One of the comments that I hear most from patients is “you’re like a shrink”. While I’m not trained as a psychologist or psychiatrist, I do recognize that psychology and biology are intertwined within us. You can see reflections of the body/mind connection on the biochemical level; you can also see it on the behavioural level. For example, if you feel embarrassed, your face turns red. If you feel angry, your pulse quickens and your blood pressure rises. When you feel at peace, you breathe more deeply and you sleep better.
I have found over the years that in order to help people heal, they need to lessen their fight/flight reactions and increase their recover/rest/digest reactions. It is a key component to Neuro-Structural care. If your nervous system always has the pedal to the floor, there can be no significant shift or change in the body. If however a patient is able to establish a sense of safety and peace within, change and adaptation happens much more easily.
Understanding what makes people tick, what stresses them out, what helps them find peace, is part of the care at the Happy Spine. I need to have some understanding of what it is to be human:). Lately I’ve been reading Transcend by Scott Barry Kaufman. It’s a fascinating look at what makes us tick through the lens of humanistic psychology and Maslow’s research on human needs.
One of the lessons that I’ve already garnered is how we talk about stress. Stress seems to be a catch all term that contains innumerable things however he distills it down to internal entropy or disorder, a state of internal conflict that is produced as we make our way in this world trying to get our needs met.
Interestingly, most people think that stress is something that is happening like an external trigger. The troubling relationship, the pressures at work, the lack of control of one’s life, all seem to be at the root of stress.
What if I told you that it wasn’t those things at all? What if stress was actually how you interacted with the troubling relationship, the pressures at work or the lack of control?
A specific example of this is how we rely on pre-conceived notions to inform how we experience life. Another way to say this is that what we learned in the past (either consciously or not) is affecting how we see the present. What we think we know may not actually be accurate or truthful. But that mis-perception helps to protect us.
How can I be fully present with what is (and not what I think is)?
Asking better questions and in fact ‘being open to’ and ‘curious about’ is the key. If you think you know everything there is to know about a person or thing, then there can be no shift, no change and you are bound to that reality that you’re in.
The following is a lovely illustration of what I mean. Enjoy listening to it (about 10 minutes long) and let me know what you think in the comment section below.