"Be" Attitudes for Physical Therapy


I recently was exposed to a thought process that opened my eyes a bit.


This process discussed attitudes toward life that will help you grow as a person and in your relationships. This lecture went on to list 6 attitudes to ‘be’ during the course of your day (and life) – they were called Be-attitudes. These attitudes could be considered the foundation of a good relationship with yourself and all those around you.
This got me thinking. What are good be-attitudes of physical therapy? What can help you get through the recovery process more efficiently and what can help you stay healthy in the future? I came up with 6 attitudes that, when adhered to (in my mind) will make the process that much smoother.
BE ATTITUDES:
1. Be Positive.
2. Be Consistent.
3. Be Upright.
4. Be Variable.
5. Be Patient
6. Be Honest (with yourself)
Let’s Flesh those out some, shall we?
1. Be Positive.
- Because a negative attitude will only serve to prolong your misery and often, add to it. The power of positive thinking is a wonderful thing. If you’re stuck reminding yourself of everything that is wrong, or everything you can’t do, you’re going to miss everything that is right and all that you CAN do. The recovery process is not linear. But being positive, in spite of changes, can make all the difference in the world.
2. Be Consistent.
- If you do your exercises consistently, you will see changes. we may need to modify or eliminate them once you’ve reached a certain point, but if you’re consistent, you will see change. Let’s agree that recovery is a large hill in front of you and you’re sitting on the tracks, about to climb that hill. (Also, for the sake of this example you’re also a train). A steady and consistent speed will progressively allow you to climb that hill until you reach the peak. Before that, should you stop, or hesitate, or falter, you train will begin to slide back down the hill.  Sometimes, the climb seems long, arduous, and without an end or signs of easier times. Yet, at the peak, the work becomes much less to stay on top. This is the reward – the same payoff for less effort – but you have to be consistent to that point. Corrective Exercises are no different in the recovery process. Discontinue them, disown them, or disregard them and you will see your train begin to backslide back down that hill. A wise man once told me “Nothing Changes when Nothing Changes.”
3. Be Upright.
- Because sitting is the worst thing we can do. From terrorizing our posture, to making us sedentary, to shortening our life expectancy. Get up, move, break the chain.
4. Be Variable.
- The vast majority of injuries come from repetitive strains or habits that are so ingrained due to constant loading during work, play, home duties. When it comes to exercise, we tend to get stuck in the same routine. This not only can increase your risk for repetitive strain, cause you to fail to pay proper attention to exercise form, and cause limited progress due to lack of new stimuli to the body ( the body loves new stimuli); it can also lead to an inability to adjust or allow for different tasks, exercises, or duties to be introduced int your life without pain or strain. The more variable you are, the more diverse, the more prepared you are to handle whatever life throws at you – plus you won’t get nearly as bored.
5. Be Patient.
- Recovery takes time. Often by the time you come and see me, this has become a chronic issue. With its own set of mental blocks, preconceived notions, prior specialist’s opinions, Google Health factoids, and pathologic movement patterns. All of which take time, consistency (see #2), positivity (#1) and patience. Time is a variable we can’t manipulate and often, healing is dictated by this time. But we CAN enhance what we do with our time to aid and improve the recovery process. This can be with exercise, diet, mental approach, relaxation, music, etc. Our body has an exceptional ability to learn things. Good and bad things. Good and bad habits. And it takes time to unlearn bad habits and time to learn good habits. Be patient.
6. Be Honest (with yourself)
- Admit your fears, your reservations, your addictions, dependencies and your successes. You’ll find you’re often just like anyone else going down this same path. But if you are not ready to recover (mentally, physically) be honest. Because without it, you will surely ask for failure, cause you to resent those who ‘helped’ you, and lead to a cycle in which you become certain there is no help. I’ve had more than one patient whose chronic symptoms lead to a cycle of dependency on pain meds and the assistance of others. This was, in a weird twisted way, comforting to these patient’s knowing they had support. They had a deep underlying fear of that support being removed if wellness was achieved.
From my own point of view, regardless of your ailment, if you stick to these tenants, you will see improvements. By using these as a guideline, I hope that you can get a better view of not only the big picture, but the continuum of the recovery process.
Happy Times!

Contributed by Dr. Eric Christensen, PT, DPT

3 comments:

  1. Great points! I'm thinking what to add, but then again you had it all already. Sum everything, and now you got Daniel's "be your best".

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