In this episode, I share some of my thoughts and techniques on how to handle the most difficult of all challenges – emotional stress.
In my experience, this is one of the most challenging aspects of restore health. Finding a way to consistently and predictably relax your body is crucial. Yet meditation does not always hold the key for people who are especially stressed.
In this episode you will find out:
- How your body structure, emotions and chemistry are in a continual dynamic dance with each other.
- How the heart is the most powerful organ and how it influences the rest of your body.
- How to quickly induce a state of relaxation.
- How a simple device which attaches to your ear can help you to speed up results and master the art of daily renewal.
All this and more in today’s episode of The Liberated Lifestyle.
All right, in today’s episode, I am just off on a walk. It’s lunch time here in Hampton. Finished up a busy morning adjusting clients and one of the issues that I often think about as I’m working on balancing health and balancing neurology, balancing bones, balancing hormones, balancing nutrition, whatever it may be, it’s all about getting back to balancing people. One of the things I often think about is how it’s quite a struggle for people to get back into balance emotionally and within applied kinesiology, it’s one of our specialities at Spine Central.
The Triad Of Health
We talk about the Triad of Health. In fact, all of what Chiropractic talks about is the Triad of Health. It’s just that applied kinesiology gives us some tools to access all three sides of it. What it says is that, essentially, your health is like a triangle. You’ve got your structure, your chemistry, and your emotions. Now, all three of those sides needs to be strong if your health is going to be strong. What sits in between these three sides of the triangle in the middle is your nervous system or an energy system. You could look at the Chi. You could look at the nervous system and other forms of energy that perhaps exist in governing the human body and all of the cells and organise together.
That sits there as the organising system integrating each of these three areas into a holistic harmony. It’s quite remarkable when you consider that each three of those sides effects each other and there are all these interrelationships so, you know, your thoughts affect your structure, your structure affects your chemistry, affects your moods and any series of combinations that you care to think about. The truth is that it exists and so, it’s totally normal to have all three together. In fact, that’s typically what I find. You won’t get an isolated, just, back problem by itself without seeing some, perhaps, gut imbalance or hormonal imbalance, perhaps some major work stress or emotional stress going on at home.
Where Most People Struggle
These three are always existing in tandem. What we typically find though is most people do very well with the chiropractic side of things. We can adjust misalignments very nicely. We can instruct people to make a diet change, get you to take supplements. The one that’s more difficult to balance is the emotional stress and this is just because it’s a difficult area of life. We get bombarded left, right and centre with stress everywhere you look. Some negative image, some fear evoking message or just some pressure on your time so the stress is just there, it builds, and because we’re very deep feeling emotional creatures by nature we tend to remember traumas and stresses of the past and so whatever you think about you can actually bring about in your life and in your body.
If you think about something stressful that happened in the past, something jogs your memory of that, for example, you can actually bring about a stress response. You can release stress hormones just by thinking about something that happened to you 20 years ago. Emotional health is a very important thing but it’s, in some ways, the most challenging of all three areas of life to balance up. An interesting phenomenon that exists in the body is something called heart rate variability and for a long time people used to think that the heart beat like a metronome, one every second or one every half of a second, or something like that, depending on what your average heart rate is but typically the average heart rate would be around about 70 beats per minute but it doesn’t beat like a metronome.
Heart Rate Variability
There are variations in the heart rate and what causes these variations is the dynamic interplay of your autonomic nervous system. It splits into two parts. You got your sympathetic and your parasympathetic. Sympathetic speeds it up, parasympathetic slows it down. Anyway, what’s been really an interesting link to that, it has been discovered is that your brain affects your heart rate variability. The thoughts that you think, the way that you handle your stress affects the variations in the rhythm and typically the more adaptable, the more variable the rhythm, the better. Means that your body’s more adaptable, it can handle stress and you can get into a state of balance much more easily.
Typically you want a nice variable heart rate and what happens is that your heart is actually a very powerful muscle, it’s a powerful organ. It puts out about two and a half watts of power which is more than your mobile phone and more than any other organ in the body. It’s a powerful organ and it’s emitting oscillations of this power every time it beats and something interesting that happens in nature is that whenever you have oscillating systems and you put them together, they tend to eventually get into sync with each other. If you have two pendulums swinging side by side and you left them long enough, if they’re initially out of sync, sooner or later they get in sync, they get in time together and it might be exactly opposite or they’ll start swinging together in tandem.
This exists. There’s this phenomenon if you have several women on different menstrual cycles and you put them together in the same house, you know, it’s well known that sooner or later they’re going to sync together and they all end up in the same cycle. These are biological systems in oscillation and the heart really is what drives the oscillation amongst all the organs in your body.
Where I’m going with this is that what happens when you’re stressed and when you have poor heart rate variability because your brain is driving aberrant activity then your autonomic nervous system, what happens is all of your organs kind of fall out sync and this affects your health in it’s most fundamental level. It’s an interesting test that we do on people where we just get them to focus on their heart and think certain thoughts and what we call therapy localise, or touch, a part of the acupuncture system, a point known as an alarm point for the heart meridian.
What happens is, if an emotional stress is an issue it will cause the muscle to go strong or if it’s a really big issue it will cause a strong muscle to go weak. This tells me straightaway that emotions are a problem for this person. They’re in a state of stress and you can put this right in people by having them focus on their heart, with deep breathing, for just a few minutes and focus feelings of appreciation, of love, of gratitude, of care, acceptance, and just pour those feelings in towards the heart as the person breathes and this done just for about three to five minutes creates amazing physiological change in the body. It balances the autonomic nervous system, allows greater coherence between the organs and a balancing, essentially, of all of the bodies systems. We see terrific changes in peoples function post doing this test and doing this particular procedure.
