“It’s all in your head.”
Hands up anyone who’s had that diagnosis when you’ve sought medical assistance for your symptoms, when all the tests have come back clear, and there doesn’t seem to be an explanation for what’s going on? Or even if you haven’t been told that explicitly I’m sure there have been times when you’ve come away with the impression that this is what they were thinking! Frustrating isn’t it?
So is it all in your head?
Certainly our thoughts can have a powerful effect on us. There is clear biological evidence that stressful thinking, for instance, sets in motion a very real set of physiological changes in the body. Unfortunately this isn’t often what is meant when the ‘All In Your Head’ conclusion is used. It’s often because, as there isn’t a ‘testable’ cause, then you’re simply imagining it!
Despite recent advances modern medicine does, in the main, still view the physical and mental aspects of our health as separate.
If you’re interested or involved in complementary therapies at all you will know that this field takes quite the opposite view, seeing the two as very intrinsically linked with the idea of ‘treat the person not the disease’ being fundamental to all that those practices do.
As such your mental state can be a significant aspect of any ill health you may be experiencing. It is therefore taken seriously and treated along with the physical side of things.
So if your thinking can be making you ill what to do about it?
The first thought that probably springs to mind (excuse the pun) is that you need to control your thinking – only think positive, health producing thoughts. Well, as you will have heard me say many times before, policing your thinking in this way could help but you may well find that the constant vigilance only adds to the problems making you feel worse in the long run rather than any better!
Instead why not try simply recognising that your thinking is a part of your overall health, it will have an impact on how you feel, and that thinking – good or bad – is a natural human activity so not ‘wrong’ in any way?
And how does this help?
It takes the pressure off. You stop trying to resist it and just let it be, and more than likely you’ll start to see that your mental health is just as important as your physical health – in fact it’s all the same! – and therefore take sensible steps to address any issues you may be experiencing without a lot of added stress, judgment or frustration.
So is it all in your head?
Well maybe – to a degree. But that’s a very valid aspect of your health, is not just your imagination, and therefore is actually ok!