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How are you? It’s a question that we ask others when we first greet them, and we in turn are asked many times a day. “Oh fine”, is a common answer. “Okay.”, is another. We know that most people don’t really want to know how you “are”, it’s just a common greeting. I notice this in the office because when I come out to the reception room to bring people back to my adjusting room we often exchange pleasantries. Unless they are in significant pain, people generally are all smiles and “doing fine”. I generally don’t ask “How are you doing?” in the reception room because that is a private matter between doctor and patient. Once we are in the adjusting room I will often ask: “How are you REALLY doing?” This often makes people chuckle a bit, but they recognize that the social pleasantries can often mask the truth.

In fact we often mask the truth from ourselves. Only when symptoms become bothersome or begin to obviously negatively impact our days (and nights!) do many people decide to come into the office for care. No one wants to focus on their problems and I don’t recommend that either. Our minds are a powerful tool. Too many of us are prisoners of the ongoing accumulation of negative, self-defeating thoughts we have stored in our minds in the past and continue to generate in the present. For too many of us, we have an underlying negative self-talk going on in our minds. We are literally programming loss and want and sadness and dire circumstances into our minds all day long, each and every day. This immense mass of biased negativity impacts not just our emotions and thoughts but also in profound ways, our bodies and the whole life we live.

Not everyone does this. There are those among us who consciously monitor the quality of thoughts that the mind generates and then consciously, on purpose, begin to change their thoughts. We are often drawn to such people. This is the deal, our minds work like a ROM (read only) drive on a computer. The drive fills up with what we put into it. When new situations arise, it is this database that our minds go to for assistance in understanding and perspective. If the mind is consistently negative, then new events will always be ‘flavored’ with that same negativity. We will see everything that happens to us through the lens of this same negativity.

Prayer, meditation, affirmation, and the conscious desire to be grateful, are examples of ways to begin to shift the balance of thoughts and feelings inside ourselves. We didn’t get to where we are in a day or a week or a month, and we must work on a consistent basis to change this default negativity, but in all times and places, there are people who are doing exactly that. What they have realized is that the past and the future do not exist. All that exists is the present moment. Only in this moment do you have the option to change. You can’t change the past, and the only way to change the future is in this present moment.

Resilience is a term that applies to all of our lives. It means the ability of our bodies, our emotions, our thoughts, to ‘handle’ what is happening in front of us in the present moment. Increasing resilience increases your ability to ‘handle’ life. Low resilience means you must constantly protect yourself from the push and pull of life. Lack of resilience diminishes our experience of life and diminishes our possibilities. I have used this metaphor with many of you in the past, but you might think of your life as having a size and shape. Perhaps you could visualize a ‘balloon’. In this metaphor, your life occurs within the confines of this balloon. So long as events stay within these boundaries, you are able to tolerate what comes to you. If for some reason, events move past the boundary of the balloon, you will find that the stresses of life are bigger than you can tolerate. This is when people become symptomatic. They begin to feel the negative emotions, the unbalanced thoughts, the aches and pains that come with being out of balance, of over-extending yourself, so to speak. Even if there were stresses going on that were less than optimal in your life, if they were within the confines of the balloon, you probably didn’t notice any problem. Only when they exceeded the boundary of the space you have made for yourself do you begin to realize “something is wrong”.

Negative thinking, lack of exercise, poor food choices, lack of sleep, inability to deal with the ongoing stresses that life can bring all diminish the ‘size’ of your balloon. This can mean that you lose function and ability to be healthy. The good news is that becoming conscious, getting active, eating properly and dealing with our stress, all conspire to enlarge the size of your ‘balloon’. You have more ‘room’ to live your life in peace and comfort. The upper cervical adjustment is one of the most powerful ways to ‘enlarge you balloon’ that I am aware of. By itself, it is incredible in its power to restore you to the life you aspire to. In conjunction with all the factors you have control over (thinking, eating, sleeping, stress management), you begin to have a powerful method for maintaining and even improving your health and your experience of life. Many of you have already experienced this in your own lives. The adjustment can act as a ‘re-boot’ for your life. Reducing postural misalignment and improving blood flow to your brain through the upper cervical adjustment is in my opinion, one of the most powerful healing modalities I have ever come across. The more we learn about it the more incredible it gets, as research is continuing to show.

Even without making any change in your life, the adjustment has the potential to be invaluable. Many of you say you don’t know what you would do if you couldn’t get adjusted. I have been assured many times that if I ever move, I will have a lot of folks following behind me! This is how powerful the adjustment is in their lives. They recognize the primary importance of the adjustment in their life. Life works better for people who are in adjustment and once this is understood, most people want to stay in adjustment!

Some people are even more pro-active. They are careful with their diet. They exercise, they manage their stress and they get plenty of sleep. Life becomes an adventure, not just something to be endured. They generally require fewer adjustments than people who rely on the adjustment to restore them for a few days or weeks until the lack and stress in their lives builds up again and they need another adjustment. We all make choices in our lives. Once we understand the consequences, we can make better decisions. We can consciously improve the quality of our own lives or we can remain the victims of negative thinking and watch our lives dwindle in an ever narrowing spiral of disappointment, pain and sorrow. Yes, life can send tough issues our way. It is in how we respond to these issues that expands or diminishes our quality of life. Are we consciously building the life we aspire to or are we victims of the negativity in our own minds? How are you? I mean, really?

Michael Thomas, RN, BS, DC