In most people’s lives, there comes a point in time where a certain part of your body will hurt. The pain may be caused by trauma or it may present insidiously. Some will ignore the pain until it disappears, others will try techniques to alleviate the pain. You might stretch it out, do some exercise or, if the pain persists, visit your favourite Osteopath at Ascot Vale Osteopathy. Usually, the pain will resolve with time and when it does, you will take measures to ensure the chance of the pain returning is low.
We love to take care of our bodies to enhance our physical health but how many of us take the time to care for, and enhance our mental health?
Our mind is the control centre of our body. If your mental health is thriving, chances are your physical being will be too. Conversely, if you’re feeling tired or upset, your body will replicate this. There is an undeniable correlation between your mental and physical health which is why finding a balance is so important.
There will be periods of time which negatively affect our mental health. Compare these times to a musculoskeletal injury. Some people will try to ignore the problem until it disappears, others confront the issue to try and find a solution. We are all unique and cope in different ways, just like our bodies are different and respond to different forms of musculoskeletal treatment.
Envision this, you’re under the pump at work, your breathing becomes shorter, your heart starts racing and your palms become sweaty. Notice these sensations, stop what you’re doing and try to clear your mind. Practise some deep breathing, lay down and shut your eyes if necessary and more often than not, this will induce a calming sensation.
It is important to try and recognise early signs of mental distress before they turn into a more problematic episode. Being mindful of your body and listening to what it is trying to tell you helps raise your awareness to your mental state. Noticing these symptoms and taking action to help resolve them will go a long way in improving your mental well-being.
This is a prime example of how our physical state can influence our mental state. We start to stress, we stop, slow down and use our respiratory system to help relax our mind.
As human beings, we can be quite stubborn and resistant to change because change can be scary. We are creatures of habit and when we feel comfortable with something, we settle in and become content with our surroundings, even if they are having a negative effect on our lives.
Change is inevitable and it brings new opportunities. There can be a lot of uncertainty around change which comes from us trying to imagine all the different outcomes and scenarios that change may bring. Trying to predict the future can lead to us overthinking which can ultimately result in anxious feelings.
It is important to live in the present as much as you can. Deal with what you have in front of you, take things on a step-by-step basis and think of things methodically and rationally to help clear your mind and reduce your stress.
There is no benefit in dwelling on the past. The past has already happened and there is nothing we can change about it. That may be hard to stomach, but it is the truth. Same goes for the future. You cannot predict what is going to happen in 2 days time or in 2 years time, but you can create a pathway for yourself that leads you to the future you want.
The easiest way to adapt to change is to introduce small habits and changes and build them up progressively. For example, you may want to get out of bed earlier in the morning to attack the day. Let’s say you wake up at 8am normally. You get your clothes on for work and you are out the door by 8:30 without a shower or breakfast. Start by setting an alarm for 7:50am every morning for a week. The next week set it for 7:40am and the week after 7:30am. This will allow your body and mind to adjust to the incremental change that is happening, rather than trying to make a big change and failing and being disappointed in yourself. Yes we have all been there…
As I said, we are creatures of habit but we are also very good at adapting to different situations. The COVID-19 pandemic is the prime example of this. Try not to be hard on yourself as change can be difficult and confronting. Let yourself adapt at your own pace, give yourself time to adapt and you will feel much more comfortable and content with change.
Dr. Tim Roberts (Osteopath)
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