I’m in an interesting position with the work that I do and the location I do most of it from. My services, Muscle Activation Techniques and Strategic Resistance Training, pretty much appeals to everyone to some degree. This is why in the same week, or even the same day I might work with a 38 year old stay at home mom, a 65 year old tennis player, an 87 year old golfer and a 27 year old professional athlete. The “problems” that drove them to come see me could range from some sort of pain, to limited flexibility, to low tolerance for some activity or it could be driven by a desire to prevent things from getting worse. Needless to say, I have ALOT of variety in my work weeks.
One thing that I always find fascinating to discover is how people think in regards to their physical body. What I’ve found in working with hundreds of people over the past 10 years is that how people think about their body, their health, any problems that occur and fundamentally about themselves as people has as much to do with their ability to get better as anything else.
One way this really becomes obvious is when you see that someone has mentally become their problem or problems.
What do I mean?
Well, you can often hear it when they speak about their various problems and listen to the words and phrases they use. Things like:
“I’m messed up”
“I’m breaking down”
“I need to be fixed”
“I’m always in pain”
Have you ever heard anyone speak like this about themselves? Have you ever spoken like this about yourself?
So what’s the big deal? Well if you’ll notice the subtle implications of such phrases you will see that the person making them has actually said (and mentally determined) that they are their problem and their problem is them.
You see when statements or thoughts are made that begin with “I am” what follows is a statement of identity. If you are your problem than its going to be very difficult to ever really believe that it can change because after all, with this mindset it is a part of you right?
Lets look at the next level up which is to make the same statements but instead of it being your complete identity, its just the identity of a certain part of your body.
“My neck is all messed up”
“My back is a wreck”
“My hip just isn’t normal”
“My legs are weak”
In this example, this person has a slightly better chance of improving because they have not made their problem a part of their complete identity, however because they believe this about a certain part of their body a few things will happen.
1. They will be very skeptical of anything that could possibly help them overcome this problem because they will have mentally decided that they are too far gone.
2. They will attempt new things to try and help themselves but always be looking for a reason why it isn’t working.
The human mind is a funny thing. Study after study has shown that our minds are constantly searching for anything and everything we can find to reinforce what we already believe to be true, even if it is false. This is why you can often have a logical debate with someone about a subject and have them completely reject all reasonable argument on the basis of one or two minor pieces of evidence to support their position. I see it ALL the time.
So lets look at the next level up in terms of thinking. This level is all about the “feel” statements.
“I feel pain in my back”
“I feel weakness in my arms”
“I feel a little sick”
These statements are better because there is no identity statement involved it is simply a statement of how you are perceiving yourself at the moment. However, there is also a flaw with this because it is not an empowering statement at all. In other words it doesn’t leave you feeling like you will win because it is just a neutral statement.
The highest level of thinking is with the empowering statement. Now these may not be statements that you 100% believe every time you say them but research has shown that what we say has a powerful effect on our body regardless.
“I’m fighting a flu”
“I’m working through some back pain”
“I’m in the process of recovery”
These statements are stating facts, but in an empowering way. This is critical for making improvements.
If you’ve read this entire article, congratulations. You’ve learned something that few people ever learn. Begin this change by monitoring how you speak about your body to others and even to yourself. Watch for the identity statements or disempowering statements and make a conscious effort to change your words and phrases to empowering ones. It very well could be the thing that turns the tides for you.