“You cannot change anything that you are not aware of and education is key to creating that awareness.” This is our philosophy at Motivate and therefore it is a truly essential step towards getting on and staying on the path towards health and wellness. Two things we hear many of our patients say, no matter their diagnosis; “I do not know how to relax,” and “I am not very flexible.” Whether we look at these statements literally or figuratively, they are HUGE statements, and ultimately, obstacles towards taking control of our own health. We are aware that relaxing and being flexible are difficult but why don’t we DO anything about it? It is often because we just don’t know how or where to make time for it in our lives. We think that we must make specific times to relax or be more flexible. Yes, eventually this would be a great goal. But the easiest thing to change, and really the only time that matters, is RIGHT NOW. If you work on it right now, how can you fail?
Sitting here reading this, notice what your shoulders are doing. Are they elevated toward your ears? How about your jaw tension? Check in with your buttocks muscles. How about your toes? Chances are just by reading this and checking in with your body, some physical part of you relaxed, something let go. Being aware of the here and now and the effects that it has on your body (mind, physical body, and spirit), is the best way to create changes that matter. Creating a “new norm” or a new habit happens one moment at a time. Habits that create movements patterns often happen for the right reason, our bodies are protecting us from possible repetitive injury or helping to heal from a trauma. But overtime this can create dysfunctional movement patterns, strong muscles get stronger and weak muscles stay weak. If we continue to move this way it can become a “bad habit.” It takes one moment of awareness to change it.
The moment you tell yourself “stop clenching my butt muscles when I stand in the grocery store line,” you are now creating a new habit. Eventually a day will come where you “check in” with your butt muscles and they are relaxed.
The same can be said of being aware of how you feel when you eat or drink certain things. The moment you bring awareness to how you feel after you drink a soda versus water your awareness of what healthy “feels like” shifts, and your habits change. Awareness of how you feel after you consistently stretch after a workout or your demeanor when you start the day with a positive affirmation, “it’s going to be a great day,” or thank you it’s great to be a live,” will lead to considerable changes that do not take any more time out of your day. Simply being in the here and now, being aware of how your choices effect your mind, body, and spirit will lead to amazing changes and ultimately improve your quality of life, one moment at a time.
By Denise Nichols, OTR/L