Can You Relate?
We have both had long, hellish journeys with complex, chronic health challenges. Because of this, we have first-hand experience with how difficult and overwhelming it is to cultivate a healthy mindset in the face of such immense struggles. We know just how maddening and despairing it can be to:
realize that conventional medicine has little to nothing to offer for resolving chronic health challenges
be invalidated and told that symptoms are all in our heads or perhaps all we need to do is exercise more
not receive the support we hoped for from friends, family, colleagues, and society - and thus feel very alone!
realize all the lifestyle changes that need to be made yet too damn tired, in pain, or unmotivated to make them
spend thousands upon thousands on countless different protocols with little to no success
lose jobs/careers, relationships, sense of identity, and confidence
be overwhelmed by the complexity of chronic illness and not know where to begin unraveling the web
be discouraged by not seeing results we hoped for or that logic dictated that we "should" get by doing a specific healing protocol
address one condition or level of illness only to have a new or different one emerge
feel as if life is unfair and the universe has cast a block cloud over your life
live in a constant state of fear and impending doom as if nothing will ever improve
feel shameful and as if you are a burden to others and society for not being able to be as productive as "healthy" people
to lose hope and succumb to anxiety, depression, and despair
and the list goes on!
You are NOT Crazy!
First off, chronic illness F'ing Sucks BIG TIME. No doubt about it. In fact, we feel a more appropriate label for CFS or any chronic illness for that matter is Chronic F'ing Shit Syndrome. It is absolutely NORMAL to feel angry, overwhelmed, anxious, and depressed when chronic health challenges rob you of the vitality, joy, and life that you deserve. Because of this, the mindset component of restoring one's health and regaining one's life is undoubtedly one of the most challenging aspects of the healing journey.
Three Hard-To-Accept Truths
That said, our personal healing journeys continue to inform us that mindset creates the foundation of any successful healing path. The first often hard-to-accept truth is that without the right mindset, one will stay stuck in a perpetuating stress-pain-illness cycle. The second truth is that despite how shitty things can get, we ALL always have the power to choose how to respond to the events in our life.
The mindset ball is 100% in all of our courts at all times. Nobody can make mindset shifts for us. Others can surely guide and mentor us but for real change to occur, a shift in mindset must come from the self. One must reach a point where they assume 100% responsibility for their health, healing, and life. A BIG part of this is doing whatever it takes to keep the mind and body in state of rest and digest more than in fight or flight and victimhood thinking.
The third truth is that chronic health challenges, in many ways, are a divine tap on the shoulder by the Universe saying "Hey, it's time to take a look at all aspects of yourself and your life that are no longer serving you and make some serious shifts.". Sure, there are contributing factors to illness and catastrophic events that take place that are 100% out of our control. On the other hand, there are numerous contributing factors such as lifestyle habits and mental patterns (such as perfectionism and people pleasing) that are 100% in our control
Neurobiology of the Stress Response
Bottom line, deep healing will not happen from a space of stress-based thinking, destructive behavioral patterns, and unresolved trauma. The way we see it, it is easy to run labs, take supplements, do detox protocols, etc. Cultivating a healing mindset around all those things and letting go of patterns that no longer serve us, however, dictate the effectiveness of everything we do to heal our biochemistries.
Research in the field of psychoneuroimmunology, which is the study of how mental and emotional states impact the body’s physiology, has confirmed that repressed, painful emotions and habitual, stressful thought patterns activate a chronic stress response.
This protection mechanism, commonly known as fight or flight is meant for short-term, emergency use only. Chronic activation of the stress response is directly and measurably linked to a weakened immune response, inflammation, musculoskeletal tension, anxiety, depression, impaired higher cognitive function, and ultimately dis-ease.
Without the right mindset and thinking patterns, bio-chemical interventions ALONE are often ineffective in helping us to create sustainable wellness. We are living proof of this as we did not begin to truly heal until we made the mind-body connection a top priority in our healing journeys.
Shifting Mindset Can Be a Daunting and Impossible Task Without the Right Support
Getting the mind to work for us instead of against us can often be an insurmountable and overwhelming task. Many people, ourselves included at one time, do not know where to begin with this aspect of healing. It is not something that is readily taught within our culture - although it certainly needs to be. Because of this, we have both realized that we needed help and therefore sought out the support of various influential mentors in the form of books, seminars, mindset-based coaches, and certification programs.
We are now such strong proponents of the mind-body connection, that we have made it a fundamental component of the work we do with clients. Our most recent endeavor in this area has been to invest time and finances in becoming Jack Canfield Success Principle Coaches.
Empowered Mindset Group Program
In order to make mindset support and guidance available and more affordable to a larger population, we have created a group mindset program. This group program is designed to help you:
Understand the basic neuroscience behind the stress response and how it factors into keeping you stuck in a stress-pain-illness cycle
Learn and implement tools and techniques for down regulating the stress response
Break free of a victim mindset and destructive thinking patterns that trigger the stress response
Increase your confidence and self-compassion that chronic illness is known to strip away
Cultivate a healthier relationship with self and others
Create and enforce healthy boundaries and learning to make yourself a priority
Evaluate what you truly want in this life and learn to live with passion and purpose
Learn tools to better navigate your world and tackle daily challenges
Realize your true potential and identify opportunities for self-improvement and self-efficacy
Empower yourself to take action in the face of fear and/or adversity
Stay tuned for the next article within this series where we will be taking a deep dive into resistance along with tips and strategies for rolling with it and overcoming it.