10 Limiting Beliefs About Health and Healing

By Val Silver

Are one or more of these ten limiting beliefs about health and healing affecting your ability to get well? 

We have more beliefs about health and every aspect of our lives than we could ever imagine. Most of our beliefs are subconscious program that operate below the level of awareness. These beliefs were acquired during your formative early years from your parents and your culture.  

Many of your beliefs serve you well throughout your lifetime. Subconscious programming often serves you well as a child, but may not serve you as well as an adult. Fears and fixed mindset beliefs limit you and keep you from manifesting the well-being and success you desire. Until brought to light, you may not even be aware that they are driving your thoughts, choices, and actions.

limiting beliefs about health, the man who thinks he can, Henry Ford quote

Examples of Cultural and Religious Health Beliefs

More than likely you have at least a few of these unconscious fixed mindset beliefs about health that you acquired from your family, culture, or religious upbringing. You may believe them in whole or in part. You may be aware of them or not. You may firmly believe them or entertain their possibility.

Don't be too quick to gloss over one you think isn't part of your belief system. You might be surprised. If you know how to muscle test, ask if each statement is part of your belief system.

1. I am destined to get this condition because of my genes.

This belief was considered fact until the study of epigenetics proved otherwise.. Although genes may make you vulnerable to certain conditions, they do not destine you to a specific illness. Unless you are in the five percent of the population with a heritable disease (like sickle cell anemia and hemophilia), your diet and lifestyle are more reliable predictors of risk than your genes. Making healthy choices will go far in keeping troublesome genes turned off.

2. It is not safe for me to get well.

This limiting belief about health and healing may sound silly, but it is quite widespread. Your subconscious perceives change as a threat to your safety. It takes a lot of self awareness and honesty to ferret this programming out. You may have viable reasons to want to hold on to an illness or disability. You may get extra attention, disability checks, a ready excuse to say no, days off, fewer responsibilities - to name a few.

Having to give up these perks in exchange for getting well can feel like a real threat to your subconscious mind as well as the secondary gains you are aware of and don't want to lose. This belief about health and healing can create an internal conflict between your desire to get well and your desire to not give up what you have gained by your condition.

3. I do not deserve to heal.

Just like safety, limiting beliefs about health and your ability to get well have to do with feelings of deserving and being worthy. These beliefs are common and show up in a lot of ways. You may feel unworthy or undeserving of good relationships, enough money, love, health, happiness, etc.. Perhaps you see your health condition as some kind of punishment or karma.

Chances are, if you feel that way in one area of your life, it is spilling over into others. Guilt, shame, blame and low self esteem are indicators of this thought pattern. 

Regardless of why you consider yourself undeserving, it is possible to develop feelings of worth. You do deserve to get well. Releasing techniques can help you neutralize this limiting belief and any other beliefs about health and healing that interfere with your well-being.

4. Health and healing require the help of experts and remedies. 

This health belief has been programmed into many of us from birth. We believe we need doctors, shamans, medications, herbs, energy healing, supplements, therapists, you name it, just to be born and to get or stay well for every little and big health complaint. 

While at times these aids are quite helpful and necessary, it is also true that you have an innate ability to heal. There is a saying that "all healing is self-healing". When given what it needs, the body heals itself. The practitioner or substance helps the mind and body achieve the balance it needs to recover.

In general, people do best when they accept personal responsibility for their well-being, even when they are being cared for by another. For example, the placebo effect  has repeatedly shown how well people respond to sham medications and surgeries. They respond better to treatment when they perceive the doctor cares.

On the other hand, the nocebo effect makes true beliefs that certain medications and treatments will harm you.

If you find yourself feeling better on your way to the doctor's office, you likely hold this subconscious program.

5. I do not need help to heal.

Limiting beliefs about health can be helpful or harmful, depending on your situation. This powerful belief is one of them.

Given the right tools, your body is capable of healing itself and does so on a daily basis without any conscious action on your part whatsoever. You can also take action to heal yourself of many lifestyle conditions.

Sometimes though, for whatever reason, you need help from someone or something else in order to get well. People have died willing themselves to heal when a minor surgery or a dose of antibiotics would have made them well. Resisting needed care, avoiding preventive care, and 'not wanting to hear it' are signs of this fixed mindset is at work.

Dig deep for the fears driving this stance. They show up as fear of being pressured to change, fear of going through unpleasant medical procedures, and/or fear of learning something scary about your health.

6. My illness is incurable.

When your disease is pronounced incurable, you are either sent home to live with it, or to get your affairs in order before your impending death. The word "incurable" means that conventional medicine does not have any more interventions to cure your disease. 

Some people accept this as their fate and die as expected. Others get so busy living, maybe for the first time in their lives, that they forget they are supposed to die.

Other people refuse to accept this prognosis as truth. Often, it is a new beginning of shedding their 'shoulds' and living life to the fullest. Many begin to explore alternative medicine and improve their lifestyle. They often far exceed all expectations for healing, happiness and longevity. They know that just because the medical system doesn't have a treatment or cure, it doesn't mean that the same is true of alternative therapies, including simple solutions such as correcting the diet.

