Louise Hay changed how I thought of the mind-body connection. I read her book Heal Your Body when I was fresh out of college. It talked of the healing power of our bodies, and acknowledged what I had long suspected- that our bodies hold the miracle of self-healing, if we just give them the chance.
It also opened up my eyes to how our thoughts affect what happens within. Prior to reading her book, it hadn’t occurred to me that our minds affect us on a physical level. It was an eye-opening experience.
Louise Hay was a pioneer in the self-help movement and passed away at the age of 90 on August 30, 2017. When I heard the news, I reached for the book. She wrote Heal Your Body in the 1970’s, but her insight is still relevant. Reading her words once again, made me remember how important her message had been back then, and how applicable it continues to be today.
Examples From the Book
Heal Your Body provides a list of problems, the probable mental cause associated with them, and the affirmations we can think to bring healing or resolution. For example:
Acne is caused by “not accepting the self” or “disliking the self,” and the affirmation to think of is “I love and approve of myself. I am loving and lovable.”
Allergies are caused by “denying your own power” and require the affirmation, “The world is safe and friendly. I am safe. I am at peace with life.”
Anxiety is caused by “not trusting the flow and the process of life” and can be resolved by thinking, “The past is over. I choose to love and approve of myself in the now.”
Arthritis is caused from “feeling unloved; criticism; and resentment” and is resolved by thinking “I am love. I now choose to love and approve of myself. I see others with love.”
Back problems “represent the support of life” and can be resolved by thinking “I know that life always supports me.”
High blood pressure arises from a “longstanding emotional problem not solved,” and can be alleviated by thinking, “I joyously release the past. I am at peace.”
Constipation can be caused from “refusing to release old ideas; stuck in the past; sometimes stinginess.” It can be resolved by thinking, “As I release the past, the new and fresh and vital enter. I allow life to flow through me.”
Gray hair comes with “stress; a belief in pressure and strain,” and can be resolved by thinking, “I am at peace and comfortable in every area of my life. I am strong and capable.”
Headaches arise from “invalidating the self; self-criticism; fear.” They can be resolved by thinking, “I love and approve of myself. I see myself and what I do with eyes of love. I am safe.”
Neck problems come from “refusing to see other sides of a question; stubbornness; inflexibility.” They are resolved by thinking “It is with flexibility and ease that I see all sides of an issue. There are endless ways of doing things and seeing things. I am safe.”
These are just 10 examples of the multitude of problems listed in the book. Louise Hay suggests looking up a problem and its possible cause. She recommends we think about the cause and see if it applies to our lives. If it does, then she suggests that we be willing to change our thoughts, and that we repeat the thoughts every time we think about the problem, even if it is multiple times a day. If it doesn’t, then she suggests that we think about what may be going on in our lives that is causing the problem. Then, considering how we can change our mindset to bring resolution.
My Current Take
In my personal life, and in the advice I give my clients, I do not advocate for purely a mental connection with our bodies as a way to heal. I have definitely recognized that it is part of the process. The mind is big factor in the healing process, but it isn’t the whole story. We are holistic beings, and everything affects us. Along the mind, we must also include our spirit, lifestyle, movement, diet, environment, friends, family, support, career, and the various other factors that make up our life.
Quotes from the Book
Even so, Louise Hay’s words ring true to me today, as they did back then. I leave you with my favorite quotes from Heal Your Body (1988):
“For us to become whole and healthy, we must balance the body, mind and spirit.”“No matter how dire their predicament seems to be, I KNOW if they are WILLING to do the mental work of releasing and forgiving, almost anything can be healed.”“The way to control your life is to control your choice of words and thoughts.”“By changing our thinking patterns, we can change our experiences.”“In order to permanently eliminate a condition, we must first work to dissolve the mental cause.”“I have learned that for every condition in our lives, there is a NEED FOR IT. Otherwise, we would not have it. The symptom is only an outer effect. We must go within to dissolve the mental cause.”
Hay, L. (1988). Heal Your Body- The Mental Causes for Physical Illness and the Metaphysical Way to Overcome Them. Carlsbad, CA: Hay House Inc.