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The Many Faces of Anxiety: accepting the roles of both reality and perception

Faces
Anxiety is a very powerful driving force seeded in your subconscious that helps create the filter that you see the world through.  Everyone has a certain level of anxiety, but it tends to manifest in different ways in relation to different people and different circumstances.  It is the mental construct that tends to guide the rules that you progressively make for yourself throughout life in order to calm your own worries.  Everyone is going to have a different set of worries based partly on their childhood experiences, their genetics, their history of trauma and their current living situation.

Worry can creep into all facets of your life whether you realize it or not.  It is an uncomfortable feeling that you will try to avoid if you can, but that process can very easily become a viscous cycle leading to more stress and discomfort for you and those around you.  I have found that the more anxious a person is, the more rigid their rules become for themselves and by extension, for those around them.  Creating rules, verbalized or not, is a means for a person to control their environment in order to calm their own worry and/or prevent the uncomfortable feeling of anxiety.  Perceived lack of control in any situation is a source of stress for many people and can create both mental and physical tension in a person’s body.

There is a difference between reality and perception, they are both important, but accepting that they are different is both challenging and vital for overly anxious people.  By reality I mean the objective truth in any given situation and by perception I mean one person’s subjective interpretation of that situation.  Everyone develops their own triggers and filters that will impact how they perceive a certain event or discussion; some people just have way more triggers than others which can make their perception of a situation deviate radically from the objective reality and/or the other person’s perception.  Read More

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My Eye Injury: One Year Later

Double
photo: Andrew Kovalev
Imagine walking down the sidewalk on a nice summer day, enjoying the scenery and the sunshine all around you.  Now imagine taking a visual picture of what you see in front of you and copying it.  Take that copy and paste it diagonally up and to the right so that it overlaps half of the nice beautiful scene you are looking at.  Now take that second copy and strip all the detail out of it and cover it with a thin layer of milky water.  While you are at it, put a big smudge on anything that ends up in the centre of the picture and add distortion to anything that might be a straight line.  I have this milky, distorted, hologram version of the world superimposed over my proper vision now and it sucks.  And that’s not even the worst part, when I walk or drive I get the sense that the shitty hologram world is moving at me faster than the clear real world.  For example, every morning when I walk from my parking spot to my office there are a series of tree shadows across the sidewalk and a set of two manholes that I walk over.  As I approach the shadows and the manholes, I see double of everything, but as I get closer and closer to the real objects, the amount of the displacement of the second blurry pictures gets less and less to the point that they almost become one object as I pass over them.  The fact that my double vision gets worse the further an object is away creates the illusion that the world on the right of me is coming at me twice as fast as the world on the left of me even though they are actually distorted pictures of the same thing. 
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Posted in Blog, Case Studies, Education, Pain Tagged with: ,
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Mind over matter: The power of perception

I am a physical therapist by training, but have become a psychologist by experience.  Working with people from 9 to 90 years old and from the peak of athletic performance to the lows of neural rehab, I have come to see pain, emotion, attitude and perception in a new light.  I have seen 250 pound rugby players squirm at the thought of a needle and polite 70 year old English ladies drop F-bombs while I loosen their hip.  I have seen confident CEOs get lost in pain and happy go lucky blue collar workers shift into deep depressions after car accidents and battles with insurance companies.  Chronic pain can have many sources and only some of them are physical; unfortunately it is usually only the physical issues that get addressed and the people that could use some help cognitively are the least likely ones to pursue that type of care. 

This website is geared toward helping you with the physical side of pain, posture, prevention and performance, but to get the most out of it you will need to be mentally open to change in your body.  I have created a page on the right side bar called Books to Read that recommends books that I have found particularly helpful.  Here they are again for you:

The following are books that I have read and found very useful in my life.  To understand your body and your pain you first need to understand yourself and make sense of your life; this is a missing element in many people that suffer from chronic pain.  Most people are open to seeking physical therapy for their pain issues, but much more reluctant to seek any cognitive therapy.  I recommend the following books to help you:

  • Understand why you think the way you think
  • The basics of how your brain works
  • The roots of your relationship with your family
  • The role of work in your life
  • The role of money in your life
  • What motivates you
  • How pain can affect you
  • How to get the most out of life without sacrificing a piece of yourself

Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformationstyle=border:none

  • A fascinating book written for the lay person about how your brain works as it relates to your personality, your relationships and your pain.  Highly recommend it.  Click on the picture to learn more about it.
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Posted in Blog, Brent on Business, Education, Pain Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,
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