The brain is an amazing organ and has a lot to answer for, I would love to be clever enough to be able to fully understand how our brains work and how our thoughts truly impact our physical and emotional health and well-being.
I guess on a day-to-day basis thinking about how powerful our thoughts are isn’t something we usually think about, but it occurred to me a few days ago when I had some physical sensations how our body reacts to situations and our body can be trying to tell us things that we aren’t always aware of.
For example, I will never know if my thoughts had any impact on conceiving my two daughters, however, I believe that my thoughts may well have helped. I’m not saying I believe everything to do with the power of thought, but I am open to the idea. I did a lot of research when going through fertility treatment and came across sights that talked about visualising each stage of the pregnancy right from not being pregnant, to trying to get pregnant, to being pregnant etc. I suppose because I didn’t know a lot about what happens during these stages (other than the basics) I watched a lot of YouTube videos which fascinated me.
This led me to thinking about and visualising every step of my journey. When I was injecting myself with hormones, I would imagine my eggs getting bigger and after insemination up until I found out I was pregnant I would imagine what was happening if it was successful. I watched videos of every stage as if it were happening to help me visualise it. Then because I got pregnant first-time round, when I wanted to try a second time, I knew that I had to do everything exactly the same in order to try and give myself the best chance of becoming pregnant again.
Whether it was coincidence or not, no one will ever be able to tell me, but I got pregnant again on the first try and I remember the clinic being almost shocked my this. They told me they hadn’t ever had a patient who had been successful on their first attempt two times in a row.
Now, just as our thoughts may be able to help with something, they can also be rather mean! This is when our ‘bad duck’ is at play and can give us horrible thoughts, or make us feel physically ill etc. I have learned over the past couple of years to take charge of my thoughts (this is not always easy and there are times when bad duck still wins) and I challenge my thoughts. When I first went for counselling a couple of years ago, I was suffering with bad health anxiety and my counsellor highlighted that when we become fixated on something it becomes exacerbated.
I was told that it I imagine that my toe is really hurting and keep thinking about it hurting, it will eventually hurt, and it is true! This is both quite a scary thought (at how clever and powerful the brain is) but it was also empowering in a way as it highlighted that just because we feel something such as pain, it doesn’t always mean that feeling is genuine.
This then led to me trying to learn different techniques of how to distract my thoughts or break the vicious cycle. Again, there isn’t a guaranteed fix when it comes to our thoughts which can be disheartening or frustrating at times. When we have a physical problem such as a broken leg it is put in a cast, and we know that it should be mended in a few weeks’ time but with mental health its not as simple as this.
Unfortunately, quite often when it comes to mental health people do not either realise how bad things have got or by the time, they do it can take longer to ‘fix’. This is partly due to the stigma attached to mental health, the lifestyle most people lead in Western society and the stiff upper lip attitude and the NHS whereby there are limited services and huge waiting lists.
I truly believe that we need to be taught about our mental health from an early age and how to look after it, just like we are taught to brush our teeth to prevent cavities etc.
There is nothing wrong with admitting that we need to take time for ourselves, and we shouldn’t have to justify this to ourselves or others. Looking after ourselves will look different for everybody, it could be having a bath, going for a drive, reading a book, going for a walk, breathing techniques, baking, archery, meeting up with friends.
The list is endless, but whatever it is that helps keep you ‘you’ is incredibly important.
…..In fact, probably more important than a lot of us realise.