Your Mood is Your Medicine

Thanksgiving Game

Posted: November 24th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Body/Mind, My View of Health | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

It’s almost turkey day, I’ve agreed to do it for the first time at my not so neat house, and I’ve invited two more children for a total of five at my house for a playdate tomorrow after teacher conferences at the preschool(?) and the elementary school with a two year old (plus the “big kids”) along for both.

The most amazing part is, I’m still remembering to breath deeply (someone remind me on Wednesday if I forget), smile, and put my game face on.

When I say Game Face, I don’t mean it like a pretend, well, ok, it’s kind of a pretend, but in the same way that wearing something sexy or a suit to work in your basement office is pretend.  It helps you get there a little ahead of time, so to speak. We say things like “It’s all about the attitude,” and it is, the question is, am I designing my attitudes moment by moment or am I at the mercy of the wind (of course we’re all always the wind and the mercy)?

And here we are, at the crux of all dilemma in my world- the intersection of what is real, what is what I make it, and how to transform (or avoid turning) my imagination into physical reality.  

Anyone who’s ever had an anxiety attack knows how quickly a thought can become a debilitating physical discomfort- for that matter, anyone who’s ever heard shocking news of any kind knows the wave of nausea that accompanies.  And it is quantifiable- I once had an anxious moment (after the birth of my third child and severe sleep deprivation) in which a friend said “Are you ok, you don’t look well?”  Within minutes, I felt nauseated to vomiting, had chills, diarrhea and- a temperature of 100… which is well above my cold-blooded norm of 96.8.  I did not, however have the flu or food poisoning, which I had determined most certainly was the case.  

Finally I began to cry as I explained my fear of the children all getting it (the imaginary flu) and not getting any sleep all over again to my father over the phone (also an excellent healer and acupuncturist) and the whole thing broke open- within minutes I was able to eat and realized that I also had not eaten well that day.  

So If my mind/body can do all that, imagine what else it can do?  I use this reminder now to transform my relationship with every symptom in my life.   

All this is really to say… our minds are not only attached to our bodies- they are part of the whole shebang.  Totally interrelated, inextricably, for better or worse, till death do us possibly part.  I think even we in the healing professions are highly prone to forgetting that.  For example…

I have an interesting relationship with dairy.  When I am getting enough rest and exercise and joy (oh, and veggies), I can tolerate quite a bit of dairy.  When any of these other pieces goes unattended, the balance goes off and I become congested, or there are a few other small symptoms that begin to show up.  On the one hand I am just like everyone else I know- dammit, let me eat cheese and drink eggnog and stay up all night- I could do it when I was seventeen, surely everything will be fine… And indeed it may be so, for one night, but in all likelihood I will feel like crap the next day and possibly end up with a sinus infection if I try to keep that kind of behavior up for any length of time. 

So I’m glad on the other hand that I can at least notice the beginnings of congestion, that my body responds to stimuli enough that I know what is good for me and what isn’t.  I surely can’t rely on the scientific establishment for that… fats are bad, fats are good, animal fat is bad, fish fat is good… I could write a Dr. Suess book with the riddles in there.

Let us look a little more closely… When I was seventeen I was definitely enjoying the eggnog and the late night.  I was not having to get up and cook and clean up after small people the next morning, and I know for certain that every time I stay up late (even now, at 10:53 pm) I am acutely aware (note worry) of the fact that I will be summoned before I am good and ready to be out of bed in the cold November morning.  So, joy? yes and no.  

How come some people can smoke and live forever, and others become the scare statistics? I say it is the enjoyment of the moment.  Do you know anyone who still smokes? Can they even enjoy the moment of smoking or do they spend the whole time feeling guilty or scared, or … basically not enjoying what it is they’re doing.  Likewise all our other addictions- chocolate cake, knucklehead lovers, coffee, leading to… another, more- in an attempt to recapture a past that will not be repeated.  

Back to the body and the Game Face. The face is on the body, and if we can teach it to respond positively in the here and now, we can enjoy a lot more of life- and that’s viral marketing for the well of being us all.