Whenever I’m with you (whether as your physician, friend, or acquaintance), I listen with the following questions as my filter:
1. What is in the way of feeling amazing?
2. What are you holding onto or incomplete with that’s not serving you, and as a result, messing with your health?
3. What’s out of balance in your Physical, Chemical, Emotional, Energetic, or Spiritual journey?
Today, we’re going to explore question 2, since it comes up a LOT!
You see, the thoughts you have determine the chemicals and hormones you secrete, which determine your digestion, absorption, and then your general health. Have a stressful thought every day, or hold onto unneeded anger, and it can actually impact a TON of critical processes in your body!
Unfortunately, many of us are wired to be angry. No, no, I don’t mean you’re an angry person, necessarily, but that your environment is not bringing out the best in you. Because Twitter and Facebook often generate the most “likes” when there’s a rant involved, we are encouraged to be cranky! I’ll call that a feed-forward cycle.
We begin to train ourselves to rant. Then we forget that we’re not on Twitter or Facebook, and bring the ranting into our daily communication… and this is where it messes us up.
So, “Miranda” comes for her visit recently, and when I ask how she is, she launches into a long story about how mad she is at the airlines regarding her recent flight back. She had been bumped from first class. You see, the lounge she was sitting in didn’t have an overhead sound system, and so she didn’t hear them calling her name. By the time she showed up at the gate, they had bumped her! Miranda was beyond pissed. She’s going to write a letter, she’s going to boycott that airline, she’s really focused on how they’ve wronged her. Now, don’t get me wrong, she had some valid points.
But… her level of outrage was out of proportion to what actually occurred.
As an aside, I don’t believe we act one way in one area of life, and another in a different area. If Miranda is holding onto this anger in this fashion over being bumped, my belief is that she is likely holding onto other wrongs she has experienced, too.
So here’s our conversation:
Me: Miranda, Is this a recurrent theme for you? Do you typically get really mad at events like this, and then hold onto them?
Miranda: Well yes, all the time! (Don’t forget, she is very riled up about being bumped.)
Me: (quietly) Does this serve you? Is this contributing to improving your health?
Miranda: (looking stricken) Oh my god… No.
Me: As an observer, it seems like all this energy that you are putting into your anger is causing a very harmful hormone cascade in your body, and messing with your adrenal glands, your liver, and your digestion. Since you have an autoimmune disease, our goal is to minimize all sources of inflammation within your body, and stress actually increases inflammation. This makes it harder for us to get you well.
I paused for a little to let her digest that. Then I asked her:
What will it take to transform this?
I continued: Really, Miranda, what will it take to live in a space of gratitude? To refrain from needless anger and angst? Because finding that place will, quite literally, transform your health!
Miranda was floored. Not once had she ever considered that there were physical costs and consequences to her anger that went far beyond using up the energy that it might take to post about it.
I invited her to take on transforming every angry thought into gratitude. Angry she couldn’t fly first class? Try on: Gratitude she had been able to take such a lovely trip, and fly there too. Angry about her chronic illness? Transform it into: Gratitude for the stillness it afforded her and ability to get grounded and focus on what was really important to her.
So I ask you to consider:
Is your anger serving you?
What could you be grateful for, instead? I promise, you won’t regret focusing on gratitude!
Have another topic you’d like me to cover? Email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.