You just never know whom you are going to meet, or what you are going to learn when you attend a conference. The opportunity to present at the Soft Tissue Symposium offered a great learning experience on many levels. Two of the presenters, Jane Teresa Anderson and Josie Thompson offered different, yet complementary, approaches to how you can heal your mind and your body.
Dreams Can Heal Your Mind
Jane Teresa Anderson, a scientist with a background in neurophysiology, has for the past 23 years helped people to remove their self-limiting beliefs through dream analysis. Changing your beliefs is a way to heal your mind. Since our body also reflects our thoughts, a transformation of your thoughts can assist physical healing too.
Jane explained that dreams help us to make sense of our experiences. They are usually related to events that have occurred during the past 2 days. Dreams are unique to us, so dream dictionaries are not useful. Our sub-conscious mind presents images that are meant to assist us with current problems. Often these images need to be transformed into positive alternatives. For example, if you dream that you are in a cramped room, visualise yourself in a large spacious room with a feeling of ease and joy. The cramped room may indicate that your feel trapped or constrained in some way. Providing space (a large spacious room) in your visualisation literally provides the necessary space to explore new options and creative ideas. The re-wiring needs to be associated with positive emotions, such as ease, joy and confidence.
Dreams to resolve foot pain may appear to us in different ways. One dream might show a bird trying to fly from the ocean into the sky, but the bird’s foot is caught in a plastic bag. The bag is weighing down the bird. To transform this dream, you could visualise the bird freeing its foot and flying effortlessly into the sky and experiencing feelings of happiness and adventure. Another person with a foot problem might dream of a house built on stilts that are unstable. To transform the feelings of instability, you might visualise the house being lowered onto stable ground, or the stilts being reinforced. Your new vision is then accompanied by a sense of stability, confidence and endurance.
Using dreams to heal your mind requires the transformation of negative images and feelings into positive alternatives. Jane suggests a short visualisation, that can be easily repeated 20 times a day, for up to 2 weeks.
Your Focus Can Heal Your Mind
Josie Thompson, trained in neuroscience and by her own life experiences, spoke on resilience at the symposium. She reminded us that you get what you are looking for. She explained that humans are wired primarily for safety, and that the achievement of happiness is a secondary pursuit.
By focussing on our safety, we are always on the alert for potential threats. Our mind is concentrating on what we don’t want. We are trying to avoid something from happening. Conversely, when we focus on our happiness, we are looking towards what we do want. Focussing on happiness can heal your mind and body.
Being on alert for threats, in the long-term, means that the levels of our stress hormone, cortisol, remain high. The effect of this is chronic inflammation, which impacts the way we think (feelings of confusion and being overwhelmed and poor memory), as well as our physical health (increased blood pressure and sugar levels). Happiness on the other hand increases our pleasure hormone, dopamine. Dopamine levels are also boosted by moderate exercise, laughter and the self-acknowledgement of your achievements.
When we focus on what we want, we explore options with interest. We are solution focussed and engage others to help us progress. We acknowledge the need to work with others and appreciate being connected. Unfortunately, when we focus on what we don’t want, we are reluctant to step forward. We feel uncertain, only focus on the problem and become isolated. You can transform what you don’t want into what you do want though. This transformation will heal your mind and help you to move forward. For example, when you are focussed on losing weight, do you put your attention on the lifestyle choices that will help you achieve a healthier weight and improved vitality, or do you think about what you have to do to avoid gaining weight?
You Can Heal Your Mind
In order to transform your mind, you need to be familiar with it first. This is the foundation for many Eastern healing modalities. Do you see your thoughts before your put them into action? Do you focus on what you want? Or do you avoid what you don’t want? Do you recall your dreams? Mindfulness is the first step to being able to put these great tools into practice.