The body, the mind and the emotions are not separate entities, they are integral parts of us, and are therefore, intimately related. What we think afects our emotions and our emotions have direct effects in our bodies. Modern medicine is now beginning to take this relationship into account and is starting to leave behind the treatments that deal with the body as a merely biological entity separated from the mental and emotional state of the patient. Every day it becomes clearer to them that mental and emotional health play a very important role in physical health. This is even more evident in conditions like lupus, that is an overreaction of the immune system attacking all the organs of the body.
The immune system, like all other systems in the body, takes it’s patterns from the general state of the person, not only the physical, but the emotional and therefore the mental. If you are feeling well, your body functions properly. If you are stressed, sad, angry, depressed or you simply have no motivation to get better because you have no purpuse, your body will resent it and give you more symptoms. If on the contrary you are happy, motivated, doing the things that are convenient to your body and have a strong sense of purpose, your body will automatically react in a positive way and give you less symptoms.
It is from the brain that we decide what reality is like, we see a menacing and stressful world or a safe and wondeful one. What we think about the world that surrounds us makes our brain react and send the pertinent signals to the organs in our bodies. For instance, when we feel threatened, it sends the signal to the adrenal glands to produce adrenalin so you are ready to fight or flee the threat, as is required. If your brain perceives no threat because you think of the world as a safe and agrreable place, your brain will send signals to produce dopamine and serotonin, relaxing you and enhancing your enjoyment (they are also natural pain killers). Every time you have a thought, be conscious of the emotions it is creating and therefore of the orders your brain will emit to the organs in your body and the systems that it will activate. Be responsible of what you think and feel, being conscious of it.
A good change in point of view is to stop thinking of your immune system as an enemy. It is definitely overreactive, but it is not trying to harm you. So befriend it. Take care of it. Do things that are healthy for the whole you: in your body, your mind and emotions. It is not enough to take your medications and leave the whole responsibility for your wellbeing to the doctor. After all, it is you that wins the most with your wellbeing, not anyone else.
So I recommend this exercise as a first step in taking resonsibility for yourself and your wellbeing:
BEFRIENDING MY BODY
Find a serene and quiet place and a tranquil moment. Close your eyes if it is comfortable and start feeling every part of your body, from the toes to the head. Take into account all the details in every part.
How do your feet feel against the floor or the bed, and your legs, and buttocks and back,etc?
How do you feel in your clothes, are they tight or loose?
What is the temperature like in the room, how des it feel on your skin?
Is there a sound or smell? Take it in as part of the atmosphere you are in.
Do any modification you need to be as comfotable as possible.
Now you are going to cover your whole body mentally, focusing your attention in every part, outside and inside too.
First, feel your skin, the largest organ in your body, the one that lest you know about the outside world with all it’s nerve endings, with it’s sensations that let you know what is agrreable and what is not. Thank your skin for it’s services, for it acts as a shield from the world, but an interactive one, that lets you feel and enjoy while protecting you and establishing clearly what is you and what is not you.
Feel your muscles, tendons and bones, all that makes up your muscle-skeletal system. Feel the strength of your muscles and bones, and how they give you structure and let you move around, thank them for what they do for you.
Now feel or imagine your circulatory system, with it’s myriad veins and arteries, and that incredibly noble organ that never rests, the heart. This system takes oxygen and nutrients to all the different parts of your body, keeping you nourished and alive, with energy to be and act in the world. It also takes the toxins to be filtered and expelled from the body. Be grateful to this system for keeping your body nourished, oxygenated and clean.
Now feel your breath, how it enters through your nose or mouth, going down your throat and filling your lungs, taking the oxygen you need to survive into your bloodstream. Now feel how you exhale, getting rid of all that your body doesn’t need. Observe how you can manipulate your breath consciuously or forget about it, and it continues on it’s own, day and night, never resting. Be grateful to this system also.
Now feel or imagine your digestive system, that converts food into nutrients your body can use. This is a complex system that needs a lot of organs and functions, from saliva and mastication, the throat and stomach that breaks down the food so that the intestine can absorb it, with the help of the liver and gall bladder. Imagine your small intestine absorbing the nutrients and the large intestine expelling what the body can’t use. Imagine your other internal organs and how they cooperate in regulating the functions, like the pancreas keeping the sugar levels in check; of digesting, and elliminating the fats and toxins in the liver; imagine all the functions and organs that participate in keeping you nourished and be grateful to this very necessary and complex system.
Now imagine or feel the organs of the senses, those that act as antennas to the outside world: your eyes, ears, touch, taste and smell. Observe how thier perceptions let you navigate the world around you, knowing it, feeling it, enjoying it. They also let you know when something isn’t right, through pain, bad taste, discomfort. They are your navigation system, so be grateful to them.
Now visualize your brain, the command center for your body, with its automated functions, regulating the whole of your body and it’s functions, besides its data analizing systems, taking the input that the senses provide it giving you an idea and interpreatation of the world you inhabit. Think, and this is a function of the brain, visualize, and this is another one, imagine, it would be impossible withou it. Be grateful for your command center.
Now imagine or visualize your immune system. This is the army in the body. It takes it’s orders from the command center, the brain. It’s function is to patroll the body, and keep it safe from outside threats. If you have lupus, this system in your body is hyperreactive. You have to keep it serene and peaceful. Reassure it, tell it everything is fine, that you are it’s friend, that you are grateful for it’s hypervigilance, but not to take it so seriously, to relax a little. Promise it that you will be more peaceful in your thoughts and emotions to keep your command center from sending so many confusing signals to it, so that everything flows correctly and peacefully in your body.
Make a last run of your body, from the toes to the head, focusing your attention in the whole that makes up your body, any part or organ that wasn’t mentioned before, to your body as a unit that gives you life moment to moment, without which you would not be here. Now open your eyes and continue with your day or night.