"As I see it, every day you do one of two things: build health or produce disease in yourself.”Adelle Davis
Your health is one of the most important and life enhancing assets you have. Most people slowly kill themselves through negative addictions and destructive habits. Lack of exercise, too much stress, poor diet and negative thoughts and emotions wreak slow havoc on your immune system and your body.
Health is a result of a myriad of factors and processes. Our bodies are incredibly complex. To maintain life enhancing optimal health you need to do behaviours of healthing – behaviours that support your brain and body; that support your immune system, digestive system and cardiovascular system amongst many others.
In today’s post I’m going to share a powerful process for working with your immune system and enhancing its operation.
The Immune System
The immune system is a very complex part of the body. It contains a myriad of different cells and components and is distributed throughout your body. The immune system is intimately connected to your nervous system, head brain and gut brain and can in some ways be thought of as an extended part of the brain/mind system. As the field of Psycho-Neuro-Immunology (PNI) has shown, your thoughts and feelings directly affect your immune function. (I'll talk about this in more detail in a coming blog post.)
As you know from previous blog posts, there is a bliss point or optimal state for the majority of your body's processes and this includes the amount of immuning that your immune system needs to do to keep you healthy. Too little immuning and you can’t fight off disease or overcome naturally occurring cancer cells. Too little immuning can make you susceptible to illness and pathogens.
Your immune system has both a memory and the ability to track for self/not-self. The immune cells are constantly checking your body for invaders and rogue cells that don’t belong. Too much immuning – an overstimulated immune function – can lead to auto-immune problems and diseases.
I’d like to share a personal story with you about the optimal process of immuning. Many years ago, when first learning about NLP and Behavioural Modelling, I got interested in issues of health and wellness. So I decided to study the immune system and model the process of immuning and healing. I came across the idea of ‘Super Immuning’ and applied the principles of NLP to amplifying these processes and states of immuning. I used self-hypnosis and NLP techniques to communicate with my unconscious mind and install the process of Super Immuning in myself.
A couple of weeks later, I began to notice a strange red rash on my lower left leg. The skin was raised and inflamed. I thought that I’d somehow gotten a skin mite infection from cleaning out the vacuum cleaner bag that I had accidentally dropped on my uncovered leg one morning. So I used various creams and lotions to try and remove that rash. Nothing seemed to shift or heal it. I sought medical help and also consulted with a Naturopath. Nothing seemed to help. I lived with that rash for many, many months and it was slowly spreading and getting worse.
One day, relaxing in a warm shower, I decided to use the NLP Six-Step Reframing technique to talk to my unconscious mind and find out what the symptom of the rash was trying to tell me. I knew that my unconscious mind knew the cause of the problem, even if my conscious mind didn’t have a clue.
So I put myself into a self-hypnotic, meditative state and gently, respectfully spoke to my unconscious, asking specifically for insight into the cause. The words ‘Super-Immuning’ popped into my mind, along with the saying ‘the more – the more pattern’. This is a pattern in NLP that indicates a positive feedback loop. The more you do something, the more it causes the same process, leading to a spiral or run-away pattern. For example, the process of fearing fear leads a person into more and more fearing.
In that flash of insight my unconscious mind communicated to me, I realised I had installed in myself many months ago a runaway pattern of over-stimulating my immune function. The word ‘Super’ indicates a comparative deletion. That is, something is only ever ‘super’ in comparison to something else. When you call or describe something as super, without indicating what it is super compared to, you are doing what in NLP is called a comparative deletion. I had installed in myself a comparative deletion pattern of ‘Super-Immuning’. I had installed in my unconscious mind a pattern of doing more and more immuning. I had, in effect, created an over-stimulated auto-immune disorder. The rash on my leg was my own immune system attacking my skin and causing an eczema type rash.
There and then, I asked my unconscious mind for a better metaphor for the process I was trying to model. The answer came back immediately – ‘Exquisite Immuning’. What I wanted was not to do super immuning, but instead to be able to do an exquisite level of immuning appropriate to whatever was happening in my body at any point in time. Exquisite implies fitness for purpose. Exquisite implies outcome.
So I immediately removed the ‘Super Immuning’ process and changed and re-installed the unconscious immuning process as ‘Exquisite Immuning’ and within 24 hours the rash went completely away. Overnight, that angry, red, painful and itchy rash that completely covered my lower left leg disappeared and my skin returned to normal. I’d had that rash for months and months – or to put it more accurately from a neurolinguistic perspective – I’d been ‘doing’ that rash for many, many months and finally I’d stopped. The rash went away. My leg healed.
The moral of the story is manifold. Firstly, NLP processes are powerful and should be used intelligently, carefully and ecologically. Secondly, always listen to your symptoms and check with your unconscious mind for the underlying message it is attempting to communicate to you. Thirdly, there is such a thing as too little and too much immuning. Balance is required. What’s appropriate at one time is not appropriate at another.
For example, if you have come into contact with a pathogen such as a cold virus and have become infected, then you need to amp up your immuning to fight off the virus. Once you are well, you don’t want to have too active an immune function or you’ll end up developing auto-immune problems. You want and can do a balanced amount of immuning.
And here’s the life enhancing message: use the idea and metaphor of ‘Exquisite Immuning’ to track for and encourage your unconscious mind to do appropriate immuning. The unconscious mind can be influenced by belief, metaphor and symbolism, by visualisation and affirmation. So be careful what you ask for, and use its life enhancing power wisely.
In next week’s blog post, I’ll share the Six Step Reframe NLP technique for how to communicate and negotiate with your unconscious mind to support healthing and wellness. And in the post after that I'll explore the research findings from PNI and how beliefs and thoughts impact or enhance your healthing. So stay tuned.
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”Aristotle
Life enhancing wishes