The evidence that supports the causal link between mind-body interaction is indisputable.  “The extent to which we love ourselves determines whether we eat right, get enough sleep, smoke, wear seat belts; exercise and so on. Each of these choices is a statement of how much we care about living…self-love has come to mean only vanity and narcissism,” writes Bernie S. Siegel.

Dr. Siegel also states that the above decisions control about 90 percent of the factors that determine our state of health.  We have the ability to construct narratives of our lives based upon experiences and our experiences along with other factors determine how we ‘see’ ourselves and view life.

John P. Arden, PhD wrote:  “The frontal lobe – and particularly its foremost section, the PFC – decides, through its powers of attention and emotional regulatory skills, what is important and what is not.  The hippocampus provides the context for any memories that are associated with the situation…”  The more you describe your ongoing experiences in a particular way, the stronger the neural circuits that represent those thoughts will become your narratives and can be positive or negative.”

This information is important for us to know because of the temptation to create self-destructive narratives.  What we believe about ourselves is taken on by the body and its tissues and organ systems.  The mind does not act only through our conscious choices…Many of its effects are achieved directly on the body’s tissues, without any awareness on our part.  Consider some of our common expressions:  “He’s a pain in the neck/ass,” “Get off my back,” “This problem is eating me up alive,”  or “You’re breaking my heart.”  The body responds to the mind’s messages, whether conscious or unconscious.

“The emotional tone and perspective with which you describe each experience can potentially rewire your brain.”  “Interpreting or labeling helps you to make sense of your experiences.  Psychologists call this a narrative.

The temptation to settle for less than who we really are can be a major life narrative, and the excuses – fear based – that are generated to justify this type of self-mockery and is known by the body.  The temptation to be less than we are is profoundly consequential.

Seigel notes:  “In chronic rheumatoid arthritis, for example, there is often a conscious restriction of one’s own achievements.  When I mentioned this to my mother, who has arthritis, she agreed, “Yes, that’s me.  I’ve belonged to many organizations, and I would work my way up to be vice-presidents, but when I was offered the presidency, I would say, “No, I’m too involved with my family.  I have to refuse.”

There is the temptation of a lifetime of self-denial that is not healthy, and in which one’s family is used as an excuse for acute self-justification.  It is important that we come to realize that there are some narratives that are counter-productive to our growth, maturity, and enjoyment of life.