Yes You Can!

by Stephen Mills on April 5, 2009

Everest

The Problems

  • “I Can’t.”
  • “I’ll Try.”
  • “I wish I could.”
  • “I don’t have time.”
  • “I’ll Do My Best.”
  • “I’ll see if I can work it in.”
  • “I’ll be there if I can.”
  • “I can’t get my work done.”
  • “I don’t have any free time for myself.”
  • “It’s my genes.”
  • “I can’t help it.”
  • “I can’t seem to stop.”
  • “I’m Sick.”
  • “I don’t feel good.”
  • “They make me really mad.”
  • “He is driving me crazy.”
  • “I am sick and tired of…”
  • “I’m losing my mind.”
  • “I’m retarded.”

These are examples of the negative and limiting language of self-talk that I used to create in an almost unending stream every day.  Those are only a few of the negative thoughts I flooded myself with daily.  Whether we are conscious of it or not, many of us do this constantly.  Approximately 85% of the thoughts you are processing at any one time are being processed by your non-conscious mind.  If you have any negative thoughts at the conscious level you can be assured you have 5 times as many at the non-conscious level.

For the last several years I put in 80 hours of work almost every single week and often up to 100.  That’s not easy to do and if you don’t believe me just do the math.  I slept 3 to 4 hours a night and sometimes stayed up all night.  I could go 48 hours without sleep with little difficulty.

For 35 years I have eaten a high-starch, high-sugar, high-refined carbohydrate, high-fat diet with almost no fruits and vegetables or fiber.  My genes tend to make me slim but I abused them so much I was 70 pounds overweight.

My exercise routine was to go from my house to my car and then from the car to the office.  After that I rolled around in my chair.  At home I camped out in a recliner.

I suffer cognitive difficulties.  My headaches started every morning and got severe every day by mid-afternoon.  My joints and muscles ached.  I suffered chronic fatigue for about as long as I can remember.  I often felt nauseated and dizzy.  I had asthma and allergies and took allergy shots for many years.  My brain was foggy.

I was irritable and prone to bouts of anger and frustration.  I was moody as hell and people around me knew when to leave me alone.  My neck, shoulders, arms, hands, upper back, butt, and legs tingled with pain and numbness.  It was getting to the point where some days I couldn’t hold my head steady enough to type on my computer.  It was a struggle to think.  My legs were restless and frequently jerked in the evening and at night.  These are just a few of the physical symptoms I had.  The list is long.  Nothing was ever fixed and the list just kept growing.

Over the years I believe I have had every medical test known to modern science.  I have been given every blood test and every MRI, EEG, Cat-scan, x-ray, nerve conduction, cardiac, pulmonary, and even some gene tests.  Most of these multiple times.

A while back I received a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis from my neurologist.  A second opinion disagreed with that diagnosis, so the bottom line is that the doctors still don’t know what is causing my symptoms.  I decided not to go for a tie-breaker opinion.  I was taking 12 prescription drugs daily and most of them multiple capsules per day.  In some cases I was taking double the maximum FDA approved dose.  In addition I gobbled Ibuprofen like it was candy.

I am a highly scientific person and I believe in modern western medicine.  Despite years of “I don’t see anything wrong”, I kept going back for more and getting new prescriptions for the newest drug.  It probably won’t surprise you to learn that I was being treated for depression.  A neuropsychiatrist recommended Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

The Changes

Last year I made a simple decision.  I decided to take my life back.  This simple decision led to a few other simple decisions which I will describe below.  This was not a blinding light of inspiration from above.  It was nothing more than a result of simple reflection.  I could either do something or continue to complain and swallow drugs.  I could either do something or continue in a downward spiral of physical and mental destruction.

I decided I knew more about myself than the doctors knew about me.  I decided that nobody was doing anything to me.  The universe was not doing it, the doctors were not doing it, my employer was not doing it, my friends and family were not doing it.  I was doing it to myself.

Positivity

The first major change I made was to stop the negative self-talk.  I still fall into it once in a while but it is no longer the dominant theme of my self talk.  Now I start my day with the below affirmations in a mind movie.  You should try mind movies because they allow you to mix text, pictures, and music into a great experience.

