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Supporting the Mind and Spirit: A Crucial Component of Recovery

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When you battle Lyme disease, it is easy to get focused on healing the physical body and neglect the care of the soul and spirit. But nurturing and healing the soul and spirit are just as crucial as treating the physical body, as disease affects every part of us; spirit, soul and body.

Lyme disease is traumatic because it creates pain, fatigue and other symptoms; an inability to function, isolation, financial hardship, the loss of relationships and other stressors. On top of that, the pathogens involved in Lyme disease inflame the brain and cause neuroendocrine dysfunction that leads to depression, anxiety and…more stress.

You may even have unprocessed trauma from the past that’s contributing to your symptoms. Needless to say, all of these factors can pile up and add to the overwhelm of treatments and recovery. For this reason, soul care is a super important component of healing.

One of the most important things that I did for myself throughout my battle with Lyme disease was to lie on my bed or prostate on the floor while I spent the first two hour of the day in meditative prayer, listening to soothing instrumental music and/or journaling, depending on how I felt.

I would often awaken in a bad mood due to pain, inflammation, fatigue and other factors, and it didn’t take a whole lot for my thoughts to run in a negative direction! By taking the time to pray, meditate and journal first thing in the morning, and get “God’s perspective” on my life (which was usually a lot more positive than mine!)  I was able to start the day in a more hopeful, positive frame of mind.

I encourage you to try this, or another similar morning activity that will help you to start the day infused with hope, encouragement and positivity—no matter how badly you might feel. I realize that can be hard when you feel awful, but trust me, the effort to do this is worthwhile. Even if you can only move from a 9 to an 7 on the suffering scale by spending some time in soul-and-spirit soaking activities, it’s worth it, and over time, you’ll find your thoughts conforming more to the outcome that you want to see in your life—which is health and happiness, and maybe some other things.

Perhaps your morning routine will look a bit different than this. Maybe it could involve starting the day with an inspirational book or a faith-filled or otherwise uplifting television program, or doing some gentle detoxification activities like a coffee enema, Epsom salt bath, or a sauna. Either way, you can help to start your day off on the right foot by taking 30 minutes, or an hour or two or three, feeding your soul and your spirit, not just your body.

You can also use your morning time to process your challenges and the pain you might be going through by journaling, or having a conversation with your Creator. Processing time can help you to figure out what’s not working in your life as you also brainstorm ways to move forward. If you’re like me, you know that when you’re sick, it’s easy for negative “morning thoughts” to take you into a downward deluge of pessimism and hopelessness, if you leave your mind to its own devices.

If you have that tendency, as I do, doing some morning meditations, prayer or other activity to help bring yourself into a more positive frame of mind is especially important. This is because your immune function is profoundly affected by your thoughts and the way you feel, so doing whatever you can to feed your spirit and soul can go a long way toward launching you into a more immune-enhancing state.

If you just can’t manage to do anything when you first wake up, try some soul-soaking activities later in the day. If you are active enough, you might add any of the following to your soul food regimen:

·       Taking a walk out in nature, or just sitting outside on your porch or on a park bench on a sunny day, reading a good book
·       Watching funny movies or filling your mind with television programs or movies that leave you with a positive message of hope
·       Listening to encouraging and inspirational E-books or teachings
·       Praying with a friend who uplifts and encourages you
·       Creating art, with some watercolors, colored pencils or markers
·       Doing something nice for someone else, such as volunteering to pray for them
·       Reading about stories of recovery, rather than filling your mind with thoughts about treatments or reading about the woes of others who are in the same battle as you

As a final note, if you have a history of childhood abuse or severe trauma, and you have not been healed of the harmful beliefs and thought patterns that inevitably result from that, it’s a good idea to talk to a counselor, minister or other practitioner to get healing, as trauma has been shown in many studies to play a major role in disease and its recovery, in healing from disease.  Mind-body techniques such as Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) www.emofree.com and Dynamic Neural Retraining can be very helpful for people who have a history of harmful thinking and a body that’s stuck in “fight or flight” due to trauma.

By taking just a short amount of time out daily to do a few of these things, you will be giving your soul and spirit a much needed lift, which in the end, can do just as much to pull you out of your battle with Lyme as any antimicrobial or other treatment. Don’t believe me? There are thousands of studies that show the positive benefits of emotions upon wellbeing and recovery. Some doctors even believe that attitude, outlook and the emotions are the single most important factor that influences recovery from chronic illness. I’ve seen it myself. So go for it—spend some time taking care of you, and watch the results unfold!

Connie Strasheim is the author, co-author or ghostwriter of 10 wellness books, including four on Lyme disease, and the just-released New Paradigms in Lyme Disease Treatment: 10 Top Doctors Real Healing Strategies that Work. She is also a medical copywriter and Editor of Pro Health’s Lyme disease page, as well as Editor of the Alternative Cancer Research Institute. Her passion is to help people with complex chronic illnesses find freedom from disease and soul-spirit sickness using whole body medicine and prayer, and she collaborates with some of the world’s best integrative doctors to do this. In addition to Lyme disease, Connie’s books focus on cancer, nutrition, detoxification and spiritual healing. You can learn more about her work at: www.ConnieStrasheim.org.

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