How to Bring Your Emotions in Line With Your Spine

Posted in Balanced Body, Balanced Mind and Soul | May 15, 2012 |

I’ve been seeing a chiropractor for several weeks to ease acute lower back and neck pain aggravated by years of “managing” a deteriorating spinal condition.

“Managing” is my way of saying I’ve been coping with the pain on my own, thank you very much. Over the years, I’ve tried medications, bone-cracking chiropractic, physical therapy, injections and the list goes on, all with varying degrees of success. I’ve never considered a long-term, slow-action plan because, well, I’m an instant fix, fast-action kind of gal.

Until now.

In my opinion, my chiropractor is a holistic doctor; she doesn’t just adjust me, she listens – and even asks questions of my body – and works on me according to the answers she receives. She’s also an intuitive healer. She can often simply lay her hands on me and know if my internal body parts are misfiring – once she said my spleen was inflamed and then worked to relieve it!

I love what my doc is doing for me – even if it is at least a six-month, intensive project.

Emotional Realignment

Too bad she can’t adjust the emotional side of me and correct my mental misalignments while she works on correcting my spine.

I wish she could wave a magic wand over me and suddenly, poof!, my body and emotions would transform into a beautiful homeostatic tower of balance.

Or maybe she could at least hook me up with someone who could work in tandem with her efforts.

Does such a person even exist?

Oh yes . . . that person is ME!

Huh?

That’s right. If you take the first two letters of the word Emotion and reverse them, what do you have? Me! Not only am I exhibiting emotions all the time, but I have primary responsibility for taking care of them.

OMG, you’re probably saying to yourself, my back hurts, I’m late for work, I have no transportation because my car was destroyed in the last hail storm, and now you’re telling me I have to fix my emotions too?

Good News/Bad News

The bad news is, yes, that is what I’m telling you. But the good news is, once you practice dealing with your emotions, you’ll stop being a victim to all that outside stuff happening “to” you and realize that the stuff is simply happening.

Here’s my six-step process for bringing your emotions into balance.

  1. Own the emotion. Stop blaming others. How you feel about situations, people or circumstances is no one’s fault.
  2. Accept that the emotion is a feeling and that feelings are not facts. You’ve heard the term “emotional roller coaster?” When we’re not in charge of our feelings, they have a way of building speed and momentum until they reach a pinnacle and then plunge scarily downward.
  3. Understand that emotions can be changed. I am the only person responsible for changing my emotions and feelings. Staying in victimhood is not only unhealthy, it is also unbearable!
  4. Choose to change. Sometimes the simple act of drawing a column down a piece of paper and writing “what’s not working” on one side and “what is working” on the other is enough to help us see that we really need to do something about our emotional condition.
  5. Make the change and don’t look back. Take a deep breath and make the plunge. Remember that the you prior to making the change is now a part of history!
  6. Celebrate! Woo Hoo! You are an awesome and incredibly courageous person to take a stand and say that you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired!

Getting Out of Misalignment

A good chiropractor – like mine – detects, corrects and then prevents the recurrence of what practitioners call spinal subluxations. A subluxation is a misalignment – often caused by physical injury or chemical or emotional stresses – that causes a loss of movement in the spinal column.

This misalignment, or imbalance, affects everything in the body because it involves nerves and the cellular system.

Similarly, when I have a mental subluxation – often caused by physical injury or chemical or emotional stresses – I have a loss of healthy movement in my emotional column.

Emotional imbalance can also affect everything in my world.

When I had my first evaluation and consultation with my chiropractor, following x-rays and tests, she told me that now that we know what is wrong, we can work to fix the condition.

Recognizing emotional disturbances is important because once we know something is wrong, we can work to fix it.

Tools to Improve

Just as my chiropractor has tools at her disposal to work on my spinal condition, so too do I have tools to work on my emotional conditions.

Here is a sample of tools that work for me.

  • Deep breathing. I’m constantly amazed at how often I hold my breath, as if that is helpful!
  • Prayer and meditation. I ask for help and then listen for answers.
  • Enlist a support group. More than anything, this tool is about asking others to hold me accountable.
  • Reaching out to others. How often do I call someone and ask how they are doing?
  • Journaling. This is my stand-by practice; often when I write something out, the answer magically appears on the page in front of me.
  • Practice H.A.L.T. I evaluate whether I am too Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired and if I am, know that my chances of practicing good emotional care are severely diminished.
  • Say no to drama. This is a new tool for me and a tough one! My limited experience shows me that if I stay out of the middle of drama, my emotional condition is more likely to stay fairly balanced.

Finally: MIND MY OWN BUSINESS! Need I say more?

There are many other tools that help keep our emotional column in balance; I’ve shared with you the ones that work for me. Please share others here and let us know what works for you.