1. I feel terrific.
2. I’m happy to be alive.
3. I can make my life anything I want it to be.
4. I love my work.
5. I’m getting healthier every day.
6. Yes!
7. Each day I’m getting closer to my goals.
8. I cannot fail – only get results.
9. I am already a success.
10. If I persist, nothing can stop me.
11. I’m willing to do whatever is necessary to succeed.
12. I’m happy this very moment.
13. I completely and totally forgive myself and others for mistakes of the past.
14. I will always keep the child within me alive.
15. I’m unique in all the world.
16. I can do it.
17. I am what I learn.
18. My knowledge will save me and can never be taken away.
19. The world does not reward average people well so I will be extraordinary.
20. I will write with honesty and feeling.

Thanks to Ted Nicholas for giving me that marvelous list.  It’s so good I didn’t even change it.

Check out this article I wrote for a marvelous way to tip into life flourishing: Positivity Leads to a Flourishing Life

Self-Help

I’ve read self-help books for many years, but I almost never did anything with them.  It was more of an intellectual exercise for me.  I love books and I love the personal development topic.  I spent all my time reading about what I should do and never spent any time doing it.  So when I made the decision to do something I had a lot of resources to draw upon.  So I simply decided to start practicing what I had learned and ironically had helped other people to do.

Sleep

I made the choice to get a good night’s sleep.  As luck (more probably my non-conscious mind) would have it almost immediately after changing my attitude and self-talk, I stumbled onto a marvelous sleep program called Sleep Tracks.  For more information on sleep and a link check out my article: Optimal Sleep – How to Get it Every Night.

Blogging

I decided I wanted to write a blog.  I had wanted to do this for quite some time but I always told myself I didn’t have time.  Well, I wanted to do it so I made time and did it.  It’s really a simple choice.  Decide what you want to do and do it.  We all like to make things complex and difficult.  I think we are subconsciously trying to find a way not to do them because we are afraid.

I don’t work more than about 50 hours a week anymore.  That gives me a lot of time to pursue other interests such as blogging.  Blogging takes time if you are serious about it.

Prescription Drugs

I made the simple choice to get off my drugs.  Slowly and surely I experimented with lower doses and weaned myself off of many of them.  I am almost done and I am happy to say that as of yesterday I only took my nighttime restless leg pill.  Even that I intend to drop eventually.  Here in Houston springtime, I didn’t even take my allergy or asthma medications and I was free and clear all day long despite being outside in the pollen saturated air.

I am no longer messing myself up with a cocktail of pharmaceuticals.  It was amazing how much better I felt after I started dropping my prescriptions.  The patient was healing himself.  I have an appointment with my neurologist this month and it will be the first appointment in five months.  I hope to tell him I am no longer taking any prescriptions.  I almost don’t want to go at all.  I remain undecided at this point.

Please note that I would never recommend to anyone that you stop taking a prescription.  That is an intensely personal choice of which you are the owner of the choice and the consequences.

Diet

Every time you put something into your mouth, you are essentially taking a drug. The incredibly complex machine that is your biology runs on what you put into it.  Put in poisonous drugs and you get poisoned.  Put in healthy food and you get healthy.  It is as simple as that.  I no longer eat gluten (wheat, barley, oats), dairy, or sugar.  I’m strict on this now and I remain undecided about whether I will ever loosen up on it.  I am loading up with fruits, vegetables, and lean protein.  I would guess at least 90% of what I used to eat I no longer eat and 90% of what I do eat I never used to eat.  I used to tell people I didn’t eat nuts and berries when they wanted to know what I liked.  Now I eat nuts and berries all day long.

Supplements

I have been balancing my brain and body chemistry with additional supplements and as a result of that and my dietary changes and I am feeling great.  I didn’t think it would ever be possible for me to feel this way.  I had resigned myself to a life a feeling ill and the good days would be when I didn’t feel real bad.  I don’t think I have felt this good my entire adult life and that covers the last 27 years.

I am a firm believer in supplements and I warn you to be careful not to put much stock in some of the recent findings from long-term studies that show them to not be very effective.  Your body chemistry is very complex and often supplements have to be taken together and with food to be properly absorbed and utilized.  By their very nature these studies have to isolate the supplement they are studying and so it has to be taken without being part of a larger program of supplements.  That is not how you should take supplements so it is useless to study them that way.

A few things I would like mention.  Just because you get enough of something to keep from getting a disease caused by its lack, does not mean you are getting the optimal amount.  The daily recommended amounts are based upon how much you need to not get sick, they are not a scientific optimum.

