On Fridays I like to share experiences I’ve had during the week with patients and in my personal life that I’ve found significant. I like to share them in hopes that you might find value in them and have something resonate with you in your life.
A study I love. During a study at Harvard in 1957, Dr. Curt Richter placed rats in a pool of water to test how long they could tread water. On average they’d give up and sink after 15 minutes due to exhaustion. Rather than let them drown, the researchers would pull them out, dry them off, let them rest for a few minutes and put them back in for a second round. After only a brief rest and nearly drowning a minute before, the rats lasted an average of 60 HOURS before sinking again due to exhaustion. The conclusion was that since the rats BELIEVED that they would eventually be rescued, they could push their bodies way past what they previously thought impossible.
I can promise you from personal experience that if you can convince yourself that you are strong and resilient, you can achieve far more than you thought possible. Much like the rats, you will also find that your results are not slightly better than they were but dramatically so. Most people give up on themselves at about 40% of their true output as a protective mechanism against discomfort. When you make yourself push past that point, you will find that you have unlocked an entirely new level of your abilities that will take you places you once thought impossible.
Something I’d like to share. In 2018, I was the head football coach for a team of eight-year-old boys. Near the end of the season, a mom came to me and told me her son would not be able to finish our final two games. I assumed it was an ankle sprain or something similar, but it was a rare form of liver cancer. He left to go through treatments no one should have to face, especially a young child. A year later he rejoined our team and almost a year to the day, his cancer returned. At his final game, I played him more than usual and we beat our biggest rival in a game in which we were huge underdogs. It was inspirational and we carried him off the field. I think of that day often.
This little guy underwent a liver transplant a few years ago and seemed to be doing well. However, I learned on Tuesday that his cancer returned aggressively last year, he is now in hospice care, and expected to pass within days. I read his father’s description of fulfilling his son’s final wishes and it broke my heart. I have watched my aunt and uncle, parents, and in-laws all lose children at early ages and know all too well the grief that comes with it. It is cliched but please remember to take time with the people you care for most. We get busy and stressed with things every day, but in the end the relationships we have with our family and friends are far more important. Enjoy those you love and take nothing for granted.
Something I encounter often. As a chiropractor, I encounter people daily that have been in pain for weeks, months, or even years. Some of these people suffered serious injuries and some have challenging diseases or conditions, but those are rarer than you may think. More commonly, I speak to people who have been in pain for long periods but have done nothing to deal with it. They often come in frustrated that they haven’t gotten better but don’t correlate it with the fact they have done little to nothing to fix it. Even worse, these cases are usually easy to help if a person is simply willing to do something about it.
I am not suggesting that the second you feel an ache or pain you need to run out to have it checked. Some things are minor and will resolve easily but more serious things may require at least some assistance, especially those showing no signs of resolving on their own. Your body is a sophisticated machine with amazing healing and recuperative abilities when cared for properly. However, much like a machine, if it isn’t running well, it may require someone to diagnose and fix it. If you are suffering from something that is negatively impacting your life, it is worth going to a professional for help. You may also be pleasantly surprised to discover that the solution to your long-standing issue may be much easier to attain than you thought.
Something important from a recent seminar. I attended a seminar last weekend that went into depth on all the specific scientific links between the brain (mind) and all aspects of our health. These included complex and comprehensive details about how our minds can affect physiology, immune function, cancer cells, and more. It’s too dense to write about here but suffice it to say, there are vast and proven links showing that your mind drastically affects how your body works.
What struck me most was how negative thoughts can damage the body. Decreased immune function, pain patterns not tied to injury, proliferation of cancer cells, and more have all been proven to be affected when someone is chronically stressed, angry, and/or negative. You can literally make yourself sick or worse from the way you think. Since that is the case, the reverse will also be true. When you maintain a positive outlook and manage stress as best you can, your body will respond by keeping you healthier and fighting off disease more effectively. Youl have upwards of 60,000 thoughts per day, learn to use them to your advantage.
Some quotes I love.
“Your focus on hating yesterday is killing your opportunity to love tomorrow.” – Gary Vaynerchuck
“You have power over your mind, not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.” – Marcus Aurelius
“The struggle you are facing is a test to see if you are truly committed to the life you say you want.” – Marc Bernacchi