Why does one person doing a task end up with a Repetitive Strain Injury while another (who is essentially the same size and build) doing the same task at the same speed doesn’t?
For Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, scientists have suggested that it may have something to do with wrist shape. Others have suggested a predisposition because of past experiences or genetics. Some studies point to general stress levels. Others point to minor differences in the way the task is approached.
I was reading an article recently in Time Magazine (Jun 6/2011)by Tali Sharot that talked about the human inclination toward positive thinking, the way we can look at the future with hope in spite of any troubles around us.
The article talked about specific brain structures(the amygdala and the pre-frontal cortex)that maintain our balance between positive and negative thinking. Amazingly, this scientist and her team measured a difference between the way these structures balance electrical activity when positive and negative thoughts are formed.
They even have noted differences in the baseline activity in 'normal' and depressed persons. When the two are equally balanced, you are mildly depressed and have a real view of the world and the probable future. Otherwise, you are unrealisticly optimistic or overly pessimistic. Most people tend towards optimism.
This brought to mind the 10 Guidelines for Health Living I recently ran across. These were developed in 1999 by Frederic Larkin, PhD of Palo Alto in California.
- 1. You will not live forever. Don’t expect to.
- 2. You are not the center of the universe. Don’t act like it.
- 3. Your life will not always be easy. Don’t whine about it.
- 4. Your body may hurt at times. Accept this with care.
- 5.. You will never understand enough about anything. Remain in awe of the mystery.
- 6. You will sometimes be discouraged. Don’t stop trying.
- 7. There is incredible beauty everywhere. Constantly look for it.
- 8. Friends will disappoint you. Forgive them.
- 9. You will age and grow older. Observe the changes with interest.
- 10. There is no certainty about tomorrow. Live well today.
These are very practical rules. They tend to be accepting of reality yet still hold that kernel of hope for the future. They provide not only a means of managing life’s disappointments, but also a way to avoid behavioral pitfalls that would make you unpleasant to be around.
This may be central to maintaining a happy and productive life in spite of any physical restrictions or pain you may be experiencing. They may sustain you through the difficult times.
The way you consider and accept or reject your condition and limitations will affect the way you feel about yourself. Do you feel you are a failure for being unable to conquer and work through your pain? Do you feel that you cannot do anything anymore? Do you feel you will never get better?
All of these feelings are false. If they persist, they may stand in the way of your healing, preventing you from following through with your therapy and stand in the way of doing what you can do to get better.
Pain studies have shown that after it is experienced for a long period of time, (chronic pain), pain persists even when there is no physical cause for it. The body has learned to hurt. Pain is just pain. Having pain does not necessarily mean you are re-injuring yourself.
We each live in a world of our own creation. The way we accept both joy and trouble, both pain and comfort is determined by our outlook. Our outlook determines our behavior and our action. For the most part, we have power over our outlook.
Remember those brain structures? By changing your outlook you change those electrical potentials. If you are at a point where you cannot do this on your own, speak with your doctor. There are solutions.
Follow your restrictions and act when you can. “Suffer what there is to suffer. Enjoy what there is to enjoy. Accept both as facts of life” (Nichiren). Without suffering, how could we experience and understand joy? Both are temporary conditions in this interesting and every changing world.
Wishing you well!