In reading more than 300 books on the subject of health, perusing thousands of articles, websites, and studies, and communicating with thousands of people all over the world for the last 6 years on the subject… I have been funneled increasingly in one universal direction. Like it has for many others, stress has emerged as a repetitive theme in the causation of all kinds of illnesses. Until now, I’ve stayed away from the psychological and emotional triggers of stress because the purely physiological side is greatly underappreciated. I mean, just say the word “stress” and people naturally think about work stress, divorces, family deaths, and other things that everyone considers stress. Very few think of lack of sleep, attempts at dietary purity, pregnancy, fatty acids, or inflammation as forms of stress that equal and sometimes even surpass the psychological variety.
But it’s long overdue that I started delving deeper into what is obviously an incredible trigger of the physiological stress chain reaction – various forms of psychological and emotional stress as well as trauma of all varieties. While everyone is aware of the more trendy and accessible forms of stress release like yoga, meditation, or a simple warm bath or nap – I’m fortunate to be privy to what are truly advanced methods at neutralizing the emotions at the root of psychological and emotional malaise.
Today I wanted to offer a little question and answer session with my very close friend Bella Dodds from Higher Mind Health. Bella and I go way back, and can both attribute much of our successful health pioneering to the use of methods that Bella and I came across exactly 7 years ago (November 18-19, 2005) in an extremely intense workshop in Hawaii. Mostly the methods helped us to start following our interests and passions with great vigor, resilience, and realism instead of loosely thinking about what we wanted to do with our lives but never taking action – choosing instead to sort of recreate our way into misery (yes, it is possible to become stressed from having too much fun and having too little challenge in life). The simple act of taking action was the greatest emotional liberator I think I’ve ever experienced. Not to take anything away from snorkeling with sea turtles or Maui sunsets or Eckhart Tolle, but trying to be “at peace” and “have fun” with no real fulfilling mission driving me was akin to being in a mental straight jacket – or engulfing Mai Tais all day to keep a smile on my face.
Wow, okay that was getting a little off topic. I’ll shut up now and let Bella share some interesting concepts on emotions, stress, and such with you…
Bella, we both mutually agree that stress, in all its many forms, is the most common universal trigger of symptoms and disease in the human body. Could you sort of explain the intent of the work you do in your consultation practice and in the many workshops that you’ve hosted?
Hi Matt, wonderful to connect with you and your fellow readers on 180 Degree Health. Hello everyone!
Matt and I have talked about collaborating on this subject for some time now, so I am glad we finally are getting to it. Understanding how stress impacts the body is truly such an important topic. Matt and I spoke last week reflecting on how true health is a comprehensive balance of all aspects of who we are. We cannot separate ourselves and leave one area unaddressed and expect beneficial results. For instance, if you focus on eating well, but do little to move or exercise your health will greatly suffer. If you sleep, eat and workout in healthy moderation, but mentally and emotionally you are not addressing high levels of unresolved stress in your life – your body is not going to fare well either. We are multi-dimensional beings and all aspects of who we are mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually will have a great impact on our physical bodies.
My intent in working with individuals and in my workshops is to first help people to see the greater power and purpose within their stress, because the truth is after having worked with thousands of individuals from all over the world in the last decade, I haven’t met one person who hasn’t experienced hardship in his or her life. It is key for us in the modern-day world to learn how can we make stress and challenge productive in our lives, rather than destructive and corrosive. We will all experience stress – but it is what we do with it that can have a profound, transformative and deeply healing impact on our life and health. Resentment, anger, sadness, depression, anxiety, fear, and guilt are all heavy emotions that greatly impact our relationships, how we see and act in the world, and thus how our bodies must cope with these highly emotional states.
My level of work is understanding how the mind and emotions are connected to physical disease in the body. I specialize in anxiety, insomnia and stress and use several modalities in working with my clients such as META-Medicine and the Demartini Method to isolate the specific mental emotional stress causing physical problems in the body and how to dissolve this stress.
This reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from one of the early pioneers of stress physiology, Hans Selye…
“During both eustress and distress the body undergoes virtually the same negative stimuli acting upon it. However, the fact that eustress causes much less damage than distress graphically demonstrates that it is ‘how you take it’ that determines, ultimately, whether one can adapt successfully to change.”
