We all have beliefs. We believe we will wake up tomorrow, even though most of us have no idea how that can happen or how sleep works. We go to bed fearlessly, confident of awakening tomorrow. We have faith in the ability of pilots to fly planes, and we believe that if we board a plane, we will get to our destination. Sometimes we have negative beliefs — maybe we doubt that we can get well from a disease, or that we can make ends meet financially. Negative beliefs generate stress and fear.
Your whole body responds to your beliefs. If you believe you will have a good day today, the messages to the cells of your body is that all is well. If you anticipate a bad day, your cells are getting alert messages of stress and anxiety. Even one single positive or negative thought can shift your body chemistry in response. Positive, relaxed, good thoughts are health promoting.
The effects of optimism, a belief that good things will happen or that the future will be good, was studied by researchers at the Boston University School of Medicine and published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). They studied 71,173 people and found that the most optimistic in the group had a 11% to 15% longer lifespan, and that they had 50% – 70% greater odds of reaching “exceptional longevity” (reaching the age of 85).
Your cells are listening
When you are fearful or stressed, your oxidative stress rises. That means that free radicals are doing cellular damage and can lead to a host of diseases. Long term, the stress can actually shorten telomere lengths of you cells, which effectively means your cells are aging faster. A study also published in PNAS by researchers at the University of California showed both results. The study group was premenopausal women, and those with the highest levels of perceived stress had the equivalent of at least one decade of telomere shortening compared to the low stress group, and they had greater oxidative stress as well as lowered telomerase activity (telomerase is a cellular enzyme that protects telomeres.) The study was showing stress literally shortening the life span of cells. Once telomeres reach a minimal length, cells can no longer reproduce.
Something is built into life itself that responds to hope, gratitude, joy, and a positive outlook for the future. How you nurture your thoughts, and the beliefs that you hold, will affect all the cells of your body.
Your brain is listening
You use your brain to think — it is the mechanism that you use, but it isn’t the thoughts themselves. Thoughts come from the mind, and can impact the brain positively or negatively. As your mind thinks more positively, your brain responds in ways that make the positive thoughts easier and more frequent. Good thinking is a positive feedback cycle. Practicing simple gratitude for loved ones, the blessings in your life, or even how beautiful the day is trains your mind to think this way more often. Like running good fuel or bad through an engine, the thoughts help or foul your brain as it processes them.
This also has been shown by research. In a study published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia, researchers at the University College London studied 290 older adults, assessing their level of repetitive negative thinking (RNT) over time. Over a 48 month period they saw higher RNT caused a more rapid decline of cognitive functioning and memory function (both short and long term). Worse, when examining the PET (Positron Emission Tomography) scans, they saw higher buildup of tau and amyloid proteins in the brains of those in the high RNT group. Tau and amyloid buildup blocks communication of neurons and eventually shuts down memory.
Your brain is particularly susceptible to the power of thoughts, because it directly handles them. It is a delicate machine which can be easily damaged.
You see the value of positive thinking, but how can you cultivate a life of positive thinking? If you don’t believe that life is good, if you don’t believe that your future is also going to be good, how can you keep thinking positive thoughts? Will repeating good sayings over and over do it? Well, that might help, but the negative thoughts are lurking and will find opportunity to emerge. The COVID scare is an example: how many are hearing negative news and then believing that, no matter what they do, that COVID will get them sooner or later, either scarring them for life or killing them? Some have changed their lifestyles significantly because of the worry, not considering that the fear and stress could cause more damage than COVID. “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” — President Roosevelt said this during a time of economic depression and looming global war. Fear is crippling, but optimism is enabling, yet both come from belief.
Belief in what, or who?
Would you agree that much of life is outside of your control? There are thousands of ways that things can go sour that you can do nothing about. Is life random and chaotic, so you can’t have any real security? Or do you believe that your life has meaning, purpose, and a bright future?
If you pray, you are connecting with God. Of course that presumes God exists. If you don’t believe in a God or Source, how can you be truly, chronically optimistic? What is your stability based upon?
If you believe God is ready to strike you for a misstep, or that He doesn’t care about you personally, you won’t even want to connect with Him. You may do so out of ritual, hoping that somehow He will hear you and respond, but your repetitive negative thinking quotient is probably as bad.
