Friday, March 20, 2015

Resiliency Through Challenging Times

I have often told patients that it would be nice if we could isolate them from the rest of the world when they began their time under Upper Cervical Care, so as not to have other issues arise independent of what their bodies need to do to get them back on an even keel. 

Everyone can relate to that.  If you’re an expecting mother and your toddler decides that they don’t want to go to bed at night anymore, forcing you to remove the afternoon nap from his/her schedule – the same nap used as “mommy time” – then it would be wonderful if stressors were not accumulating throughout the rest of your life during the transition.  If you’re planning to retire and you need to work just one more year to reach that point, then the last thing you want is a knee replacement that forces you to take time away that could have been spent inching one step closer to your career finish line.  If you’re starting a new business and your primary focus should be on letting people know what you offer, then weeks at a time trying to get a bank to loan you money gets in the way.  The bottom line is that the ideal scenario for anyone who needs to commit to one major thing is not to have several other extraneous things getting in the way. 

Unfortunately, we are rarely afforded the ideal circumstance, as true for a healing process as it is for anything else.  If we could lock ourselves in a bubble for one month and focus only on the things that we need to do in order to get well, then we would regain our health much faster.  So, how do we navigate the waters of our respective paths toward wellness when, odds are, there are going to be a few things that pile up on our plates while we’re on that journey? 

There is a basic framework that we can operate within to give ourselves the best chance to succeed – to lay a solid foundation to build ourselves into our best possible versions while life’s challenges are being thrown at us. 

It starts with the right attitude.  Resilience is defined as battling back from adversity to become stronger than you were before adversity struck.  One of the characteristic traits of resilient people is their positive outlooks on life.  Napoleon Hill, who worked with some of the most successful people of the early 20th century to discover their commonalities, wrote that “Your mind has a secret invisible talisman [lucky charm]. On one side is emblazoned the letters PMA (positive mental attitude) and on the other the letters NMA (negative mental attitude). A positive attitude will naturally attract the good and the beautiful. The negative attitude will rob you of all that makes life worth living.”

We cannot let challenges defeat us.  We’re going to be tested, but what defeats us is not the challenges, themselves, but our attitude toward them.  People who are genuinely grounded in their faith offer us templates for to make perception work in our favor.  When they encounter a rough patch, notice how they accept it as part of their journey and move strongly forward to the next phase. 

Consider, also, that it is much easier to maintain a good attitude if we take the time to gain perspective of our situations.  Famous French philosopher, Pascal, once wrote that “All of man’s problems could be solved if he could just learn to sit alone in a room with himself for an hour.”  Amen to that.  We are bombarded daily with so much information, but rarely do we take the time necessary to process and assimilate it.  That extends to health, especially to our patients, who can vouch for the fact that we do not go easy on the education.  We try to counteract the barrage of allopathic/pharmaceutical information with a steady dose of the holistic mindset.  So, it is wise to find quiet moments to relax your mind. 

“When you connect to the silence within you, that is when you can make sense of the disturbance going on around you,” says Stephen Richards, who has written many books on the power of the mind.  Meditation is the common practice suggested by the natural health community to quiet the mind, but I know from speaking with many of you that said term has a negative connotation.  Well, really meditation is just contemplation; a fancy way of saying “sit down and think.”  We could all benefit from sitting down to think.  People of faith have a natural outlet for it (prayer), again offering us a pattern to follow. 

I get it.  I’ve always been open and honest with you about my own life and the challenges that I have, partly in hopes that you can see that just because you know the path doesn’t mean that you won’t find a winding road to travel while walking the path.  We have another baby on the way in two months and our 2 ½ year old daughter has been as challenging as she has ever been.  She was the inspiration for the nap time comment made in the second paragraph.  Her developing immune system was exposed to some sort of virus that she got over in a day, but which knocked me down hard for most of a week, thanks in large part to my being run down because the snow days knocked my office schedule into chaos.  The week before the snow storms began, my front office computer went down on the same day that my garage door wouldn’t lift.  Sometimes, it seems like it’s just one thing after another.

Each of the five essentials of healthy living – normal function, proper nutrition, structural balance, stress management, and physical activity – are important aspects of going with life’s flow (especially while trying to regain your health once you’ve lost it); they all work together to shape what your road to well-being actually looks like.  Body chemistry and hormonal balance is governed by the quality of your food, the basic activity that produces hormones is governed by your brainstem and nerve system, structural balance is largely responsible for physical well-being, and exercise keeps your structural frame durable and strong.  However, your attitude is arguably the most pertinent to today’s topic.  Thinking well makes it easier for you to be well.  Taking time to think better allows you to think well. 

Thinking good things for all of you,

Dr. Chad

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