Running away from your problems is a race you’ll never win

unnamedLately I’ve been thinking a lot about pain tolerance, emotional health, success with healthy habits, and leading a life that is emotionally present. My usual pondering thoughts (clearly no one is surprised). The connection between so many behaviors that can take a negative toll on the body and pain management seems to be incredibly high. Trying to artificially numb emotional pain can lead to years of battling alcoholism, drug abuse, eating issues, etc. The need to continue to numb physical pain can lead to years of pain killer addiction, even heroin addiction. Life can be terribly painful and the only way to navigate successfully through trying times and come out somewhat healthy on the other end is by walking with the pain. Don’t try to numb it, just accept that pain is a part of life. Feel it, cry, work though it, reach out for support, but don’t try to numb it. If you do not allow yourself to feel pain or desperately try to repress the pain, then the pain may lay dormant for a while, but it will continue to rear its ugly head until it is dealt with.

Pain can be categorized as acute or chronic. Acute pain comes on suddenly and is sharp in nature and serves as a warning that something has happened. Acute pain can be physical or emotional. Chronic pain lasts long after the injury or circumstance has healed and can be much more detrimental to your physical and emotional health. I don’t think it is a stretch to say chronic pain is inflammatory in nature and look how many inflammatory diseases are killing us year after year. Acute pain and inflammation are both healthy in nature, chronic pain and inflammation are very unhealthy in nature.

The most fascinating thing to me is that parents today seem to try to keep their kids pain free at all costs. We (I am using a collective parenting “we” here) have become overly adept at trying to keep our kids from experiencing any pain at all. They fall down and we are frantically trying to scoop them up, we insist that organized sports for young kids do not keep score, we apologize for our kids when they do things they shouldn’t instead of making them apologize which can be uncomfortable for them, we agonize over how much our kids will miss out on when they break a bone or sustain an injury, we blame other kids when out kids’ feelings are hurt, etc. But kids are resilient, very resilient, so it seems logical that early childhood through young adulthood should be the best time to help our kids navigate through painful and stressful experiences. The more we can feel our pain, navigate through the pain and learn how to deal with it in a healthy way, the better adept we become at managing pain in the future and helping our kids manage their own physical and emotional pain.

As a former therapist, one thing you know for sure is that unless you really acknowledge and deal with your issues, they will follow you from relationship to relationship, be handed down to the next generation, continue to rear their ugly heads in ways that may become increasingly more detrimental. Of course, we are only able to deal with the issues that we are able to acknowledge. Bottom line, it is painful for people to acknowledge their faults or even the issues they are avoiding. That is why it is paramount to one’s health to gradually get more comfortable embracing pain as a part of life. The only way to live your best life is to live a life that is emotionally present, one in which you are able to embrace pain as part of life.

OK, I know some of you think that I am somehow going to try to get you to work harder in class as a way to “embrace your pain”, and I get why you would think that, but that is not really my point here. I would encourage you to be present in how uncomfortable you are when working out and try to breath through it and embrace it just to see if you can push through one or two additional reps. Remember, the magic happens on the other side of your comfort zone.

The MWF Stanford Hills class and the T/TH Ladera class will continue until the end of June. The MWF class at Stanford Hills will start at 9:10 am to accommodate camp drop offs. Starting the beginning of July, all group classes will be going to a small group personal training pricing until school starts again in August. I hope to see you all in class this week!

If you have not signed your teens up for one or more of my Summer Skills and Conditioning Camps, please do so ASAP. The sign ups for week 1 (June 22-25) will close this Wednesday, June 17th, so sign up FAST! The camps are going to be fun, challenging, and incredibly informative. You can find more information on my website at www.stellafit.com.

If you are in town, I hope to see you tis week!

Cheers!

Stella