If you really want to solve a problem, you want to get down to what is called the “root cause”. A major problem with modern medicine is often the failure to find the root cause — doctors find a cause, but not the cause. They deal with a cause of your symptoms, but without addressing the root cause. The result, especially with chronic conditions, is usually frustration and continued poor health.
In other newsletters, we’ve seen that inflammation can cause cancer and many other diseases. But what causes inflammation? Inflammation is a reaction to the environment, so the environment is the real cause. But then we explored how the mental state controls much of the body’s environment. Your brain is signaling and controlling your body, so your mental state is a cause of that cause. Many signals from the brain cause immediate positive or negative effects. But is that the root cause? What controls your mental state? Well, we know that comes from what you think, both consciously and subconsciously. What controls what you think?
Certainly, your thinking is influenced by what you focus upon and what you choose to think. You can intentionally focus on “happy” thoughts. As the mind can only focus on one thing at a time, meditating on good thoughts is very effective. But simple willpower won’t sustain good thoughts as you go through everyday life. You need something deeper — something that stays with you and permeates your conscious and unconscious thoughts.
Researchers from the University of East Anglia ran a study of volunteers who all faced a feeling that they were not getting along in life as well as others around them. That means that they were inclined to think poor thoughts! As Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy”. If you feel the “grass is greener” all around you, or you are not getting “your fair share” in life, you are not thinking happy thoughts — unless those thoughts are counteracted. In the study, those who scored a high degree of hope in their future, regardless of their current status, were much less likely to engage in certain negative and unhealthy behaviors.
Published in the International Journal of Existential Psychology & Psychotherapy, researchers ran parallel studies which measured hope differently. The first measurement only considered positive goal-oriented thinking as the measure of hope. The second added “spiritual support components”. Both studies showed a strong positive correlation between levels of hope and overall mental outlook, leading to lower levels of depression and anxiety. When the spiritual components were added, a much stronger correlation was found.
The standard definition of hope is “a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.” This hope is helpful, as the study shows. But hope, as defined by the Wiley Online Library, is “the confident expectation of what God has promised and its strength is in His faithfulness.” When our hope comes from God, we have assurance that, no matter what we see here, no matter how bleak our perspective, God is with us and that our future is secure. We have a “sure and certain hope”.
That is why hope can break through bad circumstances and difficult situations. As it does so, it transforms our thoughts. The studies show that such hope not only helps us act in healthy ways, but also strengthens the whole body. Hope causes the brain to release endorphins and enkephalins which can suppress pain and speed healing in the body.
In ScienceDirect, data from the Health and Retirement Study, a database of older adults (over age 50), was studied at three levels of hope across ten typical health conditions. Heart conditions, lung diseases, cancer, arthritis, obesity, chronic pain, stroke, and hypertension were considered — and across the board, hope caused lower incidents of disease. The participants also socialized better, with less loneliness and depression, engaged in less negative health-impacting behaviors such as alcohol or drug abuse, and were more satisfied with life. Even pain perception decreased and pain tolerance improved.
In modern society, maintaining hope can be difficult. News and social media is often outright depressing. With all our modern gadgets and technology, we are more isolated and less engaged socially. We live hurried lives with little time for simple pleasures. Yet we don’t realize that this affluence can harm us, making us sicker.
Start at the root
Getting to the “root cause” is the only way to keep the root from growing new branches. Treating symptoms just chops at some branches. Your health, your happiness, and your sense of meaning in life all come down to hope.
Dr. Nemec’s Comments:
Hope is the anchor of your mind, will and emotions. What does that mean? It means it prevents your mind, emotions and choices from being unstable, but instead tied to a solid Rock that does not change, is always constant and always there.
The root of all of health is and always has been the perceptions and beliefs each of us have. If you believe that you are always going to lose something, then you live in fear. If you believe you are always going to give something, you live in trust. Trust in what? Trusting the Family you really come from who ARE eternal. Remember your situation is temporal no matter how difficult it may seem, whereas your hope is in someone who is eternal and will never change: the anchor and the Rock that gives you peace in any storm.
If you need help in your health journey here are ways we can assist you:
- Outpatient Comprehensive Teaching and Treatment Program-has the most benefit of teaching, treatment, live classes and personalized coaching. This program has the most contact with Dr. Nemec with 3- 6 month programs that can be turned into a regular checking and support program for life. This is our core program that has helped so many restore their health and maintain that restoration for years.
- Inpatient Comprehensive Teaching and Treatment Program-is our four-week intensive inpatient program for those that are not in driving distance, usually over 4 hour drive. This is the program that is an intensive jumpstart with treatment, teaching, live classes and coaching designed for all our international patients along with those in the US that do not live in Illinois. This program is very effective especially when combined with our new membership program support.
- Stay at Home Program-is offered to continental US patients who cannot come to Total Health Institute but still want a more personal, customized plan to restore their health. This program also includes our Learn Membership Program.
- Membership Program is our newest program offered for those that want to work on their health at a high level and want access to the teaching at Total Health Institute along with the Forums: both Dr. Nemec’s posts and other members posting. And also, to have the chance to get personalized questions answered on the conference calls which are all archived in case you miss the call. The Membership Program has 3 levels to choose from: Learn, Overcome and Master. The difference is at the Overcome and Master levels you received one on one calls with Dr. Nemec personalizing your program for your areas of focus.