Triggers: Because Everyone Needs Their Memory Jogged Once in a While

Triggers: How to ensure your self care happens, without having to think about it.

So many conditions require ongoing efforts to manage them, and keep them from progressing to a point where one needs help. We want to,  we are able to… sometimes we just need a prompt or trigger to get us to act at the right time!

Just as we are what we eat, our physical bodies reflect what we habitually do. Working posture, Computer posture—especially laptop posture (this is also often called upper crossed syndrome)—has predictable effects on the human body. Seeing your friendly San Mateo Chiropractor and Active Release Technique provider (that’s Dr, Donovan!) can help. Once you are feeling better and we are done with our treatment plan, I know you would like it to not be an issue again. A key factor in this will be how consistently a patient will do self-care to maintain posture and flexibility.

Pain: The Ancient Trigger

One of our most fundamental triggers is pain. Pain serves a very important function for humans. It gets us to take action! Most people are very diligent in working to avoid pain. A problem arises when people recover from the painful crisis. The decreasing pain becomes a weaker (good!) but we need to replace it to keep getting the benefits.

A different tactic is needed. Human nature must be taken into consideration when pursuing the goal of being pain free. Pain should not be the only trigger, but simply the default trigger. This idea comes from the book “Triggers: Creating Behavior That Lasts–Becoming the Person You Want to Be” by Marshall Goldsmith as well as book by B.J. Fogg (Tiny Habits) about how to change habits. The essential idea is to link (in this case say a postural exercise or stretch) a habit to a particular activity that you engage in on a regular basis. Triggers could be anything from sitting in your car at a red light to completing a phone call to taking out the garbage. It is important that they happen with enough frequency that they will do some good.

Three moves…

Once you have set your trigger or prompt… you need to know what to do.   An example of this would be the “scapular setting” exercise below. This is a great posture reset. Quick enough to  do at a red light. A small amount of practice and it is a habit. Alternatively, you can do standing child’s pose after you hang up from a phone call or send a document to the printer. The hitchhiker after returning from lunch or grabbing a cup of coffee.   The trigger is is only important to the extent that it occurs often enough. If you sit or stand behind a computer for a good part of the day, try these three moves.

Standing Childs Pose

Scapular Set

Seated Hitchhiker

Keep it off the “todo” list!

Dr. Seuss said that “life’s a great balancing act”.  The trick is to work these activities into your life without having them take over your life.  If we tie them to a handful of our regular activities, we can get them off the “things I need to remember to do list” and on to the “things I just automatically do” list.

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