Fitness & Yoga, Spirituality
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What Show Jumping Teaches Us About Injury & Illness

5 Reasons We Hate Being Injured, Anxious, and Sick

1. Pain

This is the obvious one!  Being sick or injured is physically uncomfortable and sometimes pain perception increases as the duration of pain increases.  Research indicates that anxiety and social pain is processed in the brain like physical pain.  Some people experience more distress from pain than others.

2. Free time to worry or regret

If athletic activities are part of your daily routine, an injury or sickness suddenly creates a gap in your schedule, giving you time to ruminate and worry.  Perhaps you’re experiencing regret, replaying past choices, berating yourself for doing something that caused the injury or sickness, or trying to remix the past.

3. Decreased productivity

Being fully or partially out of commission decreases productivity.  This creates uncertainty about future productivity and stress about deadlines.  We are used to working at full capacity and efficiency, so any hindrance carries the possibility of creating stress.

4. Loss of a healthy outlet for stress and anger

You might use physical activities as an outlet for stress and anger. If so, then not being able participate in physical activity will force you to deal with these emotions in alternative ways.  For this reason, it can be doubly frustrating to be sick or injured.

5. Uncertainty about the future

The body heals at its own pace.  Just as we cannot force a plant to grow, we cannot force the body to heal.  We can merely create a healthy environment for the process to happen naturally.  Because we cannot control the healing process or foresee how long it will take, we may experience thoughts of uncertainty about the future.


What can show jumping teach us about being sick?


Why is there a picture of a horse and rider?  What does show jumping have to do with the stress and anxiety of being sick?

Usually our bodies and minds work together smoothly.  We ideally don’t have to think much about the coordination of body and mind.  However, when we become ill or injured, we feel as if the body is rebelling.  We attempt to stop the rebellion by forcing the body to cooperate.

In times of sickness and injury, it’s important to remember that the relationship between the body and mind is not like the relationship between a cyclist and a bike.  Rather, it’s akin to a jockey and a horse in the sport of show jumping.  Just as the jockey and horse need to work as a team to complete the circuit, the mind and the body need to work together.

How does the jockey treat the horse?

If the horse is not functioning optimally, then the jockey has a veterinarian diagnose the problem before it gets worse.  He doesn’t berate or try to pep-talk the horse.  If you are concerned about your physical health, consult a doctor to diagnose the issue.

A jockey doesn’t punish a sick horse.  Instead, he lets the horse rest and recover.  Recognize if you are too ill to work; don’t punish your horse!  If you need help to complete a task, it’s an opportunity to ask others and let them help.

The jockey and horse are a team that must work together to create a stellar performance.  The jockey doesn’t win by fighting the horse.  Moreover, every living thing gets ill or injured, so if your expectation is that you won’t ever become ill, then illness is bound to cause you a lot of stress and anxiety.  If you instead recognize the relationship with your body as a relationship with a living organism, then naturally you won’t expect perfect health from it all the time.

Be kind to your horse this week!



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