You say that you help to “dissolve” stress but I don’t know if I would totally describe it that way. I would say it’s more like neutralizing illness-inducing emotions by helping a person reach a balanced viewpoint about who they are, the people in their lives, or past events. Say for example a person has a spouse die in a tragic accident, and has a strong emotion of pain, sorrow, guilt for not being there to save him or her, and so forth. Instead of encouraging them to be heartbroken and guilty and expressive of their grief, you instead would go in and show them positive changes that occurred in their lives as a result of an incident that they can only perceive as purely negative. And then, you keep pushing until the person actually comes to a place where they are perceiving the event quite differently. I know this is but one aspect and one tool that you use, and difficult to explain to the uninitiated, but could you elaborate a little bit on how that works? And maybe give a brief example of someone having a realization that led to the neutralization of some chronic stress-causing emotion?
Haha, yes you are right it is much more than dissolving stress. That is the generalized term that I have come to use as the essence of what I do requires a more in-depth explanation.
How into it shall we go then Stone!? I say this is 180 Degree Health with a group of high level thinkers so let’s get down and dirty and push our minds outside what we talk about on a normal day to day basis. Down the rabbit hole we go! You have been warned.
Okay, so everything in the Universe is energy. Our thoughts and emotions are also forms of energy – just finer vibrations so you can’t actually see them or touch them like you can say your car, but know that thoughts and emotions are energy and they give off wavelengths of charge and vibration. The smallest measurable units of energy discovered by Quantum Physicists is a quantum. Physicists were confounded when studying the quantum world because they discovered the laws of Newtonian Physics broke down. Energy at this level acted differently and was not predictable. We can predict with great precision when the next Solar Eclipse is going to be 2,000 years from now, but in the quantum world the laws of physics are not the same. What Scientists discovered was that energy in its pure state is actually in multiple places at once and is timeless, charge-less, space-less, and mass-less. In other words, energy in this quantum state or photon state has no time, weight, charge or mass and exists in multiple possibilities.
So what does this have to do with stress, emotions and our health?
When a single quantum of light interacts with the physical world its properties change and it splits into a positive and negative charge, and it now has weight, time and charge. The two electromagnetic forces of positive and negative charge make up one unit of light and you cannot have one without the other.
How does this information relate to our emotions, thoughts and what we experience in the world?
What physics tells us is that when energy interacts within the physical world it splits between a positive and negative charge, which means that when you experience an event in your life you will interact with this energy and measure it as either an experience that you’re repelled by (negative charge) or attracted to (positive charge).
Let’s make this as simple as possible. If you are in a relationship and you come home to find your partner in bed with someone else, you will most likely experience this to be VERY negative. You will be angry and resentful and you will be repelled by what you have witnessed. Now where is the other side of this quantum of energy? How is this also positive experience? This is where our human mind can break down and go huh? “There is not a positive this was only a horrible experience! I have been betrayed. I am devastated.”
Our human mind sees things as good or bad, black or white, supporting and challenging, but typically not both simultaneously, especially when we are talking about a highly stressful event; however, when we learn to understand that our mind and emotions are made up of energy and that this energy comes in two forms of both a positive and a negative charge, we can learn to balance our perspective and see the other beneficial side of why something has happened to us thus allowing us to clear and heal trauma in our lives. Taking us back to your quote Matt from Selye “it is how you take it,” that ultimately determines your mental, emotional and physical health.
1. Perhaps this individual had been revolving their life around their partner and had forgotten to focus their energy and time on their own life and career, and seeing them in bed with another person, woke them up for how they have been betraying their own goals, desires and purpose in life. Now they have new, powerful energy, waking them up to get their own life back on track.
2. Perhaps they haven’t been focused enough on their career and their finances are now in a poor state, and they now realize they need to get their s**t together. Five years down the road this event helps them to invest in a house and have a solid savings.
3. No longer having their partner around they find comfort from friends and family, forming new bonds of trust, love and respect that are unshakable and deeply meaningful.
4. They feel rejected and perhaps unattractive, so they have a new revived inner fuel to get in shape, get healthy and feel on top of their game again.
5. Their partner didn’t fully love, respect or appreciate them so ultimately it was an unhealthy relationship and they decide enough is enough – they break free fully from the relationship that was actually weighing them down and making them unhappy in life.
These are 5 examples from real life clients, but I promise you I have worked with very challenging cases, and the benefits are always there – to equal degree. When the mind sees the other side and owns how something very challenging and painful actually served to help and support them in very life-changing and empowering ways, the mind finds a new level of healing and the body is supported back into balance.