Perhaps a truer statement by the medical establishment should be, "We don't know how to heal this illness yet."

7. It is God's will or fate.

Religion and spirituality have a lot of influence on beliefs about health, healing, and life. That God or fate wills you to experience sickness or suffering for whatever reason is one of them. This statement has two sides. It may be an honest acceptance of workings of the Divine in your life. Or this statement is a rationalization or excuse to avoid personal responsibility and action.

My aunt was a perfect example of this mindset. Despite feeling miserable, she did little or nothing to change her situation for the better. She repeatedly added fuel to the fire, yet could not see that she shared responsibilty, and therefore could make changes. Instead, she blamed my uncle for all of it. Living with him was her "cross to bear".

The difficulty with this spiritual belief system is knowing whether it really is 'your time', or 'your cross to bear' or whether it is an incredible opportunity for healing and transformation. Figuring this out takes openness and wisdom. 

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. How can I be absolutely sure this is fate or God's will? 
  2. Am I punishing myself or avoiding change?
  3. What if it is an opportunity to improve myself and my life?
  4. If my illness or difficulty is a vehicle for healing and spiritual evolution, and not a means to an ending, is it not my duty to do all I can to seek wholeness?
  5. If it is my time, would that not be all the more reason to heal in mind and spirit?

Here's a tip: If you feel resistant or defensive answering any of the questions that's a big clue that the fixed mindset is at work even if there is a kernel of truth in it.

8. Healing takes a set amount of time.

Again, while this may often be the case, it may not be the only truth.

For example, some people suffer with a cold or flu for a few days, others for weeks. Stories of instant spontaneous healing abound. My son healed from jaw surgery in a fraction of the expected time, leaving his doctor speechless. (I still laugh about that!)

9. You define yourself by your condition.

Sometimes limiting beliefs about health sound like truth. I'm an alcoholic, I'm diabetic, I'm obese, I'm disabled. I'm depressed.

But, you say, this is the truth, not just something I think is true. I have a diagnosis.  I am _____.  Are you really? Is that who you are? Or is it a condition you have at this time? This may sound like splitting hairs, but this is a significant belief shift. It can influence your quality of life and potential outcomes.

Is your condition the truth of your identity? Is it what you want to affirm about yourself? Or is it part of your life experience? There is a big difference between saying, "I am an insomniac or a cancer victim..." and "I am having trouble sleeping or I am experiencing these health challenges." 

10. It is all about the parts.

Beliefs about health and healing have changed dramatically since modern allopathic medicine has become our primary style of health care. Traditional healing systems have always been holistic. The whole person is addressed, even when specific remedies are given.

In this day of medical specialties, the emphasis is on parts. Drugs, surgery, even herbs and supplements, are aimed at a particular symptom or part of the body. This approach may work great for cars, it is not always so great for the whole human being. With the exception of injuries, the affected part may not even be the main problem. The cause of the symptom may originate elsewhere in the mind or body. For example, the discomfort in your right shoulder could be a problem with your shoulder or a symptom of a troubled gallbladder.  A headache may be a symptom of gut disturbances or too much stress.

In many cases, it is prudent to treat you as a whole person first and throughout treatment. This includes addressing the cause and providing relief of symptoms. 


Are you making mindset mistakes that are hurting your health and limiting your overall well-being? 

Find out how your thoughts and beliefs affect your well-being and five common mindset beliefs affect your well-being. Learn how to shift those beliefs so your mind works toward better health and happiness instead of against it.

5 Mindset Mistakes and more are included with your free subscription to Val's newsletter.


Are limiting beliefs about health always wrong?

No. There is often a kernel of truth in cultural and religious health beliefs that makes sorting fact from fiction less than obvious.

At times, one or more beliefs about health and healing may be entirely true or false for you. You may have an illness causes solely by your genetic makeup. A broken leg caused by a car accident is about the part. You may or may not need help healing a particular ailment.

Exceptions, circumstances, and individual makeup can make it difficult to discern whether you are telling yourself the truth or letting your opinions, theories, fixed mindset and programming limit you.

To gain clarity, ask yourself and a knowledgeable someone if your thought or action is reflecting a fixed mindset or one open to possibility and problem solving. 

Awareness and absolute honesty with yourself is key to ferreting out and shifting limiting beliefs about all aspects of health, healing and life. 

Listen to what you say to yourself  and to others, and how you say it. Notice:

  • What feelings come up in your body, and what behaviors and actions you do and avoid? 
  • Be on the look out for fear, which is often a giveaway of a mind closed to other real but unfamiliar possibilities. 
  • Ask yourself if this is a true belief or an excuse. Figure out what you really believe and fear in your subconscious mind. 

These are all powerful clues to what you is going on in your brain's operating system. Never underestimate the power of your mind's power to influence what you think, feel and do. 

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Limiting Beliefs About Health and Healing page updated 06/2022

For Educational Purposes Only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult with your health provider before using natural remedies and/or complementary therapies if you are pregnant, nursing, or you are being treated for a medical condition. Be aware that certain herbs and supplements interact with medications.

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