THOUGHTS AND THOUGHT VIRUSES
Like the other topics, there is lots of evidence to support this topic, and we can go on for hours discussing and debating...but that isn't our purpose here. We simply want to point out things that are good for most everyone, are practical, and pretty much "one size fits all".
Here is our premise: Your thoughts influence your body, and vice-versa. More than you think. In this post, we're starting with the thoughts. If you pay attention to your thoughts and feelings, how would you categorize them at this moment? For example, are you feeling optimistic or pessimistic? Did you know that there are highly regarded studies that link each of those outlooks with successful and poor outcomes, respectively, in health and medicine? For example, click here to read the "Dunn Study" which shows a correlation between pessimism and poor outcomes in rotator cuff tear rehabilitation.
How about the categories of happy, anxious, depressed, excited, or afraid? Confident or insecure? Can you recognize these feelings and relate them to your breathing? Your sense of relaxation or alertness? A sense of ease or tension? We bet if you simply took a moment to reflect you might. Typically anxiety goes hand in hand with a forward head, shoulders that are raised and rounded, and muscles that are held in a tense manner. More than likely it will also cause you to tighten - on a prolonged basis - the muscles at the base of your skull and around your jaw too.
Take a minute and notice. Does this apply to you? Right now? How about at other times? Can you recognize the connections, in the moment, when you have various thoughts and feelings in real time? Can you notice these connections when the thoughts and feelings are stronger? How about if they aren't as strong, but they're prolonged, as they are in a mood as opposed to a feeling?
It's no big deal if we do these things now and then - such as tightening our jaw when we're tense. It's human and normal. The problem is if it becomes prolonged or habitual - and in our experience it typically does. Muscles love to contract for a moment, but they don't like to be held in a contracted or isometric state for a prolonged period of time. Want some proof? Go ahead, contract your bicep, even moderately hard, for 60 seconds. How does that feel? Now imagine how you might be doing that for hours on end with various muscles throughout your body, on a day to day basis. In our experience it's commonplace, and learning to disconnect the thoughts and feelings from your body's posture and sense of tension is typically a key part of the rehab process.