I often met people who tell me they want to get healthier or feel better. When I ask them, how will they know if they are healthier? Or how will they know when they are feeling better? I am often greeted by a blank stare.
Sometimes, improvements happen slowly and can then be hard to see or even quantify. That is why it’s important to have multiple outcomes and measurements to see how you’ve improved. It’s also why we do regular progress exams at the office, to see if you’re on target to reach your goals.
So whether you want to get healthier, fitter, feel more confident, or speaking up more, decide what you want your outcome to be. How will speaking up more be measured? Will it be when you can say No to someone instead of saying yes? Perhaps it's talking to the person who’s been bothering your for a while.
What if your goal was to get over your fear of public speaking. What could be outcomes along the way? Maybe you do a talk in front of 3 people or join toastmasters and attend the meetings. Other goals could be making a speech at a friends wedding or even asking a question in class. No matter your goal, remember to check in with yourself periodically to see if you are on track towards your goals.
Here are some questions to ask when you are tracking something
Whenever you are about to start something new, ask yourself what your outcomes are.
If there is a result that you wish to achieve in care or if you need help coming up with outcomes, let me know the next time you’re in.
Moment 1) 8:00pm, after an amazing workshop, I go to lock the office door and I realised that I had lent my office key to a co-worker.
What am I to do now? It is interesting how something that comes up unexpectedly can bring you to the present moment. Previous thoughts about what to eat for dinner, how late it was, etc were gone.
After a couple choice words, my thinking brain kicked into gear. Can I turn on the alarm and keep the door unlocked? Who’s the closest person to the office that can come and lock the door? How long will I have to wait here for them to come? What are my options?
After deciding to call the office manager, Ya-Wen for help, she had another solution that brought me to Moment 2). Finding a spare key located in a drawer. Feelings of relief flood into me. My problem is solved and I can go home.
As I was driving home, I thought about these two significant moments and realised: Life is simply a series of moments. Some are forever engrained into your nervous system...the first time you rode a bike, your first kiss, the day you got married or had a child. Others, just pass us by.
When the important moments come up, do you appreciate them the way you should? We only have a limited number of moments, how are you spending yours? With whom do you spend your precious few? What are you doing to make your moments count for something?
Homework: Make a list of some of the most important moments in your life. Appreciate them and be grateful for the ones you have.
I thank the circumstances that came about to remind me of the precious gift of a moment. I woke up this morning and was thankful that I get the opportunity to wake up today when so many others, did not. Here’s to making your moments count today!
This week's guest blog comes from Dr. Thorin Gault in Cornwall, ON. He has some great timely advice on how to stay healthy over the holidays.
A reminder that the office is open over the holidays with reduced hours. Please call ahead 613-761-1600.
Don't Let Your Health Take a Holiday
Whether we like it or not, the holiday season has begun. The lights and trees are starting to go up and soon it will be time for parties, treats, libations and visiting with family.
As all of this fun is happening one of the biggest challenges many people face is that they tend to get sick and cannot fully enjoy all that the season has to offer. It is not a coincidence that flu/cold season tends to start now and I know that chiropractors also see more back and neck pain ‘emergencies’ at this time of year than any other.
When you combine more junk food (which starts with Halloween), a decrease in sun exposure and fresh air, staying out late, more alcohol than usual, and increased financial and family stress you have a recipe for failings in our health that often show up as illness and pain.
So, how do you enjoy the holidays and not end up out of commission? Can you indulge and still stay healthy? The answer is yes if you are smart about it.
The key to staying healthy over the holidays is to continue to do the good things while you indulge in the ‘treats.’ What that means is that while you indulge a little, be sure to continue to keep the habits that make you healthy all year round. Unfortunately many people let it all slide this time of year and end up paying for it.
So, if you know you are going to eat some junk, make sure you are loading up on fresh produce and high quality meat as well. Drink lots of water. If you know you will be out late, schedule some naps and a few quiet nights to minimize the effects. Don’t drop your exercise program. Schedule walks or mediation sessions to be sure your stress levels are handled.
Personally, as the holidays approach I pay even more attention to doing the good things so that I can have lots of fun, stay healthy and go into the new year floor running. Here are some of the steps I take.
Diet is crucial to staying healthy and while I am a self professed sugar addict and love baked goods, I make absolute certain I am eating lots of healthy food each day. Breakfast is a great way to start. I also make sure I load up on green veggies (as well as a green drink supplement) and meat at meal times.
While obviously it is better to get our nutrients from food, supplements really are essential to maximize our health – especially during the winter months. Everyone can benefit from high quality vitamin D, fish oil, and probiotic supplementation at this time of year. I also supplement vitamin C, magnesium and zinc and have seen wonderful results since doing so.
