To stay healthy, pay attention to what you’re thinking

This post is by M.J. Johnston who is a valued member of Kate’s blog tea.  Enjoy!

uploaded from google images

uploaded from google images

My husband and I have been married a long time and have a system such that if either of us get on a track of discussion that the other doesn’t care to hear, we motion like we’re rolling up a car window (an old manual car window) while saying, “the window’s up!”.  The other spouse gets immediate feedback to ‘cease and desist’ without any hurt feelings and often, a bit of laughter.  I highly recommend it.

Caller ID, Call-block, spam has simplified our ability to select which telephone calls to answer and emails to open.  We check to see who’s knocking before we open our front door.  All of these are examples of how we protect ourselves from unwelcome ‘visitors’ and they’re all easy to put into practice.  Wouldn’t it be nice to have easy blocking mechanisms available for day-to-day conversations?

We all know people who eagerly share the details of their latest illness or disturbing news about someone else’s failing health. While I always want to be compassionate and aware of others’ situations, I find it helpful to be alert to unwanted and unhealthy dialogue.  I make a conscious effort to determine what I’m going to choose to listen to and when I am going to ‘roll up the window’.

Watching what we allow into our thinking isn’t a new concept.  Both physicians and metaphysicians have given attention to the importance of this for many years.  In 1908, George Lincoln Walton, a Harvard neurologist, described evidence of what now is called, “medical student syndrome” whereby medical students fear they have the diseases they are studying.  “Medical instructors are continually consulted by students who fear that they have the diseases they are studying….” (Why Worry? by George Lincoln Walton p. 114)  The Mayo Clinic and WebMD both have sections on their websites that inform health seekers of the importance of thinking healthy and positive thoughts.

And Mary Baker Eddy, a renowned Christian healer, wrote in 1875, “Sin and disease must be thought before they can be manifested.”  (Science & Health with Key to the Scriptures p. 234:25). Understanding that, she advised those who wished to practice Christian healing: “Stand porter at the door of thought.  Admitting only such conclusions as you wish realized in bodily results, you will control yourself harmoniously.” (p.392)

I experienced this firsthand just over a year ago. I was with a dear friend who discussed a problem he was having with lifting his arm.  He showed me the difficulty he had lifting it, described the challenges and the exact places where he was feeling pain.  Not only did I listen with great compassion, I also began to think about how terrible it would be if I were to have the same issue.

Sure enough, within the next few days, I was experiencing the same symptoms.  I had extreme soreness in my shoulder and soon wasn’t able to lift my right arm. I was the mirror image of what this friend had described, which not only posed all kinds of practical challenges, but was also extremely painful.

I realized how ridiculous this whole situation was as nothing had occurred in my activity to cause any discomfort.  It was like “the yawn factor” – where seeing or hearing someone else yawn makes us do it too.

About this time, I received an invitation to join a tennis group at the start of the new year – a few months away – and I really wanted to play.  I couldn’t bear the thought of having to say, “I’d love to play, but….” so I told them I’d love to join.  As soon as I hung up the phone, I determined I was going to take a different perspective about this situation.   I reasoned that if my thought so easily welcomed in this idea of a bad shoulder, I could also quickly show it the door.

I have found prayer to be an effective way to shut out thoughts and beliefs that are harmful and take in and hold to healthy thoughts. I turned to the Bible and read Psalms 89:13 which includes the verse, “Thou hast a mighty arm:  strong is thy hand, and high is thy right hand.”  I thought about how the Bible also says that God made us in Her image and I am thus a reflection of God and manifest Her power, grace and freedom of movement. Therefore, I wasn’t having to ‘fix’ my shoulder, but merely reflect the might, strength and fullness of God’s power that already existed because of our relationship.  Within a few days, my shoulder no longer hurt and I was able to play with total strength, flexibility and power.

If, as I learned through this experience, it’s crucial to keep our thinking focused on the Divine and on healthy thoughts, then it’s important to be alert to when you need to say, “the windows up!”

Mary Jane (M.J.) likes to blog about health, spirituality, science and religion and the impact prayer and spiritual care have on the mind-body-spirit connection.  M.J. is a former executive with a Fortune 10 company and is a Christian Science practitioner and a member of the Christian Science Committee on Publication for Maryland blog team.






1 Comment

  1. MJ – Thanks so much for sharing this important work of monitoring our own thoughts. It really makes a difference. I remember an article that helped me a lot about listening to disease treating product commercials that come to us via television. The advice from the author was not just to stop watching/listening but to make sure not to take in any unwanted images.