Healthy Habits and Growing Pains

I found this article motivational today.

http://zenhabits.net/7-little-habits-that-can-change-your-life-and-how-to-form-them/

I’ve been working on step 1:Positive Thinking for a few years, and actually do squash negative thoughts fairly effectively – most of the time. Thinking positive, to me, does not mean you have to be disgustingly, gushingly happy and cheerful 24/7. To me, it means that you do not give up hope when things go wrong. It means you stop the negative spiral into despair, and know and trust in yourself that you can stop it. My positive thinking mantra is very simple.

I WILL BE OK. IT WILL BE OK. PERFECTION IS NOT NEEDED. THIS IS NOT PERFECT RIGHT NOW. OK IS OK.

I am now working on the second step listed in the article: Exercise.

I have learned so many ways to trick myself into NOT exercising over my 36 years, that I often don’t do it. So I figured out ways now to trick myself INTO exercising, little bits here and there. I combined it with my other least favorite thing to do, waiting. Every morning I kiss my darlings and bid them a fond farewell (Go, just go already!) as they head out to the bus stop. The school bus comes to the end of my street, 2 houses away. I can watch my kids through the window while they experience morning weather and I hide inside in my jammies. Everyone goes to the bus stop about 10-15 minutes early, and I used to struggle to stay at the window the entire time to make sure they get on the bus safely. One day I started doing some fidgets and toe taps to keep me there. Next day I added wall presses. Next day I added leg lifts. And now, I just realized, I look forward to my 10-15 minutes of exercise every day. I basically stand still the entire time, and use the window frame to push against for great stretches and isometrics. I get a nice burn in my arms, chest, bottom, tummy – everything really.

I’ve been doing this routine for a month or so now without really thinking about it. I noticed yesterday that a blouse with elastic ruffly gathered sleeves (I know nothing about clothes, so giving a visual, probably not the right words) did not touch my arms any more. At first I thought it must have gotten stretched out, but a quick tug showed the elastic to be in good shape, and a look in the mirror showed my arms to be in good shape too! Is that, wait for it. . . . muscle tone? Hooray! All those wall presses have given a slight tone and definition to my biceps and triceps, and much less jiggle hanging off my arm. It was a magical moment. Although I am in a normal weight range, my muscle tone was equal to umm, about that of a jellyfish.

Dance Floor

Dance Floor (Photo credit: enric archivell)

 

So when one of my dancer friends told me she was starting a beginner dance series, I knew I had to do it. I had my first class yesterday! It was fun, yet challenging. I have danced with them before, but in a comical style that did not require much skill, grace or strength. I am not naming the style of dance I am learning now, but it takes a lot more control than anything I tried before. My weak leg (from a childhood spinal cord injury in case you don’t know) was screaming and twitching (one move with knee bent and toes extended is actually one of the tests the neurologists do on me to evaluate spinal nerve health and triggers the twitching, but I learn to adapt and be OK with what I can do) well before the hour was up, but it was a good kind of pain. A pain of growth.

And that got me thinking about how I’ve been feeling the past few weeks here mentally. All that pain – is just growing pains!

I feel more ready to accept the road ahead, to continue healing from past abuse, to recover from PTSD, when I know it is just growing pains and will only hurt a while, and I will emerge stronger and healthier from it. It also makes sense that it will hurt often, just like exercise, overdo the situps and your tummy hurts. Overdo the emotions and your brain and nerves hurt. Really is quite simple. I’m actually dancing right now with this realization. An “Oh Ya, I got this, Who’s awesome” kind of dance.

I didn’t even read the next steps of the article I have been talking about. I’m content to keep working on this goal. I’ll read number 3 when I’m ready. I don’t need to do them all right away. The first 2 are already transforming my life.

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8 thoughts on “Healthy Habits and Growing Pains

  1. I like your perspective on positive thinking, that makes sense to me. Congratulations on enjoying dance. My kids bought me lessons a couple of years ago and I just didn’t stop going. I love it. My big thing is that I now can go up and down stairs without pain in my knees. I like the idea of only reading the first two and working on those. Thanks for some great suggestions.

    • Wow, I am making sense, lol! Good to hear. Yes, I love dancing – the music, the people, the challenge, the novelty, and yes, the strength or stretching or stress reduction seems to make my other pains less.

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