Monday, June 11, 2018

What is Your Threshold?

What is Your Threshold?

I heard a talk the other day about what level are you walking around at.  The talk was about anger and anxiety and how an event we have come to blame can trigger an outburst.  For example,  you may be driving around and not paying attention and accidentally cut someone off.  That person may give you a polite beep, or they may get sent into a road rage and lay on the horn, cursing you as they do it.  

It wasn't the event that set them off, the event was just an opportunity for them to express anger.  It gave them a "valid" reason to express the anger building in them.  They were at a 9/10 already.  Perhaps you have experienced it with your kids or a coworker, they do one wrong thing and you lose it.  The question becomes do they deserve better?  Don't your kids deserve more then 1 or 2  buffer on the anger scale?

The reason that resonated with me, is A, I think I can walk around with to high on the annoyance scale at times and B it relates to therapy quite a bit.  Self reflection can be tough.  

How often as therapist have we heard, I do this (insert anything) and my pain goes away.  That insert is an adjustment, yoga, a stretch, exercise, drink this, eat that, rub this, anything really.  But, it comes back.  So they do it again.

How often as therapist do we do (insert anything), it gets better and we think (insert anything) is the answer to everything?  But, it comes back.  So we do it again.

Lets say you are looking at 4 blocks.  They are stacked on top of one another.  At the height of the 3rd block there is a line and we get pain when we go over that line.  That is the threshold.  So 4 blocks is pain, 3 block is no pain.  2 block we couldn't tell a difference from a 3rd block.  1 block is the same, we couldn't tell any difference between 1, 2 or 3, but oh man, add the 4th and we are hurting.  

Those blocks can be anything.  Bad sleep, bad nutrition, bad emotional baggage, over used muscle, weak hip, dehydration....anything that might have a negative impact on how our body feels and moves.  We target one thing and we get better.  

We will use Joe as an example.  Joe got a new mattress, he wakes up every morning now and his lower back doesn't hurt.  Joe now believes a mattress is key along with a good night sleep.  His friend tells him he should drink more water now too.  He tries and doesn't feel any different.  His other friend say, you should walk more.  He does for a few days, but doesn't feel any different, so he stops. He goes to his in-laws and sleeps on what he now looks at as a bad mattress and wakes up with lower back pain.  He has without a doubt, in his eyes,  proven that his mattress is what keeps his back healthy.  

But, the mattress was only one block.  He didn't stick with the water to rehydrate tissue long enough, to see if sleeping on any mattress was the only key.  He didn't keep walking to build up a stronger aerobic base to see if that would help a few months in.  

We all have several blocks regardless of pain or movement.  We can all get better at dropping our levels down a notch to be more resilient, to be less fragile, mentally, emotionally and physically.  It requires self reflection and consistency.  It's great to have a (insert magic) thing to do to bring us to a good place, but lets not rely on one thing.  Let's figure out what else can be done to increase our threshold.   Let's build a bigger buffer zone.  

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