One topic I've been pondering lately is stress. How much of it is under our control, or are we not actually in control at all? Keep reading for a fast-acting tip for relieving stress that doesn’t involve any extra effort. LOL! I love meditation— but come on, we don't always have the extra time!
Why do I want to talk to you about stress? Well, it might be the biggest part of this rehab game. I see so many women doing well and then they have a major setback. Once we dive in, we usually find the cause was stress.
Darn you, brain-body connection!!
Those connections are what help us heal but can also be our demise. See, stress changes our hormones. Hormones control EVERYTHING. So, while healing is multifaceted, you need both the mental and physical components to succeed. I can teach you the physical. What you need to "DO". But, I can't control your cortisol levels or the stress in your life.
Here's what I've learned about stress. I'm hoping it will help give you a bit of insight which in turn will help you succeed in your physical journey!!
There are two types of stress. #1. Self-inflicted stress and #2. Outside stress we can't control.
What does self-inflicted stress look like? One form it takes on for me is "what-if-itis". What if this happens? What if that happens? What if...
What are you what-ifing about right now? Holiday drama? Travel arrangements? Your body? Progress you're worried about losing?
Studies show us that placebos are incredibly powerful. Placebos can get people well, even placebo surgery. 🙂 There's been a wonderful trend in the orthopedic world to actually test whether or not surgery is more helpful than conservative treatment. So surgeons performed “sham” surgery. (Pretty cool placebo!) Patients thought they were having surgery but they weren't. Clear evidence is coming out that surgery for certain areas might not be as effective as once thought.
A sham knee arthroscopy was just as effective as lavage and debridement in reducing knee pain at 1 and 2 years after the surgery .
In patients with osteoporotic fractures, undergoing sham vertebroplasty or actual vertebroplasty, there was a decreased use of opioid medication with no significant between-group differences at any follow-up period . Finally, sham surgery was just as effective in reducing pain as a common surgical technique for lateral epicondylitis (surgical excision of the macroscopically degenerated portion of extensor carpi radialis brevis) [48,51].
Thinking about having your knee cartilage cleaned up or your tennis elbow repaired? Well, you should let someone simply put pricks on your skin because it was just as effective. And these are only looking at the things tested! What about everything not tested?
My goal with this is NOT to say surgery isn't effective. Sometimes it is and very much needed!! My goal with this is to show you the power of your thoughts. The people thought surgery would make them better, so they got better, after years of nothing working. Crazy right?!
How often do our own thoughts hold us back? Probably a lot. 😉
Ok, so back to stress... I've been trying to channel and control my stress that's self-inflicted and stress that's coming from other things to decrease the negative impact on my body. A technique known as reframing works quite well for me and I'm hoping it will help you as well.
When I'm feeling stressed or faced with a stressful situation, (like being stuck at the oil change place for several hours because they locked my car and lost my keys, which had the kids’ car seats in it and I needed to pick them up. Or major stress, like finding out a close family member is very sick and might not be around next Christmas.) I pretend I'm someone else.
I'm not crazy, lol!! I just tend to be a bit A type and high strung. So when I start to feel stressed, I take a step back and think, "how would a laid back person on vacation respond to this situation?"
They probably wouldn’t yell at the oil change people.
This technique has helped me immensely!! Maybe you tend to have anxiety? So you could try something like, "what would a calm, collected non-worrier feel right now?" Or maybe you can just ask, "how would Oprah react?" 🙂
This process instantly calms me and makes (most) of the stress melt away. Being in that calm, non-stressed state helps me be more effective at getting things done anyway. So it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Look see, I can handle things! Wow, that feels good. Positive feelings = more positive feelings.
We can’t control all the stress, but we sure can control the self-inflicted stuff and how we respond to the rest.
So have your own “sham mental surgery” and reframe your thinking. You deserve to have a fun and stress-free life (no matter what curve balls life throws at you!)
And, if someone is really stressing you out, this tactic is sure to work.