Written by Dr. Daniel Kimbley
How often do you feel bored, unfulfilled, stuck, or “in a rut”?
I’ve been there and, as a matter of fact, it’s easy to get to that place and stay longer than we want.
Work becomes boring, spending time with family becomes mundane, and the temptation to just sit on the couch and binge watch Netflix or Prime while ignoring the realities of life becomes very real.
Or it’s like nothing can seem to go right. First, it’s a flat tire on the car, and then the garage door stops working. That’s where I’ll get to the end of my fuse.
I’ll let my diet slip, I’ll make excuses as to why I shouldn’t go to the gym, and then every area of my life will slowly become stagnant.
It doesn’t have to be this way though, and there’s an overwhelming amount of evidence that suggests that you can find happiness inside of whatever you’re currently doing that may seem unfulfilling.
In order to get there though, you have to understand the concept of being in what experts call a “flow” state. Mihaly Csikzentmihalyi coined the term “Flow”, or highly focused mental state to describe a state where we lose track of all sense of time, enjoy work, and can stay focused on a task for hours on end.
What the experts have found is that no amount of money or material wealth can ever bring happiness. No job or special person will ever bring you the happiness you want. What they have found, however, is that learning to experience a state of flow and be able to direct your attention towards things that matter, even in the most trying of times is what actually leads to lasting happiness.
Here’s how it works, right now you and I both have maps that our brains have more or less been programmed to filter the world through. Every experience of our past has shaped how we view and interpret the world, and your brain does this automatically.
Here’s an example. We all know someone who thinks that the universe is constantly out to get them. You’ll hear them constantly talk about how awful the world is, how bad people are, how bad their luck is, and how they wish it could all just go back to “the way it used to be in the old days”. This person puts extra locks and cameras around their house, sure that someone is just waiting to break in.
On the other hand, we all know someone who thinks the universe is constantly looking out for them. Getting stuck in traffic is a good thing because it gave them extra time to call a loved one. The person they are meeting with was running late so it gave them the chance to catch up on email. And the guy walking through back yards isn’t another thief out to steal everything, it’s actually just the meter reader.
Both interpret the world differently based on the map their brain has of how they expect the world to operate.
Here’s the cool thing though, each individual’s brain map can be upgraded to experience a new reality. So the person that fears the world and sees it as inherently bad, through a series of decisions that they make can literally upgrade the map their brain has of the external world so they see the world more like the second person I described.
The question is, how do they do it?
Well, first it requires becoming VERY aware of where attention is going. Attention is like a laser beam, and whatever it’s focused on is what it’s going to experience more of.
I love the concept Jocko Willink talks about where he suggests that anytime something bad happens, you simply tell yourself why it’s a good thing. For instance, your car breaks down and you have to walk 3 miles to work. Good, it’s an extra bit of workout, outdoors with fresh air. One of your employees quits. Good, it gives you the opportunity to hire someone better. You broke your leg and can’t squat. Good, it gives you the opportunity to work on upper body strength.
Your first step is to start becoming more aware of focusing your attention, and telling yourself “good” in every moment.
Next, and more importantly, you must have a healthy nervous system (your brain and spinal cord).
If your brain has a map of the way the world should be, and you want to upgrade that map to have a much better version, the only way to get there is to stimulate the brain in a way that allows for higher function and capacity.
We know that by adjusting the joints of the spine, we wake up the brain to give it a better map of the body. What new research is showing is that not only do spinal adjustments impact the map the brain has of the internal body, but also the map the brain has of the external body. In other words, the way the brain interprets your senses can be influenced.
This means that, having a healthy nervous system via properly moving joints of the spine is going to best set each individual up for the most objective map of the external world possible. Over time, someone who has experienced the world as threatening will slowly start to see the world in a different way.
We see this all the time in our office. People come in, commit to care, and a few weeks in they are doing things they would have been too scared to do a few weeks prior. One of our clients was so fearful of getting rid of her mom’s belongings, and after a few weeks, she hired an organizer and got rid of everything that wasn’t serving her.
This happens time and time again because we are literally upgrading the brain’s map of what is threatening and scary. A better map equals more freedom.
Upgrade your map through spinal adjustments, start telling yourself “good” in all situations, and watch your energy change and your life transform.
Those struggles we talked about in the beginning of this post, they literally disappear as we upgrade our maps. What was once boring becomes fun, what was once daunting becomes exciting, and what was once scary becomes a new opportunity to learn.
You were designed to be healthy, mentally and physically from day one. Ensuring your brain is functioning optimally through proper movement of the spine is the only way to get there.