Secondly, everyone is different.  Most of us have genes that do not absorb nutrients in the way that others do.  In that case you need a lot more or a different form than is available in your food.

Finally, in the modern world it is nearly impossible to get what you need in the right way in the food supply.  Trying getting the right Omega 3 balance without poisoning yourself with mercury saturated fish.  A large number of New Yorkers are being poisoned by toxic mercury because they eat sushi.  It’s much better to get molecularly distilled fish oil supplements to round out this critical dietary need.

Exercise

I made the simple decision to start walking and I spend 30 to 60 minutes doing it every day.  I want to start lifting weights and doing more strenuous aerobic exercising but I so enjoy the walks I haven’t made the move yet.  The walks are so good for my mind.  In case you don’t know it, science has discovered that about the best thing you can do for brain health is both aerobic and anaerobic exercise.  It actually triggers the growth of new brain cells.  That’s right, the story you have heard your whole life about the brain not creating new cells is simply false.  The brain can heal and grow.

The Future

The future seems bright and glorious and I now look forward to it.  Recently I have changed my attitude, my sleep, my diet, my work habits, and my exercise habits.  I have only just begun the changes I intend to make.  I have a long list to get through but I’m in no hurry.  I’m enjoying the fruits of the changes I have made so far.  I have made drastic changes, but they have been simple decisions for me.  I simply reflected on what I really wanted.  Focusing on what I really wanted made these decisions easy.  I changed my self-talk from “I can’t.” to “I will.”.

What do I really want?

  • I want to live to be 100.
  • I want to flourish and thrive all the way to 100.
  • I want to talk and play with my grandchildren.
  • I want to enjoy every minute of the short time I have been given on this earth.
  • I want to leave a little bit of myself in the lives of those I touch.
  • I want to live.

And Thus

  • I will live to be 100.
  • I will flourish and thrive all the way to 100.
  • I will talk and play with my grandchildren.
  • I will enjoy every minute of the short time I have been given on this earth.
  • I will leave a little bit of myself in the lives of those I touch.
  • I will live.

What do you think?  Leave a comment below.  Subscribe to The Rat Race Trap by Email here or to a reader in the top left sidebar.  I would love to have you aboard.

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Turbo Charge Your Brain - Introduction — The Rat Race Trap
April 12, 2009 at 7:34 am

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills April 5, 2009 at 8:30 pm

Great Story Stephen,

Nobody will ever take better care of you than you will. The biggest obstacle for most people is taking personal responsibility. You have done that and look at the results. We hold the key to our own health and happiness. That is a gift, but the only way to enjoy that gift is to accept the responsibility that goes with it. Congratulations!

Reply

Rose Marie Stepney April 5, 2009 at 8:30 pm

Loved your article. I saw a lot of myself in between the lines. You’ve gone further in your journey I have, but the road I wish to travel is very similar to the one you are on.
I have no doubt that you will succeed in all that you have decided for yourself. It is all about choice isn’t it?
Congratulations on having come this far and good luck as you continue forward. Lots of love, peace, joy and positive energy!
Rose

Reply

Giovanna Garcia April 6, 2009 at 12:32 am

When we make the decision to 100% to make the change, our thoughts and our action become one. Congratulations to your new way of life. Cheers to you living to 100 :-)
Thanks for sharing,
Giovanna Garcia
Imperfect Action is better than No Action

Reply

CathD April 6, 2009 at 4:50 am

Wow, what a change! Well done, Stephen! Chronic stress does crazy stuff to our bodies and minds, and yet it astounds me that so few medical practitioners pick this up. And even fewer medical practitioners understand how effective cognitive behavioural restructuring and other services like that can be at solving the problem.

What a great story – and authentic inspiration for anyone reading this blog who wants to change their life.

Cath

Reply

Tracy April 6, 2009 at 9:34 am

Hi Stephen! I really love the way you saw you needed to make a change and you did it!

