Article by Angie Webster
The primary thing that causes illness is what we refer to as stress. This is a blanket term that includes most anything that creates resistance to balance and happiness. That can include trauma, unreleased negative emotions, physical injury, unhealthy diet, negative environment and other factors. When our minds or bodies are in a state of stress much of the time and are not able to release it, we tend to become ill or stay ill.
If we want to create an environment that is conducive to health and healing, we have to reverse the stress factor. When the body is not in a state of stress, it naturally works to begin any needed healing and repair. Reiki is one thing that helps the body do this beautifully. It creates a deep state of relaxation, which allows the body’s own healing response to activate. When used as a hands on treatment, as it often is when done in person, Reiki also provides the benefit of touch, which is so critical to our sense of well-being. While some people prefer not to be touched, or to have very limited touch, humans generally require a certain amount of touch in order to be at their healthiest.
When we want to make a difference in our health by reversing stress, the most effective way to do that is to begin changing the way we deal with life on a day to day and minute to minute basis. Most of us are overwhelmed at the thought of suddenly changing our lives, and it doesn’t need to be very drastic. Baby steps are the best way to make most changes.
It took a long time to build the attitudes and defenses you have today and they are there because you need them for some reason. Trying to tear them all down at one time, before you are ready can do more harm than good, and will only create new stress. Taking small steps, making the changes that feel comfortable to you right now will create growth at a pace that makes sense for you.
One small thing you can begin to do that will go a long way toward shifting your attitude and reducing your stress is to reduce criticism and replace it with gratitude. This doesn’t take a lot of time or require you to make any changes to the structure of your life, but it can take a lot of mental effort to implement if you have become stuck in self-criticism. Self-criticism often becomes criticism of others and of life in general. All of these things build toxic emotions all through the day, every day, leading to illness and pain. These thought habits are also destructive to the possibility of healthy relationships.
You can begin the process of replacing self-criticism with gratitude by practicing awareness throughout the day. This is also known as mindfulness. Set the intention each morning when you wake up that you will notice your thoughts as you go through the day. When you notice a critical thought, especially if it is directed at yourself, stop, take a deep breath or two and notice what you are feeling and thinking. Do not place any judgment on the feelings and thoughts, even if it is tempting to do so. The point is to observe them and become aware of what they are. You are learning about yourself.
You may notice that the feelings are painful or uncomfortable. Offer compassion to yourself, maybe by placing your hand over your heart or by giving yourself Reiki for a moment. Even a simple kind thought, such as “It’s OK. I accept you,” can be very helpful. Speak to yourself as kindly as you would speak to a friend or a child who is hurting.
It is also helpful to set the intention each morning that you will find one thing to have gratitude for that day that you had not thought to be grateful for before. Maybe it can be something that has to do with the thing or person you are having the most difficulty not criticizing. See it as a means of blessing the situation rather than stressing over it. In fact, you will find that the more situations and people you can find to send a blessing to throughout your day, the more fulfilled and blessed you will feel. Your stress will naturally decrease, even if you do little else and your life will begin to shift.
Angie Webster is a Reiki Master, Teacher, and Author. Angie’s primary focus is animal Reiki, which she adores. She teaches online classes on energy healing, flower essences, herbalism, and personal growth. Angie often works with nature healing and Earth healing, hoping to better understand our connection with Mother Earth. Angie is the author of Animal Reiki: How it Heals, Teaches & Reconnects Us with Nature and Reiki from A to Z. You can follow her at: angie-webster-healing.teachable.com and on Facebook (facebook.com/angiewebsterhealing).