Seeing the Light!

Seeing the Light!

By Dr Paul Shanahan, Chiropractor

We have an abundance of beautiful fresh fruit and vegetables in Townsville. Beautiful because we are what we eat, we all know this. We are also what we think and feel. Have you ever noticed how 15 minutes of walking in the sunshine improves your perspective on everything, elevates your mood and prevents your spine from stiffening up? A chat with a good friend can do much of this too. What we feel and how we think are important parts of our health and wellbeing.

This overlooked aspect of our health has a huge role to play in mental, physical and emotional wellbeing. All health, from cardio to cognitive, is affected by positive and negative thinking. What we feel impacts many things through life, even how our bodies hold their health and how our spines hold their adjustments.

Have you ever experienced muscle pain, chest pain or restricted breathing? Are headaches making you reach for medication? Do stomach issues and heartburn have you second guessing your diet? Do you have anxiety? Is it difficult for you to have quality sleep?  Many of you may be sitting there checking off this all too familiar list.  Did you know that many of these symptoms are related to the stress hormone known as cortisol?

Stress and negative emotions trigger the part of our brain that alerts our body to dive into our “fight-or-flight” stress response.  On an ancestral note, this existed primarily to help us flee and protect ourselves when faced with danger.  We now find ourselves in a state of chronic stress on a day to day basis, or let’s face it, even a moment to moment basis. There’s a constant onslaught of unpredictable events that can make us sour; rush hour traffic, long work hours, bad relationships or the morning hustle out to school. Because of this we find ourselves in a panic that the body responds to in a way that was meant to help us escape prehistoric predators.  Our nervous system makes itself at home in a state of “fight-or-flight”.  It shuts down our body’s self-repair mechanisms to deal with all of the stress.

We see evidence of this each week in practice. People under pressure do not express health or happiness very well. Their adjustments do not hold for as long and they often have longer healing times. For example, enuresis (bedwetting) is a symptom that often relapses under stress. When it is not the stress of a recent urinary tract infection it can usually be linked to an emotional stress or upheaval at school or home.

What does this mean? Stress can weaken the body and cause it to slowly break down.  This is often how people become unwell. It may seem difficult to change and many feel like they are stuck in a rut because of it. A good way to break the cycle is to start BIG – “Begin in Gratitude”. This helps to create the mindset that allows you to see the bright side and find a solution. This perspective can allow you to see the big picture and prevent you from being wrapped in the detail to the point where you are making yourself sick.

Healthy thinking and movement patterns help us to avoid illness. Chiropractic adjustments are designed to bring the balance of body movement back to normal. By improving normal movement and function within the body we are reducing physical stresses and their effects on health.

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