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Monday, January 28, 2008

Promoting Liver Health


The human body is amazingly resilient. It can recover from devastating trauma and disease. It continues to function with missing or malfunctioning limbs. The body even adapts to the loss of particular organs and the severely limited function of others. However, the human body cannot survive for more than 24 hours without a liver. The liver is an incredibly complex organ. It is involved in more than 500 body functions. Your liver is responsible for such things as detoxifying drugs and alcohol, making vital substances such as proteins, and processing nearly every class of nutrient.

Many things we do or are exposed to can increase the work our livers must do to keep us healthy and alive. Alcohol, environmental pollutants, food preservatives and additives, drugs, and other toxic substances can challenge the liver's ability to function effectively. Hepatitis C infection makes these challenges even more difficult for the liver.

One way to help your liver perform its best despite being infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) is to reduce other challenges to the liver. This chapter discusses some ways to accomplish this in your own life.
A Positive Attitude
How do you meet the demands of a disease like hepatitis C and live a full life? A positive, healing attitude helps many people meet this challenge head-on.

Negative feelings may drain your body of the energy needed for healing. Without qualities such as endurance, integrity, honor, and self-esteem, healing the physical body is a difficult task. It has been said, "If you believe you can, you probably can. If you believe you won't, you most assuredly won't. Belief is the ignition switch that gets you off the launching pad."1

For many people with a life-changing illness, a positive attitude is not just a cliché, it is what gets them through the day. Consider positive thinking as the process of creating thoughts that produce and focus energy, which in turn, brings about positive outcomes. Positive thinking is a powerful tool. We all have access to it, but few of us put it into full use.

One research study of cancer patients who had a spontaneous remission found only one factor common to each person they examined. Everyone in the study had changed his or her attitude prior to remission and, in some way, had found hope. Each had become more positive in his or her approach to the disease.2 Acceptance of reality is the first step toward taking responsibility for and controlling one's life. Each of our lives is influenced by a number of outside factors, many of which we cannot control. Your attitude, however, reflects the ways in which you respond to what is happening to you. And your attitude is completely within your control. How you adapt to situations and the actions you take can affect your health and may influence your recovery.

Some believe that every thought you have produces a reaction in each cell in your body, from the top of your head to the tips of your toes. They believe the body is constantly reacting to thoughts, whether those thoughts are based on real situations or your imagination. According to this belief, your body becomes an obedient servant of your mind, reacting with the emotional intensity that you associate with your thoughts. Pleasant thoughts produce pleasant feelings; unpleasant thoughts produce unpleasant feelings.

How do you begin to practice having a positive attitude? Every time your life is not going according to plan or presents you with a challenge, try thinking of it as an opportunity. Challenges and disappointments can be opportunities to try new approaches, to amass more know-how, and to exercise your brainpower.

There is so much we do not yet know about the human body and how it works. We are only beginning to discover the powerful interactions between our minds and bodies. When you consider the miracle of the human body, it is not hard to believe that it is capable of contributing to its own healing.

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