We all know someone with a bad back, anxiety or depression right? These types of health issues are so common and we’ve got to look at why it’s happening and what we can do about it, Because no one wants to struggle in this life!
Part of my work as a clinical nutritionist is to also help with our brain also. When I say brain, I’m talking about our mental and emotional health, because we know now that this is directly linked to the health of our gut and therefore the rest of our health.
One major part of our health and well-being is tending to our emotional health. Now this can sound like a ‘watery concept’ to some of us and that’s OK. I think society and our upbringing has molded us to believe that showing our emotions, and even allowing ourselves to ‘feel’ our emotions is a sign of weakness.
Especially at work right? Particularly for women, we’re playing a losing hand at work if we show our emotions, given that men also, are taught from a very young age that boys don’t go around showing their emotions. Also, back in our grandmother’s day, showing and feeling emotions was taboo… they just did another load of washing and got over it!
If only it were that easy sometimes.
We’re seeing so much evidence that WHAT we’re doing IS NOT working for our health and our well being. I’m not suggesting we walk around bursting into tears all the time, but we also shouldn’t treat ourselves like a machine either. After all, we’re human ‘beings’ not a human ‘doings.’
And this is where I want to chat with you about how we start to process and be with our emotions more (yoga and meditation are perfect simple ways to do this.) Otherwise our emotions may crop up elsewhere, such as our back, in our shoulders or hips (we hold our emotions in our body as ‘tension’) or in our minds (such as depression.) These things once they are lodged in us, are really difficult to get rid of.
Just a tiny bit of science for you…Our limbic brain is often called our emotional ‘driver.’ And if we don’t feel our emotions completely, what can happen is that we start to create patterns of tension in other parts of our body. These are a physical reaction to an energy of an emotion that is not being completely processed. So basically, if we don’t ‘feel’ our emoti0ns or we don’t ‘feel’ fully and completely what is rising up for us in the moment, it starts to build and build and build.
A breakdown in a relationship or any other tough ‘life event’ can start the ball rolling here… and not in a good way! No matter how common these ‘life events’ are… truth is it’s completely NEW for ‘us’ and without playing to much of a pity card here, it Is a big deal. It’s new to our psyche.
Built up emotions can be held in patterns in our body, which can create these trauma and stress responses. This can be evident for some people when they have a remedial massage and they burst into tears when they have shoulder work. Yes it might be from the pain, but why is that pain there in the first place?
We actually hold onto our emotions in our shoulders and our hips. That’s why yoga is so therapeutic for us, because we can get rid of this ‘build up’ on a daily basis, before it starts to lodge in our body in unwanted ways.
So it’s a bit of a slippery slope in the modern day world, because there’s so much focus on being ‘happy’ and loving our lives – which is all well and good, unless you’re experiencing grief, sadness, heartache or betrayal. I think there’s a danger of the emphasis on ‘happiness.’ Underneath, so many people are struggling internally and turning further and further away from getting help because shame comes up for them.
Society, friends or family might ask ‘why aren’t you happy?’ ‘You’ve got everything going for you!’ So we start to hide because of this shame and then we start to question ourselves such as ‘what’s wrong with me!?’
We need the capacity to be heard and if we don’t have this, it’s when things start to get stuck in our shoulder (literally) because we haven’t fully voiced something to someone who we love – or we haven’t been honest with ourselves that we feel sad about something. Or… we express it as anger as a way to defend it all – so we get further and further away from acknowledging and honoring what’s really going on for ourselves.
Sadly depression can be a by product of this process. I think a rise in divorce rates, road rage, and all these wild shootings over the world are also by products from a human being who finally snaps under the pressure of it all. One reason, I’m not saying the only reason.
So my point is we need to give ourselves ‘permission’ to feel what we’re really feeling. This can absolutely lead to healthier more peaceful thoughts, a healthier stress tolerance (for when things don’t work how we want them to) and in turn it unburdens our physical health too.
Holistic health is just that. We can’t have vibrant physical health and poor mental health or visa versa and often this part of the puzzle is forgotten. It’s forgotten because it’s considered as ‘all to hard.’ Yes, facing up to our emotions can be confronting as we all know, but we absolutely need to do it for us to make the most of our lives.
As I said one proven way to deal with all this, is to make yoga and meditation part of your life. Start small and build up to what you can do. You’ll never regret it… ever!
I hope this has helped you is some small way. If you haven’t already done so, join our mailing list for Empowered Women’s Health for a gorgeous weekly recipe, plus more help on your health. And if you think it can help someone you know who is struggling at the moment there’s a ‘send to a friend’ box at the bottom of this page 🙂