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Saadia’s soothing solution

Directed thoughts: Saadia Bean loves to play the piano to relax (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)

As she prepared to launch an anti-stress programme, Saadia Bean was feeling a little anxious herself.

Every day she was getting up at 3am — to write the programme manual, create presentations and do other bits of admin work.

She got sick, lost her voice and finally, had a minor fender bender. She blames her thoughts.

“Eighty-seven per cent of all illnesses are caused by thoughts that produce stress, anxiety and worry,” she said. “Thirteen per cent is due to diet, environment and genetics.”

Mrs Bean is a follower of Caroline Leaf who has written extensively on the link between illness and stress. Although the South African neuroscientist has been criticised for her lack of scientific data, Mrs Bean believes her theories are correct.

“I had the privilege to attend Harvard [Medical School],” Mrs Bean said. “They did studies of people with the same disease with numerous similarities. They were all given the same medication. Some improved slightly, some died and some were completely healed. Their studies proved that the difference was the thoughts they had about life and their illness.

“I had an administrative assistant who had a disease and was a part of a study in Boston. There were about ten of them; she was the only survivor. She often tells the story of her doctor saying that she survived because of how she conducted her ‘thought life’.

She kept telling him throughout the surgery and treatments, ‘Do what you need to do doc so I can get on with my life. I haven’t seen all of the world yet. I have travelling to do and grandchildren to enjoy!’ Her doctor said she was always upbeat and excited about life, and that is what saved her and helped the medical treatment to be successful.”

Some of us are so action-oriented that our stress response continues for too long, she added. As a result, the body’s energy systems aren’t as able to keep the body in growth and repair.

“We have become such reactive creatures that the body is left with insufficient energy to do its job,” she said.

Through her work at the Family Intimacy Centre she has noticed an increase in clients with what she sees as stress-related illnesses: insomnia, depression and high blood pressure.

The counsellor created her anti-stress programme, iElevate, to help people them cope. The idea is to improve their relationship with themselves, their health and other people through “keys” related to identity, thoughts, emotions, desires, purpose, imagination and destiny.

“Some studies have suggested that people think 98 per cent of the same thoughts each day,” Mrs Bean said. “Since we are thinking beings, we generate thoughts, then life shows up according to these thoughts.

“We need to think more about what we want rather than what we don’t want, and how we’ll create what we want.

“When I ask my clients what they want, some of them tell me to ask them next time. When you discover what you do want, there is a joy in focusing on that.

“That becomes the dominant thought.”

She believes the solution to life’s problems come from within, not from the external world; the ‘i’ in iElevate stands for internal. “Years ago I used to be extremely negative,” she said. “If you could think of anything that I would want to do, I would think of what could go wrong first.

“I got so tired of living like that. I said, ‘God, I can’t take it any more. Whatever I need to know and do, I’m ready for it to be different’.

“I was an elementary teacher at that time. Then I stayed home with my son afterward for eight years. During those years I went to university and received a certification in family studies and then began my journey.

“The more I have worked with people over the years and educated myself, I have really zoomed in on the idea that internal elevation is the key. Everything happens from the inside out.”

Even though she knows the keys, she’s not immune to stress, the 62-year-old said. “Stress is always going to be there,” she said. “The important thing is to know how to deal with it.”

She walks, reads and plays the piano to relax.

There’s a piano in the hallway of her Mount Hill, Pembroke centre, a synthesiser in her office, and another piano at home.

“I love music,” she said. “Two of my favourite songs to play are Climb Every Mountain and If I Could Help Somebody. Sometimes when I play, my husband of 40 years, sings or hums along. How soothing.

“Relaxing feels good and always turns off the stress response, which is imperative for the body’s health.”

She also limits her use of technology. “I do not sleep with my cell phone on,” she said. “I operate Facebook for the Family Intimacy Centre mostly, not for myself. I have my cell phone only for family and a few close friends. I could have my cell phone on for days with no activity on it. I keep myself in a peaceful place. I keep myself purposefully low key.”

Saadia Bean’s eight-week course begins today. For more information look for iElevate on Facebook or e-mail info@ielevate.me