Helping hundreds of people over the years with their diets, I have learned one thing…it is definitely not all about food. I work with many clients that have hormone imbalances, digestive issues and weight loss resistance, yet they are eating a clean diet 90% of the time and not getting any better. This is where we have to remember our body is not a bank account, but really a biochemistry lab. Many people do not realize just how much negative emotions affect their current state of health, which can often be traced all the way back to their childhoods.
I recently came across an article called, “Can Family Secrets Make You Sick?” that put into words what I had been seeing in my clients over the years. Here is an excerpt from the article regarding family roots and health outcomes later in life:
“And if you have scary, traumatic experiences when you’re small,” Gunnar says, “your stress response system may, in some cases, be programmed to overreact, influencing the way your mind and body work together. Over time, especially when you’re young, experiences of neglect and abuse and stress impair those circuits,” Gunnar says.
This often explains why some people can eat the best diet and still not feel well, because junk from their past is still affecting their bodies and health. I have started asking a lot of my clients to explain what their childhoods were like and the responses have eye-opening, to say the least. I cannot tell you how often I hear client after client identify negative emotions like bitterness, anger, resentment and unforgiveness with different aspects of how they grew up.
When I think about clients, friends or family members with painful pasts, I am reminded of a quote I love by Chris Caine: Where your mind goes, your body will follow. Another way to say this is what you think about grows. And since your thoughts precede your emotions, toxic thinking and negative emotions go hand in hand. Many of the roots of how you are thinking and thus feeling today can be traced back to the seeds of negative thoughts planted years ago.
According to renowned neuropsychologist, Dr. Caroline Leaf, anywhere from 75-95% of illnesses that plague us today are a direct result of our thought life. This means that if negative experiences and thoughts (seeds) from our childhood or from even just a few years ago are allowed to repeatedly plague us, the “garden” you are growing today—the state your body is currently in physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually—may very well not look all that healthy.
Years of negative thinking may make it difficult for us to withstand the storms of life down the road—even little stressors that are common to us all—for long, because illness may very likely set in. In fact, according to Dr. Leaf, toxic waste generated by what she refers to as “toxic [negative] thoughts” can cause the following health issues: cancer, diabetes, asthma, skin problems and allergies, just to name a few.
What are you thinking at this very moment after reading this? Are you thinking, “My garden looks beautiful and I feel great inside and out!” Or are you thinking, “Great. I’m apparently screwed!” If you’re in the “I’m screwed camp,” before you go traipsing down the trail of despair, just remember that awareness is always the first—and often the most important—step. Once you begin to understand where the roots of your problems may be stemming from, then understanding how to fix what’s broken can truly begin.
While the above article addressed what can happen later in life after experiencing negative childhood issues, it neglected to shed light on what’s even more important: The fact that our bodies were miraculously created! You can renew your mind and reprogram your body in order to begin healing it from the inside out. Today I challenge you to take a good, long look at your garden….Is it thriving and full of life, or is it struggling to simply survive?
So stay tuned for Part 2 on what to do next! It will include tangible ways to uproot your toxic thinking so you can replant seeds that will help cultivate a healthy, balanced life!