Albert Einstein once said that “we cannot solve our problems with the same thinking that we used when we created them.” I have yet to meet someone who has never struggled with anxiety and/or depression at some point in their lives. It is high time that we get rid of the stigma that keeps so many people suffering in silence. It is time that we changed our thinking about psychological issues.
I decided to write this blog about anxiety and depression because I am highly passionate about helping others to both understand and overcome mental/emotional struggles. I want people to know that there is hope and I do not believe that we were created to continue to suffer with debilitating dis-eases or “disorders.” I hesitate to even call them psychological disorders because I really oppose labels although I understand the purpose for them.
I consider myself an expert in the field of mental health not just because I earned a master’s degree in clinical psychology but mostly because of what I have personally experienced and the tremendous amount of research that I have done to help myself. I understand what it feels like to have debilitating depression, panic attacks and phobias, that years ago nearly left me bound within the physical walls of my home.
You may be wondering why I have entitled this blog “the misaligned man.” Have you ever been in excruciating physical pain and went to a chiropractor for an adjustment, and afterward, felt like a new person? Well if you have experienced this, you will understand that your body was out of alignment and it needed to be put back in proper working order.
Our physical bodies have certain needs in order to function at the optimal level. Those needs involve things like deep sleep, clean water and air, proper nutrition, hormonal balance, etc. Often times, our body is simply deficient in certain nutrients and once these nutrients are restored to the body, we will begin feeling much better. I truly believe that there are nutritional deficiencies that can create all kinds of emotional issues like increased anxiety and low mood.
We must first educate ourselves and begin to understand how certain things function in our bodies. For example, our endocrine system, which is made up of glands like the pituitary, thyroid, adrenals and reproductive organs (ovaries and testes) have major roles to play in how we feel. If any one of these glands are not functioning properly, this can create all sorts of havoc with our metabolism, moods and sleep schedules. (I am not a medical doctor but as a psychology professor, you cannot teach about the mind without teaching about the body…they are connected!).
Mind Body Connection
Just as our physical body must be in proper alignment to function optimally, the same holds true for our minds or mental/emotional body. A major eye opener for me happened about 5 years ago when I landed in ICU for a GI (gastrointestinal) bleed caused by aspirin and the h-pylori bacteria in my intestines.
While in the hospital, one of the attending physicians came in to check on me. I only saw this female Asian doctor one time and she walked over to my bed and looked me straight in my eyes and said, “do you know what your problem is?” I was a little caught off guard as I curiously replied “no?” She said, “IT IS EMOTIONAL!” What in the world was this lady talking about? I clearly had physical symptoms (gastritis, diverticulitis, h-pylori bacterial infection, food sensitivities etc.).
Interestingly, you will likely not hear a medical doctor in our Western hospitals talk to you about emotional problems unless they cannot find anything physically wrong with you. Also, I don’t believe that it was a coincidence that this doctor was of Asian descent, most likely having some knowledge of Eastern medical practices.
Since that time, I really began to change my perspective about my history of depression and anxiety and the childhood traumas that had affected my physical body in such profound ways. I can remember having shingles when I was in grade school after the sudden death of my father. I can also remember my mother taking me to doctors because of stomach and bowel issues but they never could find anything wrong with me. I literally thought I was “crazy.” Then the physical symptoms would eventually develop into full blown panic attacks and phobias. (By the way, I despise the word “crazy” because it is often used to refer to people with emotional problems, precisely why talking about mental health is so difficult).
Since my experience with the Asian doctor, I have intently researched how trauma and thought patterns affect the emotional and physical body. There are several interesting discoveries that I have made along the way regarding my own healing. This is precisely what has led me to develop a holistic model of education that addresses all aspects of the person: physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
I know that any topic of a spiritual nature can be a controversial issue for a lot of people and I am not in a place to judge anyone’s spiritual beliefs, I only know what I have personally experienced. Many people believe that science and the spiritual do not mix but if you do the research, there is increasing scientific evidence that show the benefits of faith and prayer/meditation. Benefits that show how it can help people with physical ailments like high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and a compromised immune system. The practice of meditation has also been shown to help people focus and become more mindful and aware of the present, which can have all kinds of emotional benefits.
As you can clearly see, there are various distinct parts of us that are interconnected and affect our lives in so many ways. When we feel good physically, our thoughts tend to be more positive. The reverse is also true, when we focus on positive thoughts, we feel good. Furthermore, when we focus on loved ones and the beauty all around us in nature, we tend to feel more grateful and gratitude makes our world so much better!
I will continue to write more about this topic as it is central to all that WAY Education holds to be true. E-books will soon be available through our website @ wayeducationservices.com. Our focus is on educating the public and providing holistic literature and resources on health and wellness.