In a prior column, I mentioned the body as one’s small business and the brain as the CEO. The focus: health and wellness of the body, specifically, how the brain sends physical signals to clue us in when imbalance negatively impacts the immune system. This article explores that idea in more detail – incorporating signals just prior to the physical manifestation of the brain’s communication. Successful interpretation of subtle communication (whispers) prior to overt symptoms (shouts) permits physical healing that incorporates a true mind/body/spirit approach. The purpose of both articles is to empower readers with tools to facilitate internal communication, helping you take charge of and balance your personal wellness.
When all goes well, one’s mood is good, and joy comes easily. When something unfortunate happens, such as the loss of a family pet, grief and sadness are healthy responses to that experience. With skill, support and time, one who is filled with sadness and grief moves through the process until, once again, able to embrace joy. But how about when anxiety or a bad mood takes center stage without obvious provocation? Have you ever been in a bad mood – without knowing why? Whether someone brings it to your attention, or you discover it yourself, the next step may be the beginning of your personal healing journey: Write down everything that is going on in that moment – whether or not you believe it to be a trigger.
When attention is focused on the reason behind the bad mood, the “focus” is like a flashlight, and the “bad mood” may respond like a shadow. If it disappears in that light, congratulations on gaining perspective in record time. If, however, the experience is more like this: “I’m aware I’m feeling a certain way that’s clearly negative, but everything on my list is really going well – the job is fine, bills are paid, and nothing tangible is at all upsetting,” you might then wonder: “What’s going on? What’s this mood trying to tell me?” That’s step two of internal dialogue, illustrating your response to a whisper from your CEO. Step three: “What’s my brain trying to tell me?”
Essentially, the brain communicates through whispers and shouts. Learning how to pick up on the whispers (which come in the form of mood) is how we help the body heal (dissolving or avoiding the shouts). If we miss the whispers (mood) and what they mean, the brain may shout – in the form of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, muscle aches and pains, indigestion and so on.
To review the steps above: Step 1: Pick up on a negative mood. Step 2: Figure out the event(s)/ emotion(s) that triggered it. Step 3 (may be the most important – particularly when an emotion rather than a tangible event is the trigger): Trace that trigger, the emotion, back to the true source – generally rooted in disappointment, fear, shame, guilt, envy, frustration and so on. This is often simpler and easier than it sounds.
So let’s deal with Step 1: Although most are pretty clear on the difference between good and bad moods in terms of what they look like, it surprises some to learn it may be more difficult to identify the differences in terms of what good and bad moods feel like – particularly if mixed vibrations get in the way. I’ll refer to this as intrapersonal communication; that is, communicating effectively with your brain.
When we put energy into getting to the root of our “bad mood” we are investing in our healing. Energy devoted to distracting ourselves may interfere with healing. What might “distraction” look like? Outward display of behavior that does not accurately reflect the internal vibration is what is referred to here. It may not distract significantly, in the short term; however, chronic self-distraction is documented to be self-destructive. To clarify this point: whistling a happy tune in an effort to cheer ourselves up, or “grinning and bearing it” when we need that extra boost to get through something difficult may be helpful. However, chronic mixing up internal vibrations by falsely matching outward expressions may actually harm your own health in the long run. The key is to open lines of accurate communication with your CEO, in order to earn your own respect and trust so you can build your intrapersonal relationship; thereby, achieving mind/body/spirit balance.
Turning attention to healing through effective intrapersonal communication, most know intuitively that laughing reflects a feeling of internal joy and a good mood. If laughter comes from a good mood – that is, healthy internal vibration, it looks and sounds like a deep belly laugh and happens spontaneously. Such laughter may be in response to something that strikes us as funny. Research shows laughter in response to a joke that tickles a funny bone can help center internal organs. Studies have concluded that laughter offers stress relief and can lead to muscle relaxation, with a corresponding decrease in heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood pressure. We can understand the healing value in comedy, supporting the statement: “Laughter is powerful medicine.”
Is it possible to laugh insincerely? Yes. Does insincere laughter offer health benefits? That has a two-part answer. The first part, the smile, involves muscles that positively impact the heart – with or without sincerity behind it. Laughter, however, is more complex. While insincere laughter does not harm the individual, per se, there are no studies that support that insincere laughter offers health benefits – while there is evidence that insincerity, in general, may negatively impact trust in relationships. That part – the strain placed on interpersonal relationships in this way, may ultimately negatively impact the intrapersonal relationship one has within.
Bottom line: When more energy is devoted to external behavior that does not match internal whispers than to self-reflection to understand the brain’s clues, mixed messages may get in the way of health and wellness.
Why is this important? Mixed vibrations – either from mixed messages we give ourselves, or mixed messages others give us, may feed frustration, anger, confusion and/or anxiety. If unchecked, these may raise blood pressure and heart rate, and reduce blood levels of oxygen. They may also negatively impact cholesterol as well as depress the immune system – setting the body up for infection. Considering laughter, when it honestly matches the internal vibration, it offers healing; mis-matching may distract from inner truth – thus throwing the mind, body and spirit off balance. Result: illness.
For more about how the brain whispers and shouts as well as hints and tips on how to respond appropriately to help the mind and body heal, please tap into my website: “driankowtiz.com” or Facebook page “Holistic and Integrative Healing.” I’m also available via email to answer questions; write “Pawling Record” in the subject line.
Dr. Nancy Iankowitz is a board certified family nurse practitioner and Director of Holistic and Integrative Healing LLC. She is also host of “Marcy’s World”on Pawling Public Radio. Email your questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, call (917) 716-6802, or visit www.driankowitz.com online.