In a relaxed state of being, our body and mind are able to heal—but our rapid lifestyles keep us from entering this blissful state of being.
After four years of struggling with chronic ailments—I was desperate for answers. “I was working full-time; every day, my body ached—the pain invaded my mind. Frequent visits to the doctors became exhausting. Twice they gave me incorrect diagnosesthat could have led to unnecessary surgical procedures. I was often prescribed antibiotics and pain medication, as they were unable to figure out the strange, ongoing symptoms.
One day, I called out in prayer, “God, I need a miracle!” The answer: move to Queensland—the other side of Australia. Within three months, I resigned from my career, booked a one-way ticket, and packed up my belongings to embark on a journey with no guarantee of healing. All I knew was—I had nothing to lose. The pain and suffering had become too much.
I followed this strange, silent whisper, and within months of being in Queensland, I found myself opening up to a kinesiologistand nutritionist. This wasn’t something I was familiar with at the time (back in 2013)—and this alternative avenue was well beyond my comfort zone.
Growing up, my religious upbringing was filled with superstition about anything that seemed “unconventional.” We were doers; our lifestyle was all about giving, and self-sacrifice—and not in a healthy, productive way. We were wary of alternative beliefs, always placing sole responsibility on God and Jesus for healing.
After the consultation and various exercises, he looked at me, his face ghostly, taken aback: he asked, “Why are you so stressed?” I had no idea what he was talking about.
Before I went on a journey of healing, studying Psychology, and seeking God outside doctrine—I was the girl who smiled and never allowed myself to feel bad. I knew little about stress, trauma, or internal conflict. As the child of a preacher, the pressure to be perfect started young. Usually, I’d put on a brave face and act like I had it together.
But something about his tone, and empathic concern, gave me a sense of relief. Instead, I let myself come undone—I told him the truth about how I felt about myself and the lifestyle I led. And his expression was nothing less than compassion.
For once in my life, I felt someone understood. He wasn’t telling me to pull it together, to push harder, to “do more.” In fact, he encouraged me to do less.
When I made a full recovery, the two confounding changes to my lifestyle were: eating a plant-based diet and learning to unwind—to breathe. At the time, I didn’t understand what this meant for my brain, my future, and healing inner pain. That part came with time, introspection, and looking back.
All I could do was trust—and have faith.
From where I stand now, seven years later, I can tell you this much—we don’t need more of anything to find the answers we are looking for. We need less. We need to unwind. We need to go within.
We need to breathe.
In our society, we promote a way of living and thinking that shuts off our creative genius, our inner healing powers, and our connection to our intuition. Striving and pushing for things seems to be a popular method. Will power and endless hours of work have been glorified, even at the cost of relationships, well-being, and spiritual development. It’s almost this “do it at all cost” way of being. And while we may achieve great success in one area of our life, it can cause us to sacrifice other areas—often our health.
A great documentary, Heal, discusses how our beliefs, thoughts, and emotions are deeply connected to our health and also healing. It shows us how unexplained illnesses and mental troubles could be the result of stress, but more so, a lack of peace and tranquility on the mind and body.
Stress can exacerbate in many ways, not just the obvious, like a hard day at work. We may be walking through life with stress on our brain due to childhood trauma, emotional pain, a lack of self-expression, being indoors too much, unhealthy boundaries, or pain and injuries.
Fear, worry about the future, and perfectionism—these are also states of mind that can lead to pressure on the brain, mind, and body.
Inadvertently, stress can affect how we breathe.
In short bursts, stress can be healthy and useful to our lives. We get things done; it helps us to act and move swiftly. The problem is ongoing stress without allowing the body to enter into a deep state of rest—regularly. This is referred to as chronic stress, and can be linked to chronic illness and disease.
Basically, when we’re living a lifestyle that causes us to breathe shallow over long periods of time, without unwinding or relaxation to bring balance—our body can exhibit inflammation. It is Mother Nature’s way of warning us of an imbalanced body, mind, and way of life.
Breathing is something we do without consciously thinking about it—it’s what gives us life. In the hustle of the day- to-day, it’s challenging to pause, and be conscious of how we are thinking and breathing.
However, how we think, feel, and breathe from day to day can influence our immune system, and our mental wellness.
Our brains need time to breathe. Our disconnection to breath and how we breathe keeps us from tapping into our own healing power.
But why do we find it difficult to let go—trust the process?
Our mind, our ego, our beliefs, our lack of faith—I believe they prevent us from going deep.
In a relaxed state of being, we can enter into a healing state. This is why I believe I was unable to heal for years. I was always on—working non-stop and exercising relentlessly.But it was also my mentality. Everything in my life had to be perfect, all the time. I had to be perfect. This, in and of itself, was an ongoing chronic stressor.
People around the world have made amazing recoveries from illnesses, traumas, and pain by allowing space and relaxation into their lives. This can feel counterintuitive. And for some of us with deeply engrained religious beliefs or upbringings where trauma, pain, and chaos existed, it’s challenging to let go of what we know, to embrace the unknown.
I recommend watching “Heal”, and the episode, “Heal Yourself with the Ice Shaman” Wim Hof and Russell Brand. It will take you deeper into why we need to unwind and breathe, combining both spiritual and scientific findings.