As we enter into the new year here is a new thing you can focus on to maximize your health. Over the past few years I have seen more and more people getting sick through being under tremendous stress. Many people look at car accidents or falls like a significant trauma but often dismiss emotional stress because they can’t see it or feel it in the same way. Here are a couple things to think about as you begin taking more control over your emotional health.
- The mind is powerful and having a positive mindset is key. This works on the opposite side as well. Protect your mind by watching who you are around and what you are listening to and watching. All too often it is easy to just watch something and not realize everything that is getting into your mind. Picture all these images and sound bites as tiny seeds that can later grow over time. If Diane, Malory, and Dr. Vito all said to you at your next office visit you are looking sick at different times, the chance of you getting sick is very high in the next few days. On the other hand what do you think the impact will be if those around you are encouraging and supportive!
- Get clear on what you really believe about health. You can look at this with the seed vs soil debate in regards to germ theory. Everyone agrees a germ leads to getting sick! But this is where most people stop and it’s way too simplistic. If we use acorns as an example you need an acorn in order to get an oak tree. Again everyone agrees. But let’s say you took 100 acorns and threw them on your floor in your house. How many acorns would grow? Obviously the answer is none. What’s different here is the environment, without the soil and the ability for that acorn to thrive, it won’t grow. Germs act in the same way so next time you hear about germs and go into a state of fear remember this and focus on strengthening your environment. A positive mental attitude, exercise routine, proper nutrition, healthy gut, proper functioning liver, balanced hormones, and chiropractic care are all tools you can use to maximize your environment. All of these positive ways to strengthen your environment are in your control!
When you think you are going to get sick or enter into a state of fear or negativity your body will actually begin to tighten up. Many people carry this tension in their shoulders, others in their low back. We know this innately. Think of a friend of yours being under stress. A way to help would be to massage their shoulders. If this tightness continues it can cause more chronic tightness in your muscles and then effect your joints and eventually your nervous system. Chiropractic care is a way to help align the spine and massage is a great way to loosen these muscles. Ultimately the better you can protect your mind and take control of these thoughts the less you are going to need outside intervention and support.
Another thing to think about when it comes to emotional stress is if it continues long term it will create adrenal fatigue/exhaustion. This could be from a bad relationship, difficulty with your children, a high stress job, or anything else that creates emotional stress. The fight or flight response is how the body deals with this and for our ancient ancestors this was in place so if a tiger was chasing them they could either fight or run. In these examples either the person got away and could rest or they lost and rested indefinitely. In today’s world the tiger is always chasing us but never catches and kills us. Unless you are actively creating space for yourself to relax you will be at risk of adrenal exhaustion. To exemplify this think of a mouse and grabbing its tail. The mouse will fight and try to get away but if you hold its tail long enough eventually it will stop fighting and give up. This is very similar to what happens to us under chronic stress. The health of your adrenals can be tested in our office and you can see through data the effects stress has had on your life up to this point. Without testing one way of knowing your stress is too high is if you aren’t sleeping well or if you are having gastric reflux.
I saw this great project years ago and it was so simple yet so powerful. In the project they had the individuals think about someone alive that they still have some contact with that has impacted their life in a positive way. The focus was on gratitude which is a very powerful positive emotion. Everyone after thinking of the person stated they felt better. But then they took it to the next level. They asked each of them to write a letter to that person explaining to them how the individual impacted their life in a positive way. Everyone going through this project agreed this improved their mindset even further. Lastly, they then asked each of them to now call the person and read them the letter. This brought many of them to tears and immense feeling of joy and gratitude. Next time you are in a funk or want to boost your emotional state give this a try and experience the power of gratitude. You can change your state in a few moments!