Imagine you’ve been working with your therapist – be it massage, physio, yoga or otherwise – and you’ve been incorporating movement into your treatment plan.
Keeping Hope Alive by Celebrating the Little Things
I see it so often...
People feel so discouraged when they're still not 'there'.
They arrive to their appointment frustrated or resigned because they still have pain, they still can’t sleep through the night, or they still can’t stand in the kitchen long enough to cook a meal without needing to take a break.
Whatever it is that they are struggling with – it’s still there.
Whatever it is they are aspiring to do – they haven’t reached it yet.
It IS important to know what your end goal is
Knowing what you need your body to do or tolerate, and how you want to feel gives direction for so many things:
- What needs to be assessed and tracked
- What types of interventions to try
- What kind of lifestyle changes may help
- How you can cope in the meantime
- What to watch for to avoid secondary issues
But it can be also be easy to get tunnel vision
When someone is SO focused on where they WANT to be, where they ARE can get clouded.
It’s amazing how much our brain gravitates towards something negative and can be so blind to something positive!
For instance; I always ask people how they’re doing when they arrive to their appointments – what’s changed, what’s the same, and what’s the biggest concern they want addressed that day.
They’ll start telling me what’s bugging them, usually in a tone that suggests they’re tired and frustrated. They’ll say something like, “Well, [this] still hurts, and [that’s] still pretty bad, and I still can’t do [x,y,z].”
Meanwhile, I may notice that they didn’t mention something that’s been a concern or complaint at previous appointments… I’ll ask them about it, and they’ll have this moment of shocked realization and say something like, “Oh! That hasn’t been bothering me, I totally forgot about that!”.
Next thing you know, they’re feeling a lot better about their prospects. Clearly, while some things still haven’t changed in the way they want, they now have proof that something did change. There’s this renewed hope that they’re making progress and they aren’t doomed to feel this way forever.
Losing perspective over time can also mess with how you view your progress
Remembering all the details isn’t easy, especially when your brain is really good at ‘forgetting’ little details as circumstances slowly morph over time.
If you could put present-day you and past-time you in the same room to compare symptoms, you would probably find that
- The intense or widespread your pain is now would pale in comparison to what it was before. Past you would have LOVED to be in the position you are currently in.
- The limited movement you have now may be much less limited than it was before. Past you would probably do anything to have what little extra movement you now have.
- You may not be getting the best quality sleep, but in comparison to how it used to be, you could be waking much more rested than before. Past you would dream of getting the amount or quality of sleep you are now getting.
Celebrate the smaller milestones along the way
Writing things down can be really helpful. I created a journaling sheet to help people track how they’re feeling day to day.
It was technically designed to help people identify what kinds of things tended to lead to their symptoms, but it could also be used to help you track what you did day to day and how you felt later on.
Looking back on this could give you a clearer ‘big picture’ perspective on how far you actually have come.
If you want to give it a go, you can get the free guide and journal here.
This blog entry was written by Heather and is based on what she has seen resonate with, and work for her clientele for over a decade. She is a career student who keeps her massage and yoga therapy training current, and does her best to keep up with the newest research and evidence.
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