a powerful way to the overcome limitations of a label. Our beliefs and thoughts affect our body at the quantum level. Scientific discoveries about the biochemical effects of the brain’s functioning show that all the cells of your body are affected by your thoughts. Bruce H. Lipton, Ph.D., a renowned cell biologist, wrote a book about it in The Biology of Belief. You can change your consciousness, your thoughts and beliefs, and change how your body feels and reacts.
Our body can be our greatest teacher if we pay attention. Like warning lights in our car that tell us to add air to a tire or change the oil, we need to address the small issues before they become big problems. Believing in the power of the mind, identifying the thoughts and beliefs that may lead to physical symptoms, then making changes in our thinking will lead to permanent healing. Concentration exercises can increase awareness, and help you to slow your mind to identify and control your thoughts. You can train your mind by reciting positive affirmations, setting productive intentions for daily activities, meditating, and visualizing what you want to create in your life. Using your breathing to center you in the present moment will help decrease worry and fear which exist in the past and future, and are out of your control. These and other mindfulness tools will help you go deeper to gain clarity in what you desire, to remain focused, and to address the cause beneath symptoms as they arise.
Remember that a label may be a good place to begin to get to know someone or, most importantly, yourself. Yet recognize you might not be getting all the information about a person, a situation, or your own health. Look beyond the labels, dig deeper to discover the whole truth!