Microblog: Mouse or Monster?

Imagine that you’ve just seen a really scary movie and you’re walking alone. As you walk by an alley you hear an unknown noise. What’s the first thing you think that noise is? The monster, the slasher, or whatever the villain is from the scary movie. Your heart races and your muscles tense up even if only for a moment. There is a real experience of fear and real physiological response. Of course you know there isn’t a monster in the alley, but you have been primed to react to any unknown sound as a possible threat.

Now imagine that instead of a scary movie, you’ve just seen a really cute and funny animated movie with talking animals. You walk by the same alley and hear the same noise. What is the noise this time? Maybe a cat, a raccoon, or a mouse. You’re aware, but barely phased. It’s the exact same alley with the same noise, but your experience and response has changed entirely based on the context around the event.

The things we do in our daily lives create the context that shape our experiences. That’s why many people experience more pain and/or tension on days that they’re stressed, upset, or haven’t gotten much sleep. That’s also why it is often important to address things like sleep quantity and quality, beliefs, general relaxation, and specific coping strategies. Managing these things can help make your backdrop less horror and more comedy.

The Message: Stress levels, mood, understanding, and outlook can all have a major influence on the experience of pain and/or tension.

*Micro-blogs are short posts based on stories I use with clients to help convey important messages