In the 1980s, young men began dying of a mysterious disease now called AIDS. There was no treatment at the time and most of them died. Yet a few survived this untreated deadly disease. How?
That’s where research stepped in, mostly headed by psychologists and physicians. What made these men who survived different from the rest?
In those early days, there was little understanding about the biology of AIDS. It was also a time when a new field of medical science was evolving called psychoimmunology or PNI, PsychoNeuroImmunology. This new field basically looks at the role of the mind, attitudes and psychology in who got sick and who stayed well.
So early research showed that one psychological factor that played a big part in the men’s unexpected survival was the ability to say NO to things they didn’t want to do.
That is so important for all of us.
We don’t have to be diagnosed with a deadly disease to begin integrating this simple strategy into our lives.
How many times have you gone to a party or event but really didn’t want to?
How often do you say Yes just to please the other person?
Or what I would do was say yes and then at the last minute change my mind and say NO. I became pretty undependable about social activites.
Saying Yes when we really mean No puts us in an emotional state of resentment, stress, lacking integrity and denying our own inner knowing, valuing our self.
This doesn’t mean we become selfish and uncaring of other people. It does mean becoming more self-aware of what we are really feeling in our heart and soul.
Years later, I remember a friend with cancer saying that what he was learning from his illness was that he had to say no to people who used up his energy. Since his energy was so limited because of his illness and treatment, he became clear who wasted his energy. You know “energy vampires,” hardly a scientific term but I am sure we all know people who ‘suck the energy’ out of a room or a relationship.
So NOW is a good time to pay attention to what you really want, or don’t want and just say NO when knowing it’s good for your health and well-being.
Now cosmically with Mercury retrograde (time to revise, rethink) and Sun in Earthly Virgo – Be more discerning in what you choose to do. Let the cosmic energies support your new self-care strategy. A little Celemental wisdom.
Reference: G F Solomon, L Temoshok, A O’Leary, J Zich.Annals of the NY Academy of Sciences 1987;496:647-55. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.1987.tb35825.x. An intensive psychoimmunologic study of long-surviving persons with AIDS. Pilot work, background studies, hypotheses, and methods