Lissa Rankin, MD is a physician and author. She left her medical practice in 2007 and became a leader in the field of mind/body medicine. She is the author of “Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof You Can Heal Yourself.” She teaches how to heal the body by healing the mind and being healthy in all aspects of life, not only through healthy behaviors like good nutrition, exercise, and adequate sleep, but also through healthy relationships, work, creative expression, spirituality, sexuality, finances, and living environment. She believes in self-healing and in empowering patients to tap into the mind’s power to heal the body.
I like what she has to say, and I agree with her: our thoughts determine the quality of our lives and the quality of our health.
She lists a series of factors that are essential for our physical health, such as:
- Having healthy relationships
- Having a healthy professional life
- Being able to express oneself creatively
- Being spiritually connected
- Having a healthy sex life
- Being healthy financially
- Living in a healthy environment
All these factors contribute to our mental, spiritual, emotional and physical health. When one or more of those are missing, we lose our balance, and mental and physical illnesses pop up.
The problem is that many of those factors are not easily attainable. For instance, if being financially healthy — not worrying about money – is one of the ingredients of a healthy body, than, unfortunately, the majority of Earth’s population is destined to be sick.
Here are some facts and statistics about poverty in our planet:
- Almost half the world — over three billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day. At least 80% of humanity lives on less than $10 a day.
- More than 80 percent of the world’s population lives in countries where income differentials are widening.
- The poorest 40 percent of the world’s population accounts for 5 percent of global income. The richest 20 percent accounts for three-quarters of world income.
- According to UNICEF, 22,000 children die each day due to poverty. And they “die quietly in some of the poorest villages on earth, far removed from the scrutiny and the conscience of the world. Being meek and weak in life makes these dying multitudes even more invisible in death.”
And these are just a few facts and statistics. There are many more in the site from where I got these numbers: http://www.globalissues.org/article/26/poverty-facts-and-stats
All this brings to my mind Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Human Needs.” Maslow used the terms Physiological, Safety, Belongingness and Love, Esteem, Self-Actualization and Self-Transcendence needs to describe the pattern that human motivations generally move through. The most fundamental and basic four layers are what Maslow called “deficiency needs:” physical needs, security needs, friendship and love needs, and esteem needs. If these “deficiency needs” are not met, the individual will feel anxious and tense, and the mental and physical health will be affected. Maslow’s theory suggests that the most basic level of needs must be met before the individual will strongly desire (or focus motivation upon) the higher level needs.
Merging what Abraham Maslow said and what Lissa Rankin is saying – and I ask beforehand forgiveness to both authors for taking this liberty – we can conclude that if you are hungry, without a safe shelter, worried about your survival, unemployed, underemployed, working in a job that you don’t like, working in an unhealthy work environment, being underpaid, not having enough to cover your health care expenses may something bad happen, making just enough money to go by, most likely you will not be able to focus on what you need to be physically and mentally healthy; most likely you will not enjoy healthy relationships, you will not have time and venues to express yourself creatively, you will not have time and energy for spiritual exploration and growth, you will not have time and energy to build a good relationship and have a healthy sex life, you will not have the means to live in a healthy environment. (1)
Now, let’s pause for a moment and remember that our thoughts determine the quality of our lives. Faulty mindsets, many times, manifest unhealthy relationships, lead individuals to accept poor pay, unhealthy work conditions, and other sorts of abuse, which lead to mental and physical disease.
Happiness and optimism are states of mind that have a positive effect on everyone’s health. They bring about success. A positive mindset manifests healthy relationships, a good professional life, a healthy financial situation. It opens up opportunities for a creative life, for spiritual exploration and for a healthy sexuality. Happiness is independent, for instance, from one’s wealth. Don’t you know wealthy individuals who are constantly complaining, and poor fellows who are always smiling, happy and grateful for the life they have?
We have to remember that have the power to control our thoughts. We can let go of the negative ones, and replace them with positive ones. Our health and happiness depend on our mindset. We can look at every situation in life and choose to see abundance instead of scarcity. We can choose to be optimistic instead of pessimistic. We can all practice positive thinking, and benefit from it. We can learn how to nurture positivism. I am a living witness of the positive outcomes of this practice.
I have covered this very important subject in more detail in other writings, and I will continue to do so. For now, let’s focus on the idea that those whose most basic needs are unmet are the ones most prone to disease.
So here I go again.
The world does not have to be like this.
We can organize ourselves to live on this planet in a much better way.
This is a place of abundance, and there is more than enough for everybody.
We can assure to everybody life, liberty and the means to pursue happiness.
We can organize ourselves so every family can have what they need to survive: food, water, clothing, shelter, sanitation, and a clean and healthy environment to live.
We can guarantee health care and education for everyone.
We can eradicate the basic worries with survival and grant everyone the means for a dignified life.
And we can do better.
Instead of living in fear of not having enough;
Instead of oppressing and exploiting others for personal gain;
Instead of accumulating more than the necessary and depriving others of the essential means to live with dignity;
Instead of living in a mode of constant competition and fight…
We can tame our fears, change our ways, and live much better.
We are here to express ourselves fully and give our unique gifts to the world, what Maslow referred to as Self-Actualization and Self-Transcendence.
And we are here to help others develop themselves, so they too can express themselves fully and be able to give the gifts that only they, and no one else, can give to the family of the Earth.
We can do better.
We can become a network of individuals who support one another on our journeys to become the best we can be.
We can become a network of individuals who look after one another, and help one another reach those stages of development where each one of us will be able to give our best contributions to the world.
We need a new paradigm for a new world.
We need a new set of beliefs to manifest a better world.
We need to embrace solidarity, cooperation and collaboration as the values to live by.
We must help one another find ways to enjoy healthy professional lives where we may be able to do what we feel called to do, where we may be able to fully express our purpose in life, where we may give our best contribution to the world, and where we may be able to enjoy financial rewards that will allow us to live worry-free lives so we can concentrate our efforts in bringing Heaven to Earth.
We can do it. Believe it!
(1) Please, check my reflection titled “Peace is an offspring of justice.”