- Doreen is 39 and dealing with chronic digestive issues.
- She never knew when something would cause her stomach or bowels to flare up.
- She’d worked with several integrative practitioners but nothing helped.
- She was at the end of her rope and believed that nothing would ever work for her and that her situation was hopeless.
I could see issues with her diet right away but with her history of working with respectable integrative doctors, I knew that dietary shifts weren’t going to be enough. There was something deeper going on and I suspected that it had to do with her mental state.
Trying to solve a health mystery can be emotionally taxing and frustrating. I understand that getting back to health can feel like an impossible task. And, sometimes, if we tell ourselves this enough, and fortify it with more negative thoughts, we can make the challenge even more difficult. I knew that if negative self-talk was at play in Doreen’s health mystery, we might never get her back to wellness.
Roxanne Saffaie is an empowerment coach and the host of Black Belt Beauty Radio (a podcast focused on Self Development, Life-Performance, and Health). She joins me on this episode to discuss how mindset can impact our physical health.
Gut Health and Mindset
When we’re dealing with digestive issues, our first sense is to assume something like dysbiosis, food sensitivities, or leaky gut. Sometimes, there’s another layer to the issues that has to do with mindset. Roxanne explains that our sense of self-worth, self-love, and self-confidence can all play a role in our overall health. A negative mindset, lack of self-worth or self-confidence can all lead to poor health habits, a general disbelief that we are worthy of good health and behaviour that amounts to self-sabotage.
Committing to Healing Requires Commitment to Self
The journey back to health can include some pretty challenging changes. These might be dietary changes, lifestyle changes, and/or habitual changes. In order for someone to commit to these changes, they have to believe both in themselves and the process. If they don’t believe in their own ability, that doubt can derail their efforts. If they don’t believe they will succeed, they are much more likely to fail. Roxanne says you have to adopt a champion mindset; you have to believe that you belong in the game and that you’re in it to win.
Reversing Negative Self-Talk
Many of us have negative thoughts and beliefs about ourselves. And, when we’ve been struggling with health issues, it’s easy to become doubtful about the prospect of feeling better. Roxanne says that reversing negative self-talk starts with paying attention to your inner dialogue to catch it as it’s happening. She also suggests that you prepare to reverse it when you know you have a challenge ahead. As you become more practiced at it, you will be able to witness your thoughts and create a separation between you and your thoughts.
One habit that Roxanne feels can make a big difference is journaling. All too often, our thoughts stay internal. Roxanne says that journaling helps to expel thoughts from your mind and allow them to just be; put them on paper but don’t judge them. Journaling is not about writing something of worth for the outside world, it’s a tool to help you communicate with your inner thoughts. It can simply be a brain dump of all of your thoughts poured out on the page. She recommends creating a daily journaling habit. It doesn’t have to take long. Journaling for just 5-10 minutes a day can help you gain perspective on your inner-self which leads to a deeper self-awareness and self-connection.
I’ve talked about the benefits of meditation on the show before and Roxanne agrees that it’s a great way to connect with your inner self. Like journaling, the practice has to be about witnessing your thoughts and not judging them. Letting your thoughts passby allows you to be aware of them without them affecting you. This also helps to build self-awareness.
The 4 S’s
The path to believe that you are worthy of good health and that you will overcome your challenges has 4 S’s, according to Roxanne. They are, in order:
This is becoming aware of your inner dialogue and recognizing negative self-talk.
This is when you start to see an identity shift. You start to understand and live in your authenticity and your creative expression will be easier.
Now that you are more connected with yourself and living more authentically, you can generate more of a loving relationship with yourself. From this place, you can access more discipline, accountability and personal commitment to yourself.
Once you’ve learned self-love, you will be able to demand more from your life and live in a place of self-confidence. You will feel worthy of everything that you feel is important to you – which includes your good health.
Mental Landscaping for Health
Mental landscaping is a reframing self-identity that involves a deep connection to your future self. This exercise encourages you to imagine a future version of yourself, one where you have overcome your illness. Your future self is healthy and happy. Step into what this feels like. Imagine what you would think, feel, and do each day. To solidify this feeling, capture it in your journal either by describing your future self or by embodying and writing as your future self.
Roxanne sees challenges as one of the best ways to boost self-confidence and self-worth. By accepting a challenge, you are saying that you believe you can win. The act of challenging yourself also pushes you out of your comfort zone which will lead to your growth. This quest for growth is further supporting the idea that you are worthy. Succeeding at these challenges also proves that you are resilient, which is something you can tap into later when challenges unexpectedly appear.
Doreen was a unique case. I knew that telling her what to eat and not eat was not going to get me very far. We had to work on her belief and her mindset.
Doreen started by journaling. We were able to identify some of the limiting beliefs that she had – some (as you’ll hear in the podcast) were quite deeply-seeded. We used EMDR to help release those. To improve her self-awareness and inner connection, she also began meditating.
It took a little bit of work, but soon Doreen was able to recognize the self-defeating and negative thoughts and reframe them before they could worm their way back in. She was truly on her own team now.
Doreen’s journey of self-discovery and increased self-confidence lead her to many more lifestyle changes and greater happiness. I knew that she was ready (and confident enough) to finally embrace the dietary changes she needed to finally address her digestive issues.
With a new way of eating, the confidence that she could maintain it, and the self-worth that told her she deserved to feel good – Doreen was able to put her digestive issues in the past.
Eliminating Health Mysteries
For Doreen, we were able to identify a piece of the puzzle that so many doctors don’t recognize as significant. But, without the right mindset, Doreen would have continued to suffer. Could a negative mindset or a lack of self-worth be the missing piece for you or someone in your life?
Thanks for Listening
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