Humans are creatures of habit. Even the free spirits among us unconsciously crave structure and routine. These habits are comfortable and feel safe. So, what exactly are lifestyle triggers and why should we become aware of them?
What Are These Triggers?
Lifestyle triggers are the things we do without much thought. It’s the way we move day to day. The way hold ourselves at rest and at work. They include the people we choose to spend time with and the experiences we share. They can be environmental, chemical, or food related.
Think about your work environment. Are you constantly turned toward your computer off to one side of your desk? Are you always standing with more weight loaded onto one side over the other? Then there’s that one co-worker you will employ evasive actions to avoid at all costs creating some rather comical situations.
I bet you have a ‘favorite spot’ on the couch or a favorite chair at home to lounge in. Do you have to turn your head a certain way to have a conversation with your family or to watch your favorite show? Consider how you sleep. We all have the best sleeping position that allows us to snuggle right off into dreamland.
And before you ask, no, I don’t think there’s a best way to sleep. As a mom of two and a husband that is a ‘loud sleeper’, I applaud you in getting all the sleep in any way you can get it. Cherish every moment.
Environmental and chemical triggers can get interesting. Think of your favorite foods you keep stocked and loaded to tackle those cravings. It could be the gorgeous flowering trees planted on your property. That signature scent you wear and get so many compliments on. The cleaning products you use at home. Or how about the hair products you absolutely can’t live without or the wild beast atop your head will be out of control!?!?
All of these could potentially fall into the category described as lifestyle triggers. There’s nothing wrong with them until they are actually identified as a problem.
Recognizing Lifestyle Triggers Can Be Important
Lifestyle triggers can silently derail your recovery. We rarely have a true case of sleeping on it wrong. I see a lot of people that come in and say that nothing happened. What they mean is, there is no current injury or trauma that they can definitively say this pain or movement issue occurred from. It’s often from a repetitive movement or holding pattern.
Take a moment and consider a time when you woke up with neck pain. Your immediate thought was likely that you must have slept on it wrong.
Now dive a little deeper. Think about that favorite spot to relax, your ideal sleeping position, and how your body moves or doesn’t move all day at work. You’re probably going to recognize a pattern you hadn’t seen before.
If you’ve been seeing me for a few sessions to work on a specific areas and things improve for a time and then return OR new patterns keep developing, I’m probably going to tell you it’s one of two things. One, it could be a hardware issue that we are battling and are entirely unaware of yet. Or, two, it could be a lifestyle trigger that you need to identify.
Awareness Creates Change
By becoming aware you are then able to create change. You can make it a point to explore these habits and find what could be contributing to your problem. Granted, this may mean giving up your favorite chair for a bit to explore the other side of the living room or rearranging your desk at work. Tragically, you may have to experiment with a new scent or hair care routine.
Therapy is incredibly beneficial in helping to decrease the sensitivity and brain fog, reduce the ongoing pain, improving mobility, and helping you identify these patterns, but it will only get you so far in these specific situations. The point is that by identifying these lifestyle triggers and shaking things up a bit you are able to help yourself. And if you ask me, that’s priceless.