The goal is to respect our emotional well-being as we honor our physical self-care. Relieving both of their respective subluxations creates a balanced synergy that makes us mighty forces.

The bottom line is this: We can have physical and emotional balance, but it will require work on our part. I promise you that the rewards are phenomenal!

Smart Thoughts (18)

  1. Glynis Jolly says:

    Hi Beth
    Excellent article. I like that you gave common sense suggestions instead of something like ‘go to the website’ or long explanations. You get right to the heart of it.

    • Beth says:

      Hi Glynis,

      Thanks for the compliment; my mind doesn’t always think in a simple fashion, but when it comes to putting a practice into place, I’ve found that simplicity works best. I also do well with acronyms like HALT and KISS (Keep It Simple Sweetie!). Are you a fan of acronyms?

  2. Bobbi Emel says:

    Beth, wow! Stellar post, just absolutely stellar! Tons of good stuff in here and each piece of advice is both practical and easy. If we can just remember to do them, that is.

    I so often forget the HALT acronym and I really need to implant it in my brain because any of those four things can completely throw me off my game.

    Thanks so much for this post – I’m sharing NOW!

    • Beth says:

      Thanks, Bobbi, you’re the best!

      If we didn’t have each other to provide gentle reminders (like HALT), where would we be as bloggers? Or for that matter, as human beings?

      I’m so glad that we’re connected!

  3. I like the 6 points in Good News / Bad News. They are absolutely true, and most people do have a problem with that. It’s very easy to let emotions own us than for us to own them.

    Great article, Beth.

    • Beth says:

      Hi Dolly,

      Today I was supremely frustrated with a Word document and had to ask a colleague to help. When I expressed my frustration, she said, “Sometimes I have to remind the computer that I’m the human and I tell IT what to do.”

      You’re so right . . . WE are the owner of our emotions; WE get to tell them what to do. Thanks for your comment.

  4. It could be because I just finished reading “The Power of Full Engagement” by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz but this article reminded me a lot of that really good book. Nothing happens in isolation when it comes to the (impossible to understand) interplay between the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.

    Good tips, good action steps…good stuff!

  5. Sarah O says:

    Such an important point that we must take a look at what’s going on inside before we can fully heal external symptoms. Love the reminder of the H.A.L.T. check-in. I must remember to share that with my daughters and others. Of course the H and the T parts are a little easier to address than the A and the L…:-)

    VAluable info Beth! Thanks.

    • Beth says:

      Hey Sarah,

      Glad you liked the HALT acronym. You’re right, Anger and Loneliness are a bit harder to manage because they’re not directly linked to our physical selves. However, I recall the line from my favorite poem, “Invictus,” that reads, “I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul” and remember that we always have choices.

  6. Amit Amin says:

    Actually, I think a good chiropractor admits when chiropractic is the appropriate modality. I saw a few chiropractors for two years, each claiming they could fix some of my chronic pain. No such luck (from them).

    Anyhow, I’m liking the rest of the post. It’s great stuff… and I know I’m going to forget it. So I just created four google alerts with reminders for times I’m thinking I’m going to need the advice, but am most likely to forget it. Thanks!

    • Beth says:

      Hey Amit! What a great idea! Thanks for sharing . . . and would you mind explaining how to create a Google alert? If you read any of the other comments, you’ll see that I was a bit computer challenged today so I don’t want to take anything for granted.

  7. Cheyenne says:

    Thank you so much for this article Beth, it’s awesome and just what I needed right about now.
    Love your suggestions – I have a slight case of scoliosis and can feel how discomfort is aggravated whenever my emotions are out of balance..
    Thank you again – emotional balance is indeed key:-)

    Love
    Cheyenne

    • Beth says:

      You are so welcome, Cheyenne. One of the coolest things I’ve learned about chiropractic care is how so many of our immune system cells are housed in our GI system. I’m getting ready to do a comprehensive food and environment allergy test to help me better understand that what I put in my body truly does make me sick, which ALWAYS affects my emotions. Not sure where you’re located but here’s my doc’s website:http://yestoperfecthealth.com/index.php. I’m sure there are others like her everywhere.

      B Well!

  8. Kaylee says:

    Oooh I like this, especially your toolkit! Journaling always works really well for me too. If I’m having a problem, dilemma, whatever – if I write about it, the answers just spill out. Also love the H.A.L.T. practice – I definitely need to keep this in mind. Especially the H & T – you don’t wanna know me when I’m hungry or tired, and I definitely don’t take the best care when I’m in any of those modes.

    Thanks for sharing a great post Beth!! =)

  9. Claire Kerslake says:

    Loved the gems in this article Beth! I would also add that we sometimes forget that emotions actually change our physiology so the misalignment we feel in our bodies is often directly related to our mental & emotional state.

    Thanks so much for these great tips
    Claire