My son with Asperger’s, you know what the most effective therapy seemed to be? Walking him to school every day! On days we didn’t, his behavior suffered. It’s amazing what some exercise can do for a person (BTW, not saying there is any quick & simple cure for autism spectrum disorders, but making sure he had exercise, sleep and nourishing food made sure he was in the best shape possible for his other therapies)

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Robin Easton April 6, 2009 at 11:34 am

What a great read. Inspiring story. I applaud you for taking control of you life. We can often be so conditioned by our culture, the medical world, parents, media, whatever, that we actually forget that we are the captains of our own ships. That we can heal ourselves. That doesn’t mean we can’t have help, but we all too often turn over all of our power to others under the guise of: “They know better than I do. They are a doctor. Science has proven. Etc., etc.” We are truly powerful and magnificent beings who are capable of great things. We can decide to change our world, our health, our outlook and so forth. A great leap of trust, courage and commitment you have made. I honor you. I believe that when we give power back to the body the body responds powerfully!! Great article. Good for you!

Reply

Stephen - Rat Race Trap April 6, 2009 at 12:16 pm

@Jonathan, Thanks. You are right about it being a gift that we only have to accept.

@Rose Marie, Thank you for commenting. I wish you well and the best of luck on your journey! Yes it is all about choice and we just need to take it and make it.

@Giovanna, thanks again!

@CathD, Thanks for stopping by again. I think traditional western medical practice has a long way to go. They are still treating everything as independent parts instead of a whole.

@Tracy, thank you for the kind words. I’m glad your son does better when he get’s outside and walks. I think that makes us all better! :-) Best of luck to you both.

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Dennis Dalton April 6, 2009 at 9:17 pm

Congratulations on a job well done turning things around! I especially like the points you made regarding the negative internal dialogue. I will be paying much closer attention to my thoughts now. Thanks

Reply

Stephen - Rat Race Trap April 6, 2009 at 9:25 pm

@Robin, thanks for dropping by again. Your comments are always so uplifting and just so very useful and kind. :-)

@Dennis, Thanks for commenting here. That inner dialogue is something I didn’t’ think about for so many years. When I finally realized what was happening and fixed it, my whole world changed.

Reply

Alik Levin | PracticeThis.com April 7, 2009 at 3:29 pm

Stephen!
This is very inspiring post indeed!
Claim your life back. Invest in yourself. 100% with you. For me it is 4 dimensions:
- Physical (sleep, eat, exercise)
- Intellectual (solve right problems)
- Emotional (enjoy myself, enjoy others)
- Spiritual (define your values and stick with it)
Good stuff!

Reply

Clement @ The Way Of Money .com April 8, 2009 at 5:11 am

You know, I really, really loved this article Stephen.

I just came here for a quick glance at what was new in the RatRaceTrap world and by gosh it was a great decision to have made.

Thanks for the insightful descriptions of what health is, a holistic process that involves psychology, spirit, diet, exercise and yes – no pharmaceuticals!

Little do people know that pharmaceuticals actually cause many of the symptoms they claim to treat, and so the cycle goes on and the profits increase… (I detest Big Pharma for what it does to the people).

SO, thank you for this – I really enjoyed it and I am going to retweet this to my gathering! I hope that you keep posting these gems, they’re one in a million – literally.

Reply

Stephen - Rat Race Trap April 8, 2009 at 6:44 am

@Alik, great comment. Thank you for joining us here!

@Clement, thank you for your thoughts. I’m glad you liked the article. Those responses are why we do this after all right? See you later!

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Marj Galangco ¦ thewayofmoney April 9, 2009 at 6:42 pm

Wow Stephen,
Thanks so much for this very candid and insightful post! It’s very inspiring :)
I believe this is a must-read for every person who is currently suffering because of their own choices. Your story will show them that we have the power to change anything.
It was interesting you mentioned that you used to be a Personal Development Junkie. I was the same, until I realized that on the surface I just really liked to appear intellectual, well-read, highly educated – that’s why i read every Personal development book I could get my hands on. But I rarely applied most of them because deep inside I was afraid to actually change. I was using those personal development pursuits as a way to deceive myself that I was solving my problems, when really I wasn’t taking enough action about the changes I wanted to make. I still find myself having to remind myself about this in some areas of my life.
So for all you people out there who are P.D. junkies, take heed. Reading, intellectual conversations or philosophizing (is that even a word?) alone will never change your results – in the end it’s our actions that will truly make the difference. Let’s take action! :)

Reply

Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach April 12, 2009 at 4:40 am

What a wonderful story! Thanks so much for sharing, ’tis most inspiring indeed.

Reply

phoebe April 15, 2011 at 7:53 pm

That’s awsome. Thanks very much for sharing it.

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