As youngsters, we were taught strategies to prevent illness such as washing our hands, not sharing drinks with friends who have the flu, and wearing a coat when it’s cold outside. These habits have served us well; however, they are not the whole story. They don’t tell us why we get sick. In this chapter, we will look at the real reason we lose our health and how to regain it optimally.

Why We Get Sick

My experience as an integrative medicine family practice physician has taught me a lot about why we get sick. When we are conceived, most of us are as close to a Pure—unaltered and completely balanced—Self as we are ever going to be. All our experiences in life are then stored in our bodies, both positive and negative. The negative experiences, such as physical or emotional injuries, toxins, and bad feelings, thoughts, and relationships, accumulate like layers of an onion and move us further and further away from our original Pure Self. Our positive experiences move us back in toward our center, our Pure Self.

Furthermore, we have what I call a “sickness threshold” located some distance out from our center. When we cross this threshold, negative experience has built up in our system to the degree that a dysregulation happens at the level of our autonomic nervous system.

Our autonomic nervous system is responsible for what goes on inside our bodies. It has two components: the sympathetic, fight or flight nerves and the parasympathetic nerves that help us chill out. When we’re driving and a car pulls out in front of us, it’s the autonomic nervous system that causes an increase in our heart rate and sweat on our palms. The autonomic nervous system regulates all our body’s internal functions. It is the accumulation of negative experience that causes an imbalance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nerves. With enough negative buildup, we cross the sickness threshold and acquire a disease category—anything from headaches to diabetes to thyroid problems, or even cancer.

“But,” you may ask, “what about my genes?” Our genes are not static. They change in response to our environment. Numerous medical studies done on identical twins have revealed that though these twins possess the same genes, their health issues can vary greatly. Just because your mom and her brother had diabetes and heart disease does not mean that you will. Why? Because it is your nervous system and the care you give it that determine what happens genetically in your body. Therefore, taking care of your nervous system is crucial to improving and maintaining your health.

How We Heal

Healing is quite straightforward. It requires that you simply reverse the process of moving further from your Pure Self and cross back over the sickness threshold to a place of balance. As we’ll soon see, there are many ways to do this, but basically, it is a combination of cleansing your system of negative experiences and drawing in positive experiences that will assist you in regaining your health. Here are a few fundamental strategies to help you care for your nervous system.

Become Conscious

Develop an awareness of past and present negative experiences and consider their impact on your health. Consider traumas and negative relationships or emotions and thoughts that others have inflicted or that you harbor about yourself. Choose positive experiences and work toward discarding or working through negative experiences.

You’ll find that different negative experiences impact you on different levels and with different intensities. Some you can shrug off. Others continue to cause emotional and physical reactions in your body. The ones that continue to affect you are the ones that need attention. But instead of dwelling on the negative experiences in life, find ways of moving through and beyond them. Transform the negative into positive by ridding your system of them. We’ll soon see a variety of ways to remove negativity from your life. Ultimately, you’ll attend to the negative experiences in life by making every moment a positive one.

Hold Intention for Health

Intention goes beyond positive thinking. Intention is a unifying power that we all possess that links us to the Source beyond ourselves. Through intention we can trust that our link creates an avenue to solving our problems—even health problems. So create an intention for optimal health—see yourself completely healthy, full of joy and happiness. Spend time actually visualizing and feeling how it feels to be well and freely functioning. Plant the seed of wellness through these feelings, and revisit them often. Believe that optimal health is easily attainable.

Dr. Wayne Dyer, in his book The Power of Intention, writes, “An exceptionally positive emotional response indicates that you are summoning the divine energy of intention and allowing that energy to flow to you in a non-resistant manner.”1 Feeling good about health invites it in. The combination of being conscious and holding intention attracts a positive, stress-free pattern that balances our nervous systems and encourages optimal health.

Maintain the Pursuit of Better Health

Focus on what is available rather than on what you don’t have. Embrace the notion that no matter where you are on the path toward health, you can improve it. Set your intention on continually pursuing new means of seeking positive changes in your life. It’s not about doing a one-time purge in your life, but about continually walking forward in new, positive ways, seeking greater healing.

A Means to an End

101 Great Ways to Improve Your Health is filled with many ideas that will balance your nervous system such as acupuncture, Reiki, Tai Chi, and other energy-based modalities. These are subtle methods that align your energy, creating a balanced flow in your system. With energy medicine, you may experience your nervous system effortlessly slipping into balance, providing you with a renewed template for your experience. An added bonus of the energy-based modalities is that they can be infused with a spiritual component, which often accelerates healing.

Since your body’s structure and functions are interrelated, methods that realign your physical body support your nervous system in its balance. Chiropractic and osteopathic adjustments work to align the muscles and bones, which allows proper function and ease of motion. Additionally, because your nervous system is housed in your spine, spinal adjustments allow for optimal blood flow to your nerves, increasing the opportunity for balance. Other body work modalities, including massage therapy, cranial-sacral, and reflexology, also help balance your nervous system.

If you are harboring negativity from past or present experiences, you may want to find a practitioner who can assist you in releasing those negative experiences. There are a variety of practitioners, from traditional psychotherapists to hypnotists and practitioners of Eye Movement and Desensitization and Reprocessing, Emotional Freedom Techniques, and PSYCH-K, who are trained to help. If your negative experiences include trauma or abuse, you may want to seek a professional trained in somatic experiencing, a technique that effortlessly releases the trauma from your body.

Finally, seek some spiritual connection. It can be a traditional connection to God through a religious or spiritual community, or it can be through personal spiritual practice like meditation or yoga. Carrying a spiritual connection through your days intensifies your intention toward health and healing.

Truly caring for your health goes beyond the age-old adages of exercising, eating right, and washing your hands; continually and consciously caring for your nervous system keeps you pointed in the direction of optimal healing and health. The way you will do this is as unique as you are as an individual. Thankfully, you don’t have to go it alone, and optimal health is yours for the asking.

** This article is one of 101 great articles that were published in 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Health. To get complete details on “101 Great Ways to Improve Your Health”, visit

Author's Bio: 

Kyle D. Morgan is a doctor of osteopathy in the Ann Arbor, Michigan, area and is board certified in family medicine. Her integrative medicine practice employs osteopathic manipulation, acupuncture, homeopathy, bioidentical hormone replacement, energetic medicine, and detoxification. For further information, visit In Dr. Morgan’s upcoming book, Brain Detox: The Healing Secret, she details a self-administered technique, rooted in ancient healing practices, that transforms our mind-body well-being and physical health. Unlike hypnosis and other mind-body practices, this technique replaces negative subconscious thoughts permanently and immediately by entering positive mind-body statements into “whole-brain looping,” a process which activates the right and left hemispheres, as well as the conscious and subconscious mind, simultaneously. This technique ultimately clears the subconscious of negative thoughts, thereby restoring balance to the autonomic nervous system. The healing of physical symptoms is then a natural outcome of a balance nervous system.