In my opinion this area of health is the most understudied, underestimated, and most revolutionary of all the topics that will be discussed in this book.  The beginning of your journey into optimal health starts in your mind, as do all things.  If you take radical steps to improve your wellbeing but ignore your mental state, I doubt you will be as successful as you hope to be.  Let me give you an example of how negative thinking can stop the healing process before it even begins.

Early on in my time at Parker University, a friend contacted me seeking help.  This old buddy had developed advanced osteoarthritis, a degenerative disease in his spine that normally is not seen until people are over 6o years of age.  Unfortunately this early onset was attributed to weight gain, which was adding years of stress to his spine.

As you can imagine he was distraught over the pain, but also the prognosis given to him by the medical doctors.  The only real solution given to him was to lose weight.  At the time I had not studied osteoarthritis yet, so I took some time to research the condition, talk to my professors about it, and finally I concluded that the medical doctors were correct with the caveat that chiropractic care can also help to reverse the degenerative process.

Fortunately my friend was already under chiropractic care, so there was hope!  After I was satisfied that I had done my due diligence in researching the condition I called him up to offer my services as a health coach, which he gladly accepted.  “Ok!” I said, “Let’s get started!  The first step is to eliminate liquid toxins like sugary drinks, soda, sweet tea, etc.”  There was a long pause and he finally said, “Ahhhh…I’m not sure I can give up sweet tea.”  My response was to the point, “This is the first step in losing weight, so when you are ready give me a call.”

I’m sorry to report that I have never heard back from my buddy on his attempting to lose weight.  We remain friends to this day, but we don’t discuss health issues.  I figure that he will walk through that door when he is ready, and it is not my job to pressure anyone into changing his or her lifestyle.  My job is to educate and to make people aware of the incredible option that is optimal living!

The point of the story is to show how so many people suffer from the “I could never do that” syndrome.  As a vegetarian I hear that phrase all the time.  “Oh you’re a vegetarian?  I know it’s really healthy but I could never give up bacon.”  I always smile and say, “I understand, bacon is delicious.”  The thing people don’t realize is that salads are delicious too, once you give your body a chance to fall in love with the flavor.

What one person can do, another can do.  I firmly believe in this statement and I live my life by it.  That is the positive mindset that is required to get any change started.  We are all different and special in our own ways, but I don’t think anyone deserves to be put on a pedestal here on earth.  Should you admire people?  Yes!  Should you emulate positive habits of others?  Yes!  That being said, I think you should realize that the people you look up to are just that…people.  The qualities you admire most in them are things that they had to WORK at, I guarantee it.

Many of the successful people that I have encountered have shared the secret to their success.  Hard work, practice, and a positive attitude.  Can you imagine someone being super-successful without believing in themselves first?  Often times what we recognize as genius is the culmination of a lifetime of failures.  Consider that.

Every action begins as a thought, and that thought travels from the brain down the spinal cord to every cell, tissue, and organ in the body.  This is why it is so important to get your thought process straight first and foremost.  Your mind can even affect hormonal levels!

Before you embark on any change, I want you to see yourself enjoying the new life that you chose.  Next go beyond seeing and spend some time feeling.  Imagine how you are going to feel in your new improved body.  You can call it meditation, visualization, whatever you like.  The end result should be the same-preparing your mind for change.

I am confident change would have occurred if my friend had said, “I can imagine myself drinking water, losing weight, living a life free of back pain.”  Anything is possible, but it has to start in your central command center, your brain.  Nobody can put the thoughts in your head except you.

Every day I spend time visualizing my ideal self.  My vision includes my children, my dream home, and of course my future self.  I am in great shape, smiling, happy, and I am enjoying my life.  To me it just makes sense that every possibility in your life begins with a vision.  If you spend time focusing on this vision each day you won’t be surprised when it starts to happen.  Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself, by Dr. Joe Dispenza discusses visualization and meditation techniques, and it is a book I highly recommend.

I also spend time every day listening to positive affirmations.  Another great book, Talking to Yourself Is Not Crazy, by Dr. Larry Markson, taught me the importance of daily positive affirmations.  In his book he gives you three different affirmations.  I couldn’t decide which one I liked the best so I decided to use all three.  Instead of reading them every day I recorded myself reading them aloud into the voice recorder on my phone.  When I get to work I stay in my truck, lean the seat back, close my eyes and listen to myself speaking the positive affirmation aloud.  It takes 4 minutes and 52 seconds, and I am certain this is the most valuable 5 minutes of my day.  I can notice a marked difference on the days that I don’t do my positive affirmation.  I encourage you to try it for yourself and with your kids!

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