What’s the most valuable thing you have ever owned?
Whether we want to acknowledge it or not, our bodies will always be the most valuable thing in our lives. Imagine if you had to try and piece your own body together, sourcing and paying for each part! It would be astronomically expensive… Without getting into the ethics and possibilities of such a notion, the crux of this blog is (no surprises!) about looking after your body – as it is the most valuable thing you will ever own.
So, what is it worth to you? Not monetary, as that’s too tricky to calculate. But in other terms, like reliability or function. If a part of it broke down, what would that ‘cost’ be to you?
And what are you doing to ensure that your body retains its value to you?
It’s been said so many times before, by me and countless others: look after your body with good food, sleep, exercise, rest, relaxation and fun to help it stick around for as long as you need it.
Have you heard of flexion addiction? According to Dr Eric Dalton, Founder & Executive Director of the Freedom from Pain Institute, we are a ‘flexion-addicted society’. By this, he means that we have moved from being actively mobile to spending most of our time sitting at a desk, in a car, watching television, working on the computer, being on phones and so on. We spend prolonged periods with our bodies in states of flexion. Our ankles, knees and hip joints are all flexed when seated; the spinal vertebrae flex to create a forward posture whilst the shoulders become rounded giving rise to the head and neck protruding further forward.
Even an hour in this fixed flexed position causes the muscles to become tired and strained which in turn leads to muscle weakness. Normal circulation through these tissues becomes impaired and we begin to suffer the symptoms of pain and tension. Tight, tense muscles restrict a full range of movement through our joints causing stiffness and loss of flexibility. To compensate for this, the body begins to adopt alternate postures: the upper back slouches, so the shoulders become more rounded and the head and neck protrude forward, drawing the entire front of the body into a state of flexion. Stress further complicates matters, adding to the experience of muscle fatigue, tension and pain.
Here are a few tips for preventing flexion addiction:
In my day job as an education consultant, I come across a lot of people who strive for perfection. It’s something that I’ve noticed more and more in the teaching profession over the years, no doubt associated with the amount of testing, assessing, checking and re-checking (just in case things have changed in the three minutes since the previous assessment was made).
In trying to understand and help, I found this ‘perfect’ quote from Brené Brown, who is a researcher professor at the University of Houston, Texas.
“Perfectionism is armour. It’s not internally driven like healthy striving. It’s externally driven and fuelled by ‘What will people think?’ Perfectionism is a shield that keeps us from being seen. Here’s to a genuine, unamoured, messy, awkward, compassionate, less-than-perfect life.”
I love this attitude and strive for it daily, saying to myself that it really doesn’t matter what people think and it is perfectly acceptable to be seen. How about you?
And for more on the marvellous Brené, take a look at www.brenebrown.com.
Today’s blog is from a very special guest – Louise Marchal, a visual artist and writer, and a practice-led PhD researcher. Louise offers a fascinating view of the world through the eyes of an artist. Here’s her story.
“Art can be a valuable, non-verbal conversation, often when words (or we) are exhausted. We glimpse it and gaze and reflect. I’ve recently been looking into the transcendence that such visual study and reflection, a type of mindfulness, can give to us.
Knowing something through drawing, through following the physical form through your hands is like no other knowing – it goes deep, linking sight and touch – the finished thing doesn’t have to be good – it is the knowing you will walk away with.
I drew the bulk of this copy of Flora from Botticelli’s Primavera when my father was in intensive care with Covid-19 – for a precious hour or so every day it enabled me to escape the worry and tragedy with no other thought except the form in front of me. Find something, grab pencil, paper and get to know it deeply – or head over to my website and choose a window on the world!”
Louise is very generously offering a 35% discount for readers of this blog over April – her work is visible on her website www.louisiem.com, at Axisweb or at the Saatchi Online website.
Follow Louise on Instagram @indigo_polke.
Hi, I'm Joanna from Clean Well-Being.
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