Through study with the Postural Restoration Institute, I’ve come to recognize the vast difference between having a tight body and a relaxed body. Much of the physical pain that had plagued me since my sophomore year in college, probably all in fact, came from the fact that my left pelvis was tilted forward compared to my right pelvis. The pattern is found in the vast majority of humans. The pattern begins in adolescence and is completely natural, just as when some of our lower vertebrae fuse together as we get older.
Not everyone has pain due to this pattern. The best athletes in the world will present the same as your average desk jockey. PRI theory calls these people “master compensators”. Their bodies continues to function normally in the face of asymmetry.
I wasn’t so lucky. The right SI joint pain (lower back, just above the butt) that would often put me out of work for a week was a direct result of this asymmetric pelvic positioning.
Just about two years ago I repositioned my pelvis for the first time, getting back into a more neutral pelvic position. I have never again experienced back pain like I used to. Immediately my hips felt looser. It was an odd feeling. I couldn’t ever recall my hips “swaying” as I walked.
Only when I felt my hips swaying did I realize how tight my body had been previously. I felt what the natural state of the body should feel like: loose and free.
The body should not feel tight and constricted.
And neither should your mind and thoughts.
Environment and Negativity
As I sat in Starbucks yesterday, I was sitting next to two men, probably in their late 40s or early 50s, and they were so freaking angry! “C*cksucker” this and “jerkoff” that.
In their view, anyone who wasn’t them was stupid, an asshole, or a liar. It’s like they were feeding off each others ignorance and negativity.
It got me thinking about the importance of environment. One thing that had a dramatic impact in my life was leaving a poisonous job atmosphere. A poisonous atmosphere, and negative people, have a tendency to infect you and suck you into their circle of negativity.
There is a scientific explanation for this. Humans have mirror neurons in their brain that mimic whatever feeling is being presented to them. So if someone smiles at you, or generates positive vibes in your presence, you’ll likely feel good, too.
On the other hand, if a person is highly negative, or unfriendly, they’ll likely bring you down. Everyone knows someone who can seemingly suck the life out of a room.
This is how you can quite literally “catch feelings”.
*I’d like to make clear that if someone is negative, it doesn’t mean they aren’t a good person, or a nice person. I was once a negative person, but it was due to life circumstances and my incorrect view of life. So although my mental state was negative, I believe most people would have considered me a good and nice person.
Negative Becomes Normal
Much like I didn’t realize how tight my body had been until I repositioned my pelvis and I truly felt how a body should feel, you often don’t notice how negative your environment is until you experience something different.
When you find yourself in a negative environment–be it at work, home, or play–you end up emotionally much like my body felt: tight and constricted.
And unfortunately, this state has become your norm. You get so used to the negativity that you don’t realize there is anything wrong with it. It’s no longer negative. It just “is”.
One reason people like dancing so much is because a studio is usually a happy place. Music and dancing. Physical contact. (Humans respond well to touch–as long as it’s not creepy).
It wasn’t until I quit my old IT office job that I realized that negativity didn’t have to be the norm. While the dance world isn’t free of all negativity, the atmosphere is generally positive.
Our Natural State
I believe our natural state is cheery and unencumbered, but we become so guarded and restricted in our thinking due to painful life experiences and the negativity that surrounds us.
There might not be a whole lot you can do about your work environment, but your personal environment is more of your choice.
You choose who to spend your time with. Many times it turns out that your whole social circle tends toward negativity, complaining, victimization, and limited thinking.
They throw the proverbial “pity party” and because you all think alike, you reinforce the idea that life is such a drag and that other people are responsible for your problems. No one can see the problem because you are all engaged in it.
It’s not until you step into a positive environment, or meet people who are more optimistic, that you realize something is amiss. Things can be different.
Happiness is a choice, but it takes work. It’s not as simple as just waking up one morning and deciding to be happy. In that case, everyone would do it.
We don’t live in a vacuum, untouched by the attitudes and thoughts and beliefs of those who surround us. The trick is to figure out who is going about things the right way. You have to fight through the delusion that you are both engaging in and surrounded by.
Put it this way: If you aren’t happy yet, does doing the same things you’ve always done going to finally make you happy? Why would it? Why would it magically come together in year 40 of your life instead of years 0-39?
Happiness Often Requires a Change of Scenery
One thing that helps tremendously is to choose your environment wisely. Find people for your social circle who are generally optimistic and emotionally mature. Avoid complainers, and those who play the victim role. Associate with people who take charge of their own lives and happiness–who act instead of being acted upon.
Limit your exposure to negative people. It’s tough when these same people are your close friends or family, and particularly tough when it’s a spouse or significant other whom you care about deeply. I’ve been there.
But what choice do you really have? You have but one life, and it’s your life, no one else’s. Do you want to live in a world of negativity or one full of pleasant dispositions?
Life is not a dress rehearsal.
You need to break out of the same old patterns of thinking and behaviors that keeps you stuck in the place you don’t want to be.
You’ll start to see life differently. You start to see the possibilities instead of limitations. And, quite frankly, it’ll make you feel better.
That’s a good place to start.
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