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Inflammation & illness: Mind-body stresses and the process of self-defense

Inflammation is widely recognized as the body's attempt at self-protection. The purpose of inflammation being to activate biochemical mechanisms to remove harmful stimuli, including damaged cells, irritants, or pathogens, and thus foster the healing process and a restoration of body integrity and wholeness. We observe inflammation occur when there is an injury, as well as when tissues are infected. We also see inflammatory immune system reactions when the body is exposed to foods and foreign materials that it can't adequately process. These inflammatory conditions are the body reacting to what it perceives as an intense assault of some kind, not merely everyday ordinary stresses that the body is used to handling comfortably.

If we consider how the body functions as an extension of the mind, especially the "unconscious" aspects of our consciousness, we may explore how physical illnesses and inflammation relate to psychological distress and trauma. We may consider the emotion of anger as related to inflammation, as we consider that when someone builds up anger they appear "irritated" or "inflamed," the same terminology we use in describing reactions of the body. From a psychological perspective, why do we experience anger? When we feel threatened or mistreated we need to be stimulated to take action for self-preservation. Anger activates our adrenalin and incites us to take action. If we are able to effectively express our anger and get a matter resolved then the anger is typically released from our consciousness. If we are able to forgive whatever has occurred then we also can release the anger from our consciousness. In life, those resolutions often fail to occur. We often encounter situations where no action can resolve a situation, where there is no way to "right" a perceived "wrong." Unless we can fully forgive and accept what has occurred we are likely to carry the anger or irritation within our consciousness.

Since the soul and psyche ultimately seek resolution and balance there will be some expression of the unreleased emotion and unresolved issue. This often occurs via the physical body through symptoms of illness and disease. When the vibrational and informational pattern of anger (with associated feelings such as irritation, resentment, hatred, frustration, etc.) is present in our consciousness and energy field it will tend to foster bodily disturbances that reflect those patterns. Stress hormones will be more abundant, the immune system will overreact to various foods, scents, chemicals, etc. The inflammatory process can affect various organs, as well as the skin, muscles, joints, and other tissues. Most chronic diseases involve some inflammatory process, and the most common death-inducing diseases such as heart disease and cancer have been linked to inflammatory conditions in the body.

There are many things we can do to help reverse and heal those inflammatory processes. On the physical level we can change our diet to one that has inflammation reducing foods and herbs, take inflammation reducing supplements, get extra rest, massage, hydrotherapy, and avoid things that trigger inflammation. Energetically we would want to use cooling (water) element energies and avoid fire element energies. Anything that helps the nervous system in a natural way to rest and release tension would be beneficial. Emotional and spiritual healing would be highly beneficial, as trapped low vibratory or discordant emotions inhibit healing. When emotions like anger, resentment, sadness, and fear are cleared away the energy of life flows more freely.

To help heal anger and resentments the process of "Radical Forgiveness" is highly recommended. Author Colin Tipping has written Radical Forgiveness and Radical Self-Forgiveness as guides to help us release the anger and resentment we carry toward ourselves, toward others, toward God, and toward life. Tipping points out that many ordinary approaches to forgiveness fail because they don't truly shift the consciousness and perspective of the person to a level where genuine acceptance can occur. If one is attached to one's ego self and seeing the self as a victim then deep forgiveness is not likely to occur. Only when Life is seen as a spiritual process of evolution for the Soul can experiences be reprocessed in a way that fully integrates them into a construct where they are accepted and embraced. Radical Forgiveness is designed to help facilitate that shift in perspective; that type of shift often occurs spontaneously within people who are engaged in a path of spiritual development or spiritual exploration.

For those who would like to be inspired about how emotional and spiritual healing can clear away physical disease, there are many people who have shared their own healing stories to help empower others. Louise Hay, creator of Hay House Publishing, wrote the classic best-seller You Can Heal Your Life, which details her recovery from cancer. Her understanding of the mind-body connection has been further elaborated upon by co-author Mona Lisa Schulz, M.D. in the newer book All Is Well. Brandon Bays, another cancer survivor, wrote The Journey to share her healing process with readers. Near-Death experiencer Anita Moorjani recently shared her experience of spontaneous healing in Dying To Be Me, which documents the spontaneous recovery and healing wisdom she received via her near-death experience. What these women experienced is possible for us all when we open ourselves up to healing on a deep psychological and spiritual level.

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