This has also been studied. While studies aren’t proof, they do show whether there is a connection between certain actions and certain results. A study can’t prove the existence of God, but it can show that belief in God, especially an active belief of prayer and religious involvement, does make a difference. Published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, researchers at the Marcus Institute of Integrative Health, Thomas Jefferson University as well as the Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation on Tucson, AZ studied the impact of “religious and spiritual involvement” on Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) risk. The most stunning finding was that those who had a high sense of purpose in life were 2.4 times less likely to develop AD! They also note that various studies suggest that psychological wellbeing reduces inflammation, cardiovascular disease, and various disabilities. This meshes with the University of California study that showed fear and worry increases oxidative stress, which is inflammatory.
Finally, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston studied questionnaire data from 74,534 women over twenty years. At the extremes, they verified that those who attended religious services more than once per week had a 33% lower overall mortality than those who never attend. The study also showed that risk of cardiovascular disease was reduced by 27% and cancer mortality was reduced by 21%. Many were in the middle, attending religious services less frequently, and they showed less improvement in mortality risks.
Prayer is connecting with God, learning to hear His voice. He knows our needs better than we do, and answers to prayer may be different than we expect, but they will be right. But if you know that you are in the presence of an all-knowing, all-caring, all-powerful God, you can have “peace that passes all understanding.” We see that when we are resting in someone bigger than ourselves, our very cells are responding in an orderly, predictable manner to this environment. The mind directs the thoughts which tell the cells how to react, and if we are listening to God’s mind, we have the best guidance for our own minds. Meditation and prayer is the way to listen to the voice that is always speaking- His voice. When we do we are sending messages of peace through our whole body. That is the best way to live, and scientific studies are showing that it decreases disease and increases longevity.
If you seek the Source of all that Is you will find peace.
Dr. Nemec’s Review
What is prayer? Is it asking? Is it a grocery list of needs to present to God? Is it work?
Prayer is communication. Now if there is a loving creator of everything and who made you it just makes common sense you would be drawn to get to know this deity. Since our most precious relationships among each other are family, then let’s call this creator and sustainer the head of the family. Let’s call him Father. Is there a difference between you asking someone you do not know for something as opposed to someone you do know that gave life to you and loves you unconditionally and would give His life for you? Yes — big difference! This is the basis of prayer. Either we are learning to listen to the Father’s voice or were are in a sense sending emails to an anonymous person. This is kind of like hoping you win the lottery. “Maybe someone is listening and will respond with something beneficial to me.” This is not prayer. This is wishing just like flipping coins, it is basic randomness. For prayer to be powerful prayer must be based on the strongest relationship. Prayer must be based on knowing Father. Not knowing about Him but knowing HIM. You can read a book about a person but that would be filtered through others’ beliefs and perceptions or you can actually get to know the person yourself and develop a personal relationship. This is prayer. It is personally listening to Father’s voice and His voice sounds good. It is the peace that transcends all understanding of the mind because He speaks to your heart, your spirit — not your mind. Einstein said “ I want to know the thoughts of God, all the rest is mere details.” So spend more time learning to listen instead of talking and you will eventually hear the most beautiful voice you have ever heard.
Here are the ways we can help you in your health journey:
- Outpatient Comprehensive Teaching and Treatment Program-has the most benefit of teaching, treatment, live classes and personalized coaching. This program has the most contact with Dr. Nemec with 3- 6 month programs that can be turned into a regular checking and support program for life. This is our core program that has helped so many restore their health and maintain that restoration for years.
- Inpatient Comprehensive Teaching and Treatment Program-is our four-week intensive inpatient program for those that are not in driving distance, usually over 4 hour drive. This is the program that is an intensive jumpstart with treatment, teaching, live classes and coaching designed for all our international patients along with those in the US that do not live in Illinois. This program is very effective especially when combined with our new membership program support.
- Stay at Home Program-is offered to continental US patients who cannot come to Total Health Institute but still want a more personal, customized plan to restore their health. This program also includes our Learn Membership Program.
- Membership Program is our newest program offered for those that want to work on their health at a high level and want access to the teaching at Total Health Institute along with the Forums: both Dr. Nemec’s posts and other members posting. And also, to have the chance to get personalized questions answered on the conference calls which are all archived in case you miss the call. The Membership Program has 3 levels to choose from: Learn, Overcome and Master. The difference is at the Overcome and Master levels you received one on one calls with Dr. Nemec personalizing your program for your areas of focus.