Heart Focussed Healing
I was using this yesterday morning on a client who had back pain and I’ve been throwing all sorts of tools and tricks at him. His posture has improved wildly. He just looks like a different person having had around about 15 sessions of ABC chiropractic care. He’s working hard on his diet. He’s doing all of his exercises, basically just doing everything we’ve asked of him yet he still gets this dull lower backache and yesterday we figured out that emotions were an issue and as he did this particular test, as he did what we call Heart Focus Technique, focused feelings of gratitude, and then start breathe in, breathe out just for a few minutes, his back pain melted away. He said he could literally feel it decreasing as time went on.
These powerful relationships in the body and there’s a very cool company called Heart Math. They’ve been around for about 20 years and this is what they do. They investigate and they research the link between your heart, your heart rate variability and your thoughts and how that affects your overall health. What they found is that by affecting your heart rate with positive thoughts, controlling your breathing, you can bring about this state of coherence in the body and that results in better brain chemistry, a balanced autonomic nervous system, hormonal balance, emotional balancing and all kinds of great spinoffs. They claim that your heart rate variability is actually the number one predictor of your chances of getting an illness.
I can believe this because everything is run by your nervous system and ultimately you can trace the recourse of pretty much any illness back to stress physiology so anything that balances your stress is phenomenal.
Heart Focussed Technique
Here’s a very simple, simple technique that you can do on yourself and I recommend everyone does this regularly, at least once a day. Lie on your bed, or on the floor, put your thoughts on your heart and as you breathe in imagine that your breathing directly into your heart, in the middle of your chest, little bit over to the left-hand side, and just think of something, bring up a feeling of appreciation, love or gratitude. Someone in your life, it could be a family member, a wife, children, a particular event that your exceptionally grateful for and really feel that feeling of love and gratitude and you breathe that into your heart. Close your eyes and you breathe it into your heart.
You imagine your heart is like a balloon and with every breath and every feeling of appreciation that you put into your heart, it inflates a little bit and you just imagine the heart getting bigger and bigger and eventually it gets so big that it’s taken over your whole chest and these feelings of gratitude pour out of the heart and they filter through the whole body. If you have any area that’s particularly troublesome, maybe you have a heart condition or maybe you have a hip condition or a back pain or hormonal problem, imagine these feelings overflowing into that area and particularly, you know, circulating in through the problem areas. You do that for five minutes and that’s it and when you’re done you should feel very balanced, very centred and ready to face the day in a much more balanced, coherent state.
You have a very simple technique you can do called Heart-Focused Activity and you can look into this company called Heart Math as well, they sell a machine called the Emwave2 and you can download this and it works on your computer, it works on the go, they have a portable option too, and it can track your heart rate monitor, your heart rate variability on a monitor as you control your breathing and as you direct your mind. It’s very fascinating to use actually. When you have this direct feedback, you can actually speed up the process of mastering your breath and of mastering the control of your heart and your nervous system.
Very, very useful tool. When I first started using it a few years ago, I couldn’t get this damn thing off the red section. I was just stressed and imbalanced, practically in a red warning, I thought, “That’s it, that’s it. I’m done. It’s game over.” After just a couple of days of practice, I could consistently get this down into the greens and the blues. It’s amazing, just five minutes on this machine and you feel so much better. It’s a real lightening of a load. Whatever gets measured gets managed and what gets managed gets improved so if you can get direct bio feedback fed to you, you can basically master the ability to control your physiology at a faster rate than you could otherwise.
Often I find one of the challenges people have when they take on things like meditation and stress relaxation techniques is they’re not really sure if it’s working, particularly in the early stages, you know, if you’re a type A personality, if you’re very busy, if you’re on the go all the time, it’s natural and it’s normal to feel like it’s not happening, it’s not working, I’m too busy, I don’t have time for this, I might as well stop. When you’re getting feedback and you got something you can track, that tendency to want to give up is weakened slightly and you just have a much greater likelihood that you’re going to carry on through to see great results.
Yes, it does take a little bit of work but it’s absolutely worth it. Whatever your struggle is in your health or even if you’re just looking for peak performance, ultimately, your body is controlled by a nervous system and it’s this subconscious, automatic nervous system that’s really regulating your ability to heal and to regenerate and to adapt to demands that are placed upon your body so, even if you’re trying to improve your hundred meter sprint time or if you’re trying to throw the javelin further or finish the Iron Man faster, your ability to renew, your ability to get back in balance, your ability to adapt to a changing environment, to the stresses that you place upon yourself is crucial. Absolutely crucial to the quality of the results that you’re going to see.
Heart Focus Technique and working on things like meditation or taking it a next step further with something like an Emwave2 machine to actually directly improve your heart rate variability are very useful things to do and to have and to master. There you have it. That’s it for today. My lunchtime walk is over. I’m back off to the office now and any questions, you can email us at the practice email@example.com. I’ll pop some links in the post below to the company’s Heart Math and to some other cool things that I’ve discovered and I’ve used in my own life around some important issues, stress reduction and heart rate variability. Thanks for listening.
Live In Alignment
Thrive At Life
Dr Richard Gliddon
Wellness Chiropractor, Coach, Mentor