Do you need an attitude adjustment?
I think we all do. Our attitudes to life affect our emotions, and many of us don’t see the connection between our emotions and general health.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), emotions and our vital energy (Qi) are the bridge between our physical and spiritual well-being. We know that many physical diseases actually have an emotional imbalances at the root.
In Yoga, we investigate the emotions in deeper meditative practices to create inner harmony. In turn, we create physical ease. This gives space for the mind to open up to profound spiritual experiences, connecting us to others, and to the beauty of life in general.
Insight from these Eastern practices is desperately needed here in the West where:
- psychotherapy is still considered “quackery” to some
- we complain endlessly about our health, circumstances, & politics, yet don’t take action to improve situations or try new approaches
- we like to place blame for our misfortune
- many have poverty consciousness and an unhealthy relationship with money
- sarcasm and cynicism are considered funny and cool personality traits
- stress and busyness are valued and intimately linked to our self-worth
How Our Attitudes Create Stress, Disease, and Disconnection
Much of our attention on health is with diet and physical health. You may have the cleanest diet, and yet, if you’re caught up in the rat race, your body’s stress response can keep you in the sympathetic “fight or flight” mode. This emotional imbalance increases adrenaline, cortisol, and other stress hormones. They flood your system, lowering beneficial gut bacteria populations, and proper immune response.
This can lead to:
- chronic pain
- recurrent illnesses
- poor sleep
- gastric distress
- high blood pressure
- heart disease
- unintentional weight gain
- unintentional weight loss
- memory problems
- low libido
- fertility issues
Stress is relative and is a personal habitual reaction to stimuli. We can all be in the same traffic jam, yet have a different response because of our different inner attitudes and awareness of how we’re reacting.
“An emotion in excess, an inappropriate reaction, a self-destructive passion, an emotional response out of proportion to a situation, or a single automatic habitual response to many different life events all can be signs that the human being has lost his or her capacity for harmonious reactivity.”
– Ted J. Kaptchuk, O.M.D. from The Web That Has No Weaver
Manic elation, worry, sadness, anger, and fear are all normal in the human landscape. But if we hold them in, allow them to fester, or even let them become a major part of our personality, they can create disease from the TCM perspective.
Sun Si-miao (590-682 C.E.), a great physician of the Tang dynasty wrote that people suffer illness “because they do not have love in their life and are not cherished.” I think this notion is still relevant today, but that it’s self-love that’s lacking in many people and we have a hard time cherishing our own body, mind, and spirit which causes suffering.
How Do You Change Your Attitude and Achieve Health?
Yoga, Meditation, and TCM are wonderful ways to work with the energy of emotions to help one heal on all levels, but the person receiving still needs to participate.
If you’re laying on the table receiving acupuncture, you’re yielding to the treatment, trusting that energy is flowing where it needs to. Following the treatment plan provided by your practitioner is also a way you’re participating in your health by adapting to a positive lifestyle change.
In a yoga class, you’re working with a personal intention, paying attention to emotional cues that are linked with your breathing, and not just going through the physical motions.
Participating in your emotional well-being means that we adjust our inner attitude to breed:
These are the “higher vibrations” we were referring to in Chakra Meditation: Radiate Out What You Want To Attract.
Adopting a Positive Attitude is a Conscious Choice
If we’re constantly evaluating how we’re feeling and pause often before reacting, we can see how we have some control over the outcome. We can then take responsibility for that outcome.
I just want to share a personal example here to drive my point home…
Yesterday I had the most amazing morning.
After sleeping in, I meditated and expressed gratitude for one more day of life. I took my son to a playgroup at the beach while I worked at a café a little down the road. It was a productive, yet relaxed day. On the way home, my son and I had some lovely conversations. I vowed to myself that I was going to keep this content feeling going throughout the day.
So later on when I discovered that a bird had crapped all over the side of my car, or when I had to deal with disorganized parking at gymnastics, and then with slow traffic on the way home from that, I did not take any of it personally. I did not take on any physical tension.
Today was a different story.
I had to wake early to get ready to teach a yoga class. People were expecting me to be on time and to be creative. I snapped at my son a few times as I was trying to get him out the door. Tension started to build in my body because I wasn’t feeling prepared for class. Luckily, there was some residue from my brief meditation that made me pause. I remembered the day before and knew that it was possible to stay calm again, even though I had more obligations. As long as I stayed calm, I knew creativity would spring from that.
Sure enough, I taught a pretty good class and the rest of the day went well too!
So believe me, you can experience more health and joy in your life if you make the conscious choice. Meditation, Yoga, TCM, psychotherapy, hypnotism, and aromatherapy can all give us a greater perspective on our emotions, inner attitudes, energy, and holistic health. They help us see more clearly how we need to change to release limited beliefs that keep us sick and disconnected.
Can you imagine what the world would be like if we all had this awareness? The change in that direction starts with you…