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The Power of Positive Thinking - Can We Literally Will Ourselves to Become Well?

By Expert HERWriter
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When you are sick, either from something minor like a cold or from a more serious health problem, have you ever noticed how your mental attitude can really contribute to the way you feel?

I can remember throwing myself some pretty good pity parties when I was bed-ridden with the flu or pneumonia or something. Along with feeling very sorry for myself, I would think things like, “I feel so sick.” “My fever is not going away.” “This is just horrible…I’m never going to get better.”

If we’re all being honest here, I think thoughts like these are pretty normal. It’s just the worst to be sick, stuck at home with all of the miserable symptoms that go along with being ill.

I also had a difficult time staying positive while I was recovering from my hysterectomy. I was so sick afterwards and feeling so miserable that my brain played along thinking negative things all day long about how awful I felt.

In the past few months, a few things happened that have really shown me how our thoughts and feelings can impact our health. First, I had a conversation with a dear friend of mine who is a huge believer in affirmations. As we were chatting over coffee, we got on the topic of positive thinking and she explained how ones body will often go along with what ones mind is thinking. So, if we are lying in bed telling ourselves how rotten we feel, our bodies will essentially obey these thoughts and continue to feel sick.

On the other hand, my friend explained, if we make an effort to think positive thoughts about our health and how we are feeling, our bodies will “listen” and respond accordingly. Examples she gave me included phrases like, “I am healthy.” “My body is healing every minute.” “I am well.”

Not too long after this conversation, I came home from work feeling headachy and tired. The next morning I woke up feeling stuffy and with a sore throat. As I reached for the Advil and orange juice, my friend’s advice came to me, and I decided what the heck, I’d give it a shot.

Instead of focusing on how crummy I felt, I repeated over and over to myself, "I’m healthy." "My body is very strong and healing.

Add a Comment48 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

Our body has its own natural defense mechanisms.. The positive thinking compliments and aids the body to heal faster.
Its not like she is telling you not to take any medicine.. You complement medicines with these methods and it is gonna be a more effective treatment. (Commercial link removed by moderator.)

July 1, 2010 - 9:20pm
EmpowHER Guest

We have to be careful that we don't cause many to feel more sick since the "cancer" does not go away by just thinking positive thoughts. As well, this line of thinking can cause us to believe that those in poverty are there due to their own "willing". There is a "happy" medium to everything and while positive thinking at the right time is good, the extrapolation of positive thinking to all areas of life at all times is very bad indeed. (Commercial link removed by moderator.)

June 28, 2010 - 1:39am
EmpowHER Guest

Our body has its own natural defense mechanisms.. The positive thinking compliments and aids the body to heal faster.
Its not like she is telling you not to take any medicine.. You complement medicines with these methods and it is gonna be a more effective treatment.

If you read it as "Positive Thinking will make all my diseases go away. I dont need medicines." Then you are stupid. Don't blame the tool if you dont understand how to use it.

March 23, 2010 - 12:22pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

I do not understand this last post and why it sounds so negative... who is blaming the tool?

This is Lee from Australia. All my scans and blood tests are normal. I am still running low grade fever in the afternoon and at night, Specialist said to moniter the fever and take temp 3x a day and come back in a month to redo some blood tests. I am very happy nothing is showing up, but also wondering what I have that is not showing up. I have no closure yet with this and I am still a bit frightened and worried.

March 24, 2010 - 12:23am
HERWriter Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Hi Lee - Thanks for letting us know how your appointment went. I'm sorry you still don't have clear answers and that this is going to drag out longer. I am encouraged though by the fact that you've been asked to keep a fever diary as it would indicate that the doctor is taking your concerns seriously and working with you to find answers. I'm also wondering if any of the doctors you've seen have considered that you might have some kind of allergic reaction that's taking place.

The comment before yours seems to be referring to the thread in general and not to you specifically. It's hard sometimes to sort things out on threads.

I hope you can find some ways to relax and not get overly worried as you wait for the next steps. It's really GOOD news that no major disorder was found through your blood tests, and that's something to celebrate! Hang in there and take care. Pat

March 24, 2010 - 5:15pm
HERWriter Guide

Lee - The post is not from Katie, it's from someone else who wanted to comment.

I hope your appointment with the specialist goes well tomorrow and that you start getting some answers that will explain your fever and why you feel so bad. Please let us know what you learn. We will be here for you. All the best, Pat

March 9, 2010 - 5:36pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Pat Elliott)

Thanks Pat and to anyone else listening...
I won't know anything till I go back March 22nd.
Dr. said hundreds of things cause fevers of an undetermined nature, not just cancer which is my scary thought.
He sent me for more a lot more blood tests including hormonal ones.
Monday, I am to go to the XRay dept at the hospital for an injection of a radioactive dye that attaches itself to anything suspicious.
I get the scan 24 hours later, so Monday and Tuesday at the hospital. I have to keep a temperature chart, 3x a day till my appt on the 22nd and when I feel very hot, to put a red star next to it, as some times I can be the same temp and feel like I am burning up and other times just warm.
I am hoping that it is hormonal but scared. My father's father died of cancer in his early 60's and My mother's father died young and she never knew from what. Both grandmothers lived into their 80's.
My late parents and living sister did not/do not have cancer. I do not have any abnormal swelling or glands or weight loss.
This daily fever low grade daily fever has been going on since Jan. 23rd; 5 days after cataract surgery.
Thanks for listening and for your support :-)

March 9, 2010 - 11:53pm
EmpowHER Guest

what happened to yor friend? Is this post from Katie or someone else?
I have my specialist appt tomorrow and I am frightened at all of the possibilities of what could be wrong with me, mainly because I am all alone.


March 8, 2010 - 9:24pm
EmpowHER Guest

My best friend, age 19, had cancer this summer. She is one of the most positive people I've ever known. While she was sick she was constantly concerned about other people, whether it was her being concerned that I was spending down time with her to a magnitude of other things. Whenever people felt bad for her she always commented on how other people have it worse. I honestly think that her positive attitude helped her pull through it and was just as important as treatment. I think if more people had her consistent positive attitude it would make the healing process a little easier.

March 8, 2010 - 10:33am
EmpowHER Guest

Hi Pat, Australians don't know the difference between a New Yorker or someone from Illinois, it is just anti American feelings many have. When I first visited here in the 70's, the older people who were alive during WW2, loved the Americans for saving their country from invasion. I was treated like a queen. Now I am afraid in places to open my mouth.
I have a few friends that have retired to AZ, NV and FL from NY. When my late parents (New Yorkers their entire lives) moved to FL in the early 80's, there was a lot of Yankee go home, some southern people were still living the cival war. Now in 2010, I would imagine most of this is gone and there are other things people complain about, like illegal migrants and such that they do all over the world.
It is difficult to have any fun or enjoy anything until I know what is wrong with me, with these fevers.
Will Post after the specialist. Thanks for listening.

March 5, 2010 - 4:36am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.