Jeez Bella! Didn’t I say 200-word answers? What the hell? What are you trying to prove here?! I think you’re the one with unresolved issues! No seriously, that was a fantastic explanation, and you were even able to mention Quantum Physics without sounding completely insane – just slightly insane! I think the biggest thing is that people start to visualize how someone could go from being devastated to actually relieved and the pain and suffering immediately released upon having a change in perspective. Then they could start to visualize and be open themselves when it comes to being taken through this often gruesome, headache-provoking, but ultimately therapeutic process of emotional re-working.
While the thought of being free of emotional turmoil seems like it must be good for overall health, and emotional balance is something we all desire, you have found that the relationship between emotions and specific health problems is a lot more precise than most would assume. In Meta Medicine they can actually look at brain scans and see lesions that correspond with breakdown in certain specific regions of the body. In terms of specifics, what has taking some people through the process of rebooting their emotional beliefs about persons and events done to eliminate specific ailments, like insomnia for example which you feel you’ve been particularly successfully with? And how else would you explain Meta Medicine?
I know you have had great success from a nutritional standpoint in helping people get a sound night sleep, and I hope more people can benefit from your knowledge as truly the need for a healthy sleep is so important. How I work with insomnia using Meta Medicine is to find exactly what mental and emotional stress is causing the problem – I do not look for a generalized cause. Meta Medicine is a whole topic in and of itself, which would be great to talk about in more detail sometime – but the gist of the gist is that it links how an individual who goes through a stressful event (and most importantly how they perceived that event) creates specific biological symptoms in the body.
Worker #1 might experience the news with great anger and resentment as they felt they had worked hard for the company for years and that it was completely unfair that they suddenly lose their job for no good reason. This extreme shock and internal anger can be seen through a CT scan of the brain, which if it is an indigestible anger conflict it would show up as a ring pattern in the Brain Stem affecting the large intestine.
Worker #2 might take the news by beating themselves up that they blew it and now their family is going to struggle because of their mistake. This self-devaluation stress can be seen in a CT scan hitting the Cerebral Medulla layer of the brain and affecting the muscles, ligaments, bones, etc. This individual might have a low back problem as their stress is a core self-devaluation conflict, or they might experience shoulder pain feeling the weight of the world on their shoulders but not being good enough to provide for their family.
Worker #3 might feel totally terrified of the future and completely powerless of how they are going to pay their bills, which can be measured in the frontal lobe of the Cerebral Cortex resulting in symptoms of anxiety.
Ultimately, we can see that the same scenario happened to 3 individuals, but each took the news in their own way. When we are under stress quite often we have a default pattern that we fall into, and the more times we fall into this, the more often it shows up in the physical body.
In relation to insomnia I look at the mental and emotional stress that directly affects the Thalamus. When an individual responds to a stressful situation where they denounce life by saying to themselves:
“What’s the point?”
“What does it matter?”
“I give up.”
“It is too much.”
“I am tired of it all.”
“It is hopeless.”
Or even more severe perceptions:
“I would be better off if I were dead.”
This conflict directly impacts the Thalamus and can cause anywhere from broken sleep to severe cases of insomnia. Why do these stress responses create insomnia in the body? Meta Medicine recognizes that the body is a highly intelligent organism, and its response to stress is for the survival, self-healing and evolution of an organism. In the case of insomnia, the Thalamus will give the body more energy and pull it out of its parasympathetic nightly rhythm and into its sympathetic day rhythm to give the body more energy to solve the problem – to overcome the challenge and to survive.
Ultimately, if you address the conflict mass that is causing an individual severe stress, you allow the body to heal and return to balance of its normal night and day rhythms. Remarkably, I have worked with individuals who have not been able to sleep well for 15 years and within just several sessions are now able to enjoy a regular restful night sleep. If you treat the cause and not the symptoms you can get profound results.
Thank you Bella. I’m sure we could go on for pages and pages and pages, especially if we were to get into some very specific cases and see the step-by-step process of having a person go from being emotionally paralyzed by a person or event to the point of complete freedom from their prior, debilitating, extremely polarized point of view.
It’s important for everyone to remember that health is multifactorial. Bella helps people overcome anxiety all the time on a psychological front. She overcame some of her own anxiety-proneness using a tip I gave her. I don’t want to just give that tip away, but I’ll give you a hint. It rhymes with “Don’t drink so much f’ing water!” Follow the yellow pee road.
Anyway, I’m quite happy to have had the chance to dive into the emotional side and get away from focusing purely on the dietary and physiology front. More mutual conversations between Bella and I, and hopefully some recorded calls to come in the future.
Bella’s website: www.highermindhealth.com