Modern super power: Changing oneself

by Rebecca A. Watson on December 5, 2012

in beliefs, change, health, optimism, superhero

About a year ago my knees were really bothering me, particularly the left one. I’m super-active, and it was impeding my ability to hike and work out the way I wanted to. Before I caved and made an appointment with a *shudder* orthopedic surgeon, I thought I’d ask my chiropractor if I could do anything less invasive.

He took my socks off and touched the outsides of my feet and announced I was a supinator. (Super what?) Supination, or underpronating, can affect all sorts of things in your body: hips, knees, ankles. Basically you can wear out your joints more quickly. Here’s a fancy little video I found helpful.

My chiropractor showed me how to cut shoe insoles so that my feet could naturally pronate. I couldn’t believe how much a difference $3 and a few weeks made. My knees felt great, even after 14 mile hikes. Now they’re in all my shoes, even my sandals.

The thing that I struggle with is how much I love to be barefoot. I can’t put insoles on my feet! So I’ve started to pay more attention to how I’m walking to be sure I push off the middle part of my foot.

barefoot in the grass

I’m not about to give up the feeling of grass between my toes.

This got me thinking about how we are all built with flaws, physical and mental defects that are part of who we are. Some of us may have lower levels of serotonin, others may have a more difficult time reading; our hair can fall out or stop growing at a certain length.

As an optimist, when I run into a problem in my external life, I view it as a challenge to overcome. Couldn’t we apply that same thing to what goes on inside our bodies? I’ve always thought so. It is possible to change our physical makeup and not just through surgery or pills.

Recently, I was pointed to a TED Talk by Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist. The premise is that by standing in a certain way for two minutes, we can change our body chemistry, therefore becoming more assertive and possibly more successful.

For my 30 Day Challenge in November, I tried to stand in a power pose, like Wonder Woman, for two minutes every day. Now I wasn’t super-consistent with this, as November turned out to be a very challenging month (does Mercury in retrograde kick any one else around?, but when I did do this, I noticed a few things.

I was more assertive, yes, but I also interacted more with people in situations. I guess assertive is another way of saying “not shy,” but I don’t consider them synonymous. I also felt calm in stressful situations, which came in handy at my first two-hour-long speaking engagement.

Another really awesome thing was that my self-esteem increased. When I started being Wonder Woman, I stopped looking for flaws in the mirror and just mentally high-fived myself for being awesome just the way I am. This was something that I hadn’t been able to do before, even after reading loads of self-help on the matter.

wonder woman Daniel Scott Gabriel Murray

I always knew she could give me strength.

I believe that we can always improve and reinvent ourselves, not just psychologically, but mentally and physically as well. If cells are constantly dying and regenerating, wouldn’t it make sense that we are also dying and regenerating? Why not improve the cells we’re regenerating?

Why not change our physical and mental chemistry as well? That’s my aim for these coming months. I’m willing my hair to grow longer and learning to walk again.

Have you ever experienced physical or mental improvements in your life that had nothing to do with pills or surgery? What was it? How did it come about?

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Brittany December 6, 2012 at 8:09 am

I also saw Amy’s TED talk and was amazed at how much standing like that does for you! Nice post :). I also think I am a supinator 🙁

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Ms. Becca December 6, 2012 at 10:29 am

Thanks Brittany! I know, it’s super cool how just standing a certain way can really change your whole body. It’s a bummer about being a supinator, but if you know about it you can wear the right shoes and then you don’t wear out your joints! Knowledge is power 😉

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