Physical exercise is a great way to stay healthy over the holidays, yet so many people let this slide. I use the extra time off of work to make sure I am physically active on a daily basis over the holidays (it is now a tradition in my house to do a squat session on Christmas day). It does not have to be complicated or elaborate, especially if you are travelling. Go for a hike, do some bodyweight exercises, visit a gym in the town you are in. It doesn’t matter, just move! It will keep you healthy.
Despite my Nordic appearance I really don’t like being outside in the cold and this is a challenge because fresh air is very important to our health. Shovel some snow, go skating, build a snow man, walk to the coffee shop. Get out and breathe the air.
Because it is impossible to eliminate or ‘fight’ stress at this time of year it is important to make sure the effects of that stress are not physically accumulating towards a crisis. I meditate daily which helps with this and my biggest weapon is the Neuro Optimization chiropractic care I receive for myself. I much prefer to stay on top of things instead of waiting until I have an emergency on my hands.
Start now to ensure you have a fun AND healthy and happy holiday season. Commit to the good so that you can indulge in some ‘bad.’
Einstein said that the definition of insanity was to do the same things over and over again and expect different results.
A few weeks ago, I lost my car keys. I went to 3 different locations in the house to look for them and when I couldn’t find them, I went back to the first place that I was looking. I did this cycle twice checking in the same places as the first time before I laughed at myself. I remembered Einstein’s quote and realised that I was being insane. I finally looked in a new place and found my keys! If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always gotten.
I see this often in my practice when someone comes in and says, I want you to take me back to before I had (fill in the blank) pain. I then ask them, if I took you back to the day before you had back pain would you be happy? Their answer is No, because they would continue to do what they did and the back pain would come back.
My objective is not to take people back to where they were before they had something, I want to give them new resources so they don’t keep getting the same results in their body and in their life.
Ever experience pain that keeps coming back over and over again? It’s because you are still doing the same behaviours, having the same thoughts and experiencing the same emotions that brought the pain on. Change your actions, your emotions and your thoughts and you change the body you have!
If you are bored or unhappy with the results you are getting in your body and your life, take steps to 1) Become aware of your current patterns. 2) Choose the actions, habits, behaviours you want to change 3) Do it. If you need help with this, my January Advanced workshop is open to all and titled “New Year, New You”. RSVP 613-761-1600
The cells in our body are constantly changing and turning over. If you looked at a picture of yourself from 10 years ago, the cells present in the picture would not be the same as the ones you have today. This is due to cell death and growth.
But how does a cell know how to re-create itself again?
Your body gives your cells the cues on how to regrow. The body that you have now, the way you move through your ranges of motion, your emotions and thoughts, etc, were determined by the cues you gave it whether you were aware of it or not. This conditioning began from the day you were born.
Let say we have 2 people, an office worker and a painter. The office worker sits at their desk all day, fairly inactive and uses their arms for typing and the mouse. They drive into work and only reach their arms as high as their steering wheel. If they did not work the mobility in their arms, they would eventually have trouble lifting them far above their head. They may even get injured reaching for something high. This is because their body has been conditioned to work within a certain range. For the painter who uses full range of their arms and shoulder, they would not have the same issues.
When we were first born, we were very flexible and malleable. We had large ranges of motion and also emotion. We expressed our emotions frequently through temper tantrums, laughing, crying etc. As we aged, we started to lose some of those ranges and our thoughts get stuck in certain patterns. We were told that good children don't cry so we tried to stop allowing ourselves to cry. It's not police to get angry and voice your option. We stopped that as well.
Your nervous system is hardwired by the ranges of motion, emotions and thoughts that you put it through. Different thoughts and emotions lead to changes in your posture and in turn the wiring of your nervous system.
Your body determines the physical, emotional and mental ranges of motions you need and then eliminates the rest. Your tissues will adapt to the demand that you place on it. If you don’t use an emotion, range of motion or certain thoughts, you won’t stimulate the tissue to be made in that range. This occurs because everything in your body requires energy. Energy to break down food, continue with bodily functions, energy to experience anger, love, joy, etc. In order to conserve your energy, you body will get rid of what you don’t need anymore.
So, how do you change your conditioned ranges to stimulate new cells?
First is to be aware of how you are moving, feeling and thinking. Once aware, consciously and progressively choose to load and move the tissue into a greater range. When we remove the neuro abnormalities in your body here at the office, you then need to practice the new ranges of motion, emotion and thought so you can stimulate and train your new range.
Remember that you communicate with your body each time you move, feel and emotion or think. Be aware of how you influence the way your cell grows and dies.
Dr. Amanda is a non-traditional chiropractor who focuses on Neuro-Optimization Chiropractic in Ottawa, Canada.