By Georgia Edwards, Chiropractor; Beach House Chiropractic
Is our society becoming risk averse? What is an acceptable risk and why?
Life is full of risks and every day holds a myriad of different kinds. Some of these are opportunities, while others are legitimately dangerous and should be avoided. But how do you tell the difference, and navigate those which are a little more in the grey zone? Another good question is: what is holding you back; good sense, or fear?
Risk taking is a normal part of human development. It spikes in adolescence but it does not disappear in adulthood by any means. Risk taking is a healthy part of life. It enhances and shows confidence, highlighting your abilities to yourself and others; they encourage you to learn and grow, expanding your perception of and acting on opportunities, as and when they arise. Also helping us to overcome FEAR: of failure, of pain, of the unknown. They help us to pursue success and recognise that we cannot achieve our dreams without putting the work in and taking those initial risks. The important thing to differentiate, of course, is between Risk and Hazard. They are two very different things, one is healthy, the other is foolhardy and dangerous, to yourself and others.
Do not simply throw yourself into something without first going through the “pro’s and con’s” of a given situation and possible outcomes. In some cases this may take time and consideration before a decision is made, in others, it can be done almost instantaneously. It is important to use your common sense, but not to let fear rob you of an opportunity! Opportunities can be hard to spot, but once seen try to tackle them with your whole self.
As a Chiropractor I often encourage patients to overcome Pain Avoidance. This is rife within the human psyche – we none of us truly like pain – there are those who find the line between pleasure and pain very fine; but pain, in and of itself, is something we tend to avoid at all costs. But why is that and how can we combat it?
First of all, Pain is NOT the enemy. In most cases pain is actually your friend, when it is long standing and debilitating however it is clearly not a friend. Pain is a warning system, it’s the best one we have. When something hurts, that’s your body telling you to stop, that activity/action/thought/etc. isn’t safe. Have you ever snatched your hand back from something hot, or refrained from putting all your weight onto a damaged limb? That is your natural safety system in action, and generally speaking it’s a wonderful thing and it keeps us alive.
The downside of this wonderful mechanism is, that like anything else it can breakdown. When the system breaks down, that’s the easiest time to blame all our problems on the pain. We often become fearful, and instead of pushing ourselves to take risks to overcome them, we limit ourselves. We set up boundaries to protect our bodies from harm. Well that’s what we tell ourselves anyway. However these boundaries can become tyrants if not kept in check. Boundaries and limits are important, and healthy. They should be individualised to situation and ability, but they should remain flexible. If you injure yourself, then yes, you take a step back from intense physical exercise for a time, but in order to heal well, in most cases, you do still need to move!
So what is a healthy risk? For some of you reading this, it will be something as simple as walking to Tesco Express to buy your groceries rather than driving. For other it would be joining a gym, or taking up an exercise class. For yet others it’s taking on the challenge and training for an UltraMarathon. Everyone is different, we each have different unique abilities and skills. Not everyone is designed to be a heavyweights champion or an super distance runner. There is no shame in not being traditionally “sporty”. Exercise is a key component of health and wellbeing, but it needs to be something that you find enjoyable, is a suitable challenge and safe for who you are.
So have a look around at what’s available, you’ll find there is so much more out there than you ever dreamt was possible. It will be difficult at first, most new things are, but the more you do it, the easier it becomes and the more you’ll get out of it! To take a risk, you much first be willing to try and to be willing to try you need a reason why. What’s yours? Have a think, and if you need some help, we, your Health Professionals, would love to chat with you about taking some healthy risks.
To all of you reading this I say, be encouraged, find your niche and take to it with all your heart!