Question: Why do I have headaches all the time? I notice my neck and shoulders hurt too.
Answer from Laurel: When you are having physical symptoms over a long period of time, the same symptoms, such as migraine, that is a sign that there is some way of thinking/being that is not beneficial to you. You have a way of being that is causing you pain. The hunching of the shoulders, would you not say that is a way of controlling yourself? To hunch up and protect yourself from the outside world and the pain? You try to crawl within yourself to hide away from the pain, to feel safe and shield yourself. You hold yourself tight to control yourself as a means of protection. If you are relaxed and happy, the shoulders are also relaxed. When you get stressed or worried, the shoulders go up, you clench tight to gather your strength and protect yourself. If you feel this pain often, what does that mean? That you control yourself tight and clench up often. The pain is a result of restraint, of holding hard, of controlling yourself physically. The physical pain is a result of the physical act you do when you feel unsafe. Your way of making yourself feel safe when you feel unsafe, is to try to control. Control is to hold tight, to grasp, as opposed to allow yourself of others to flow freely. It is the difference between a fist, a hand held tightly to protect yourself, or an open hand/palm reaching out when you feel safe and relaxed. The thoughts and feelings come first, and then your physical body reacts by clenching up and hunching your shoulders. The pain comes from this strain and restraint being held over a prolonged time. The head ache is simply a sign from your body that you are holding yourself too tightly, physically, for too long. This physical restraint is what you do when you feel unsafe and try to protect yourself. The physical act is a result of how you feel inside, how you try to control yourself.
Notice the difference in your body when you are alone and feel safe and protected, and are not stressed out, compared to how you feel in a situation where people around you are not being how you want them to be and this makes you feel stressed. Wanting to control others is a result of you not feeling safe around them. Maybe they are angry or not happy, and this makes you feel bad. You try to control them but it doesn’t work. This makes you feel even worse. Your body reacts and you hunch your shoulders, straining the muscles in your shoulders and neck. You try to control yourself because that is the only thing you can control. You put your shield up, breathe a bit more shallow, you hide within yourself and you try to just survive and not lose it until you can be alone again and let it all out. You control the way you are acting and who you are being. You limit your expression of self in order to not upset anyone, because that would make you feel even worse. So by making yourself smaller, or even invisible, you feel like you do the one thing you can do to not make it worse, and you hold this posture until you are once again alone and safe. The act of controlling yourself into a limited expression, of controlling how you respond to others, how you react, your facial expression, saying only what you believe they want to hear, walking on egg shells, that is a great strain on your body. No wonder you get head aches after all that control.
You can learn to let go. You can catch yourself in the act of controlling. When you feel your shoulders go up, you can be aware of your inner environment. Maybe you can’t instantly let go and relax, but the simple awareness that you are feeling unsafe, can be enough to soothe yourself. Talk to yourself and tell yourself that you cannot be hurt in this situation. If it is uncomfortable, you can take it, and then leave. The discomfort is temporary. Try to relax your shoulders and breathe a bit deeper, and see how that feels within. Probably it will feel very scary. That is okay. As you relax your body and open yourself up to being hurt, you will feel fear. That is okay. It is just a feeling. The more you practice this, the easier it gets. It is a process.