What was I thinking?
Every month in the (Sorta) Secret Sisterhood online community, I get to record a Q+A with an expert in her field—most often a health practitioner who works with women in perimenopause through some modality, from extremely conventional Western medicine to the truly alternative.
My goal is to present women navigating their 40s and beyond with a buffet of resources from which they can choose: we don’t rule out any modality; instead, we learn what’s available to us and decide what feels right.
I recently interviewed Dr. Diane Babalas, a chiropractor and biogeometric integration practitioner in our virtual clubhouse, and one of my big Aha! moments dropped when we talked about the effect that thoughts and feelings have on our physical bodies.
I’ve read a fair amount about this, and my conversation with Dr. Diane was a great reminder about bringing this concept into my work as a health coach.
Dr. Diane mentioned that as a chiropractor, she often hears her patients make connections between a physical activity or accident (a really tough workout, a slip-and-fall on the ice) and pain in their bodies: they think, “What did I do that made this hurt?” and are often able to find a cause.
If we can’t recall an incident, we most often just say, “I have no idea why I feel this way.”
Rarely do we ask, “What did I think that could have caused this?”
And thoughts, it seems, can have just as strong an effect on our bodies as do physical actions.
the weight of the world
One of the questions I like to ask my experts is what they notice are commonalities between symptoms experienced by women our age.
Dr. Diane pointed to a curve in the upper spine: not many of us are actually carrying physical burdens that would cause this over time, yet most of us seem to carry the weight of our world—a majority of the care of children and home, sometimes care for aging parents, and oh yeah—there’s work!
Simply feeling that the weight of the world is on our shoulders can cause us to hunch over time.
the divine feminine
Lower back and hip pain also came up, and while these can often come up or be exacerbated in later life, we often attribute them to childbearing, particularly if we had a Caesarean at some point. In Dr. Diane’s practice, she likes to question what thoughts (conscious or not) could have caused this.
If you have studied much about chakras and energy flow in the body, you probably know that the seat of our power—especially our divine feminine energy—is in our lower abdomen/pelvic area. When we are disconnected from or suppressing that energy, it finds a way to remind us of its presence, and the more we ignore it, the more it demands our attention through physical pain in this region.
Another symptom Dr. Diane notices in women our age is a sort of energetic disconnect between parts of our bodies: when we move from one area of our life to the next—home, work, social situations, children’s needs, partner’s needs, parents’ needs—without considering our own needs, our energy becomes chaotic.
Reintegrating ourselves back into our areas of care can lead to more seamless flow of energy between areas of our bodies.
make the connection
In A New Earth, Eckhart Tolle writes, “Even mainstream medicine … is beginning to recognize the connection between negative emotional states and physical disease.” And in Tolle’s view, negative emotions are the result of dysfunctional thoughts.
More and more studies show that a thought can be as powerful as an action: we can get a hit of pleasure not only by eating chocolate—just the anticipation of eating it can cause a similar pattern of brainwaves; just the thought of an unpleasant situation can cause the same physical symptoms as actually going through it.
It make sense, then, to start recognizing and shifting our negative thought patterns—not just so we can hop out of that vicious cycle that can keep us awake at night but so we can start to heal our physical body.
It turns out that shifting our mindset can help with addressing a wide variety of physical issues and chronic diseases just as shifting our eating choices does.
Like weight that has crept up on us, negative thought patterns develop over time and require time and attention. If you are ready to invest time and attention to shifting your eating and lifestyle choices to optimize your health and feel that you also need some support in the process, schedule a YOURstory session—it’s not only free, it’s pitch-free.
And leave a comment and let me know, what connections can you begin to draw between your thought patterns and your physical symptoms?