Posted by: coachingparents | November 12, 2009


By Lloyd J. Thomas, Ph.D.

The issue/debate about reforming our healthcare system has dominated
our news media for a very long time.  One aspect of such reform is to
encourage “prevention.”  Very little attention has been paid to
strengthening each individual’s natural healing system.

“The greatest force in the human body is the natural drive of the
body to heal itself…” wrote Norman Cousins after he had recovered
from a “terminal” illness.  Certainly, medicine, professional
diagnosis and treatment are important, sometimes vital, aspects of
becoming well.  But medical science still remains ignorant as to
precisely why some people “spontaneously” heal while others succumb to
disease.  Indeed, the healing process itself remains a rather
mysterious event.

We do know however, that the individual person has a lot more power
and control over his or her own healing than was ever acknowledged
before.  Here are some “hints” which might help you realize your own
power and ability to help you heal.

1.  Practice acceptance of your illness.  Acceptance of your illness
is not the same as resigning yourself to it.  Resignation can lead to
depression and depression is not a very healing attitude.  When you
are ill, acceptance of disease as a part of you at the moment, will
allow you to create in yourself the atmosphere of caring, tenderness,
and love in which your illness is more likely to heal.  It also allows
energy to be freed for other activities, other interests, other
thoughts to remain a part of your life, even while “being sick.”

2.  View illness not as a loss, but as an opportunity for new growth
and development.  If a starfish loses one of its “arms,” it merely
goes about growing another.  If a salamander loses its tail, its
primitive nervous system begins regenerating another immediately.
Certainly our human nervous systems are more sophisticated than those
of a starfish or salamander.  When we heal, we grow new tissue, new
nerves, and new cells.  Why not grow new ideas, new attitudes, new
ways of viewing ourselves and the world, and new loves, while you are
also healing physically?  If you begin to grow psychologically in
response to your losses, you may just not need to have a physical
illness in order to evolve or grow.

3.  See your illness as your body’s attempt to redirect your life in
a positive direction.  Avoid harshly judging your illness and
resenting your body for having it.  Avoid judging yourself altogether!
Your body is always valiantly trying to be well.  It has powerful
tools in its biochemical, cellular, and nervous repertoire to regain
its healthful balance.  If you are positive and peaceful about your
own ability to be well, then illness just becomes a “redirection” of
your life.  Someone once said, “Illness is God’s way of getting your
attention!” Pay attention to that message and allow it to redirect
your life.

4.  Realize that death is not a disease, and it is not a failure.
The death rate for all living beings is still one hundred per cent.
If staying alive is your only goal, you will most certainly fail at
attaining it.  Once you begin to accept the inevitability of your own
death and realize you only have a limited amount of time to experience
being alive, you begin to become aware you might as well enjoy (as
best as you possibly can) the moment-to-moment experience of
aliveness, including your illness or pain,.

5.  Avoid making physical wholeness your goal.  Nobody exists with a
perfect physical body.  Our functioning varies from moment to moment
and certainly from day to day.  A lot of people heal into peace of
mind and self-love, without ever becoming physically well.  Perhaps
making your goals your own inner peace, your own ability to forgive
and love yourself just might promote your healing a lot faster than
self-hate, self-criticism, and resentment toward your illness.  Use
your illness as a situation to learn about hope, love, acceptance,
forgiveness, peace of mind, openness to living, and mindfulness to the
moment.  In doing so, you just may make the disease remit in the

6.  Our bodies respond to self-love and the love sent to us by
others.  If you send your own body loving messages, and if you are
open to receive the love of others, your body’s immune system responds
with something like “Hey, this person likes being alive, lets get to
work and fight for his or her life with all the power and energy we
can muster.” Negative thoughts produce certain chemicals in our
bodies…positive thoughts produce another kind of chemicals.  The
latter strengthens the immune system.  The former weakens it.

       7. Finally, use your body, use the life in your body to love.
Loving is the only path to immortality.  Your love lives on long after
you physically die.  If you spend most of your life hating, you spend
most of it dying.  If you spend it loving, you leave a legacy of peace
and development to all those persons you touch with your love.  A
legacy of love.  What a gift to offer future generations!  Spend most
of your life loving and you will only spend a few brief moments dying.

You have a lot more influence and control over how you heal from any
disease.  Perhaps following the above tips will at least, increase
your personal awareness of that powerful influence we all possess.


Dr. Thomas is a licensed psychologist, author, speaker, and life
coach.  He serves on the faculty of the International University of
Professional Studies. He recently co-authored (with Patrick Williams)
the book: “Total Life Coaching: 50+ Life Lessons, Skills and
Techniques for Enhancing Your Practice…and Your Life!” (W.W. Norton
2005) It is available at your local bookstore or on

Lloyd J. Thomas, Ph.D. has 30+ years experience as a Life Coach and
Licensed Psychologist.  He is available for coaching in any area
presented in “Practical Life Coaching” (formerly “Practical
Psychology”).  Initial coaching sessions are free.  E-mail: or


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