When you become anxious, does your mouth get dry? When you think of good food, do you salivate? When you are in fear, does your breathing and muscle tone change? Is your digestion affected? If the answers to these questions are yes, how can there be any question that thought and emotion affect bodily functions such as glandular secretions, respiration and digestion? Medical scientists know that mental states affect our immune responses. So as the cold and flu season is upon us, why not use our minds to get an edge against illness?
Mental disturbances such as persistent stress are known to impair the immune response. So a first line of defense against illness is to reduce your stress or improve your ability to cope with it. Meditation, relaxation exercises, regular exercise, good nutrition, adequate sleep and generally good self-care are among the best ways to improve your ability to deal with stress. If you are besieged by stress, talk to other people about it and see if you can find ways to reduce your stress load.
Use visualization to help with symptoms and healing. Try this:
Sit or lie comfortably. Remind yourself to relax your muscles. Scan your body for tension and focus the intention to relax where you find tension. Relax your body. Relax your breathing. Allow it to deepen. Let your breathing slow to a comfortable rate. Allow a slight pause to develop between breaths. Let your breathing happen comfortably and effortlessly.
Remind yourself that the natural state of life is health and vitality. Invite yourself into the flow of healing that is your birthright. Perhaps you would like to ask for assistance from a spiritual being you associate with healing. Perhaps you will see healing light coming from them shining on you and penetrating to the places in you that need to be healed.
Visualize the affected part of your body. If you have a head cold, sense and visualize the part of your head that is congested. See in your mind your sinuses and nasal passages for instance. Imagine a healing light shining there. This would be a warm color, maybe yellow, gold or pink. Let the light saturate your mucous membranes, and as it does, imagine them drying and shrinking to their most healthy size and shape. Think of openness. Imagine air moving through your nasal passages like wind blowing through a spacious cave. Continue to relax with these images of light, healing, spaciousness, and air moving. Notice if your breathing becomes easier.
In a similar way, if you have a sore throat or cough, observe any tension around the affected area. Notice any thoughts or emotions such as aversion or fear that connect with your coughing or discomfort. Replace them with calm and equanimity. As you feel a cough coming on, instead of tensing up, see if you can just relax. Let it happen if the cough insists on coming, but think of it as a part of the healing, clearing process rather than just a nuisance.
Again visualize a healing light. See it shining down from above and bathing your throat and lungs with goodness. Let the light bring peace and relaxation. If drying is needed, imagine excess fluids drying up. If your throat already feels too dry, imagine soothing, moisture taking away pain and inflammation. Visualize the secretions of your mucous membranes in your throat as protective and medicinal. See in your mind the cells of your immune system cleaning up your respiratory system and leaving it in a state of harmonious balance. Allow anything unwholesome to be released so that your body can dispose of it.
In fact, take a few moments to visualize your blood circulatory system and your lymphatic system cleaning out any debris left behind by the many healing actions of your body’s systems. See your body being purified and becoming more harmonious.
Imagine also that your entire bio-energetic field is filled with light and free of negative influence or impediments to healing. Visualize the life energy in and around you vibrating brilliantly, harmoniously, unencumbered. See that healthy, pulsing life force flowing in you down to the cellular level, to the level of your DNA, and down to the quantum level. See that those minute energy forms that make up the atoms of your body are aligned to bring you health and well-being.
© 2003 Tom Barrett