Say “Thank You” and Get Well Sooner

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[originally published in The Meadville Tribune’s Health & Science section, titled: “Thank you! Healing power of positive emotions” 2/22/2011]


Say, “Thank You” and Get Well Sooner:The Healing Power of Positive Emotions


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“Every adversity… carries with it the Seed of an equivalent or a greater Benefit.”   Napoleon Hill (1)


One of the primary reasons prompting people to seek care from their physicians is the onset of pain. This is true across the board for all health care professions. Patients often show up on their doctor’s doorstep with a panic-laden “fix me!” emblazoned across their pain-induced expressions. But, what if, as Napoleon Hill states, there is a seed of an equivalent or greater benefit hidden within their malady?


When we are in pain, we experience contracture in our physiology. Muscular contraction and muscle guarding leads to spasm and trigger point formation. Byproducts of this prolonged muscle activity (e.g. lactic acid) serve to self-perpetuate the cycle of unrelenting muscle activity. Increases in sympathetic nervous system activity (the stress response) cause cardiovascular contracture resulting in increases in both heart rate and blood pressure. Furthermore, gastric contracture causes indigestion and nausea while intestinal contracture leads to constipation and/or diarrhea. Immunologic contracture results in immuno-suppression. Meanwhile, all of the above contractures serve to magnify the pain, forcing the patient into a more self-absorbed state of mind.


Breakthroughs in awareness concerning the lack of any true distinction between mind and body have led to some very interesting and creative approaches to bringing a patient back to wholeness or wellness. The Stress of Life, written by Hans Selye in the 1920s, detailed the vast negative effects of the negative emotions on body chemistry. O. Carl Simonton, M.D. writes in Getting Well Again how “chronic stress results in a suppression of the immune system” (2) and further reports “the physician Galen, writing nearly 2000 years ago, observed that cheerful women were less prone to cancer than were women of a depressed nature.” (3) More recent studies out of Ohio University showed that blisters healed 40% slower in those exposed to negative emotions compared to those exposed to neutral ones. (4) In other words, negative emotions produce negative biochemical changes in the body whereas positive emotions produce positive biochemical changes.


Anyone familiar with the Law of Attraction knows that whatever you focus on expands. Wherever attention goes, energy flows. Patients who become completely focused on what’s wrong with themselves and all of their symptoms actually help to perpetuate their situation. Because we all have the power to choose where we focus our attention, to choose our thoughts, we can choose to shift our attention away from being sick to being well. Dr. John Hagelin, a world-renowned quantum physicist, states: “Happier thoughts lead to essentially a happier biochemistry. A happier, healthier body…our thoughts and emotions are continuously reassembling, reorganizing, recreating our body.” (5)


While certainly a distinction must be made between the need for, or not the need for, crisis care, this does open up some interesting possibilities for improving your recovery. Obviously, in a crisis situation, that is the time for emergency room care. No amount of positive mental energy is going to adequately offset the need for crisis intervention once the limitations of matter have been exceeded. For instance, if you experience sudden onset chest pain, go to the emergency room! However, in more minor, non-life threatening situations, you can give this a try.


Just like you have to have light to have dark and loud to have quiet, there are both positive and negative emotions. Negative emotions include fear, hate, worry, intolerance, judgment, hopelessness and depression. Like pain, all negative emotions cause a contraction of your physiology. Positive emotions, on the other hand, expand your physiology. Positive emotions include gratitude, acceptance, love, joy, hope and optimism. Positive emotions and negative emotions cannot co-exist, one replaces the other. Therein lies the beauty. By choosing to focus your energy on one, it automatically replaces the other. This is why sugar pills work (aka the placebo effect). They replace negative emotions with hope. As stated before, negative emotions cannot coexist in the presence of hope. As the body shifts from contraction to expansion, on a multitude of levels, the healing process begins.


Probably the easiest way to implement this strategy to health is by making the practice of uncommon appreciation, or gratitude, a way of life. Everyone can find something to be thankful for in their lives. There is a wall plaque in my home that says, “Contentment is not the fulfillment of what you want, but the realization of how much you already have.” I would go one step further and state, Health is not the restoration of what you lack, but the realization (and gratitude for) how much wellness you already have! At the very least, if you haven’t got all the thing you want, be grateful for the things you don’t have that you don’t want. Bottom line, find something in your life to be grateful for, focus on that, expand your physiology and get well sooner!


As O. Carl Simonton, M.D. states, “the body is demanding attention in the only way it knows how…illness is an opportunity for the individual to achieve emotional growth.” (6)



Dr. Jon M. Ketcham, Author of “iContractor 1” & Dream re-Kindler to Earth-bound Travelers of Light

Always Believe In Your Dreams!





(1)  Think And Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill p. 55

(2)  Getting Well Again, O. Carl Simonton, M.D., Stephanie Matthews-Simonton, James L. Creighton p.54

(3)  Getting Well Again, p.57

(4)  Experience Life magazine, October 2010, “Upgrade Your Brain”, p. 56

(5)  The Secret, Rhonda Byrne p. 133

(6)  Getting Well Again, p. 131

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