By Dr. Paula Bloom
While running during my workout, I felt something start burning on the inside of my foot. As the workout progressed, it started hurting more and more. When I got back home, the side of my foot was red and swollen, so instead of just googling every possible foot condition I decided that this time I would call my doctor. (This is progress for me!) After asking me a bunch of questions to make sure that I didn’t need immediate treatment, she advised that I rest, ice, compress and elevate (commonly known as the R.I.C.E. method) my foot and scheduled me for an appointment first thing in the morning.
I have so much going on in the next few days, weeks and months that the minute she told me to rest I started worrying about all the things I might not be able to do because of my hurt foot:
- “Oh no, now I won’t get to workout for a few weeks and I’ve worked so hard.”
- “I have a few trips planned in the next few weeks that I’ll have to cancel.”
Why is it that the minute something happens my mind goes into the future and thinks about negative scenarios? Has it occurred to me that this will be just fine in the next few days? I’m not a doctor yet have already “diagnosed” myself with having a broken foot requiring months to heal. Seriously?
It is so interesting how our minds take a little bit of information and run with it. Most of what we worry about in life will never happen and yet we cause ourselves unnecessary suffering by imagining the worst case scenario. Our bodies don’t know the difference between something bad happening and thinking about something bad happening. This is why stress can lead to health issues.
So, next time you injure yourself don’t assume the worst. When you get an email from a friend or family member asking you “to talk” don’t assume you are somehow in trouble. Optimism isn’t naïve. It just means believing the best outcome is not just POSSIBLE but that it is actually PROBABLE.
As I write this from the couch, I have my foot propped up and covered in an ice pack. In the kitchen, I hear my two kids making a batch of brownies. Worrying about how messy my kitchen is getting isn’t helpful, though in this case, I imagine that the best possible outcome is likely not probable. As far as my foot goes, I’m sure it will be fine. If not, worrying about it won’t make it any better, now will i