I once read an article that stated the people who lived the longest were those who felt they had most control over something they really loved doing. Want to guess which profession had the longest lifespans? Symphony orchestra conductors, average lifespan: 80+ years.
It makes sense that those who feel happiest with what they are doing and feel in control with what they are doing will be likely to life long, productive years. So, my advice to you is to do something in life that you really enjoy doing and secondly, try to do things that you feel causative over. Here are some specific tips:
Q: I feel like my physical therapist doesn’t listen to me. What can I do?
A: First of all, have you told this to your physical therapist? I often find that people miscommunicate or misinterpret body language or simply have incomplete conversations that need to be handled. I know that I have had patients who have brought upsets or matters of concern to my attention and I really appreciate the opportunity to correct a mistake or clarify a misunderstanding. Being frank can be done with sensitivity and lead to a good result. Let the person know what you want and need for a good relationship. In most cases, this will result in a positive change.
Q: I am getting some benefit from my physical therapy program but it is going slower than I want. What else can I do to speed up the process?
A: Have you express this frustration with your physical therapist? If not, do so and ask what you can do to help yourself. By finding out what you can do will put you in the driver’s seat and give you more control over your own physical condition.
Q: I am doing the exercises suggested by my physical therapist but I am getting quite bored with them. Is it appropriate to ask for a variety of exercises?
A: Most physical therapists are probably guilty of giving too many exercises and overwhelming the patient. I know that in some cases I have been cautious about giving out too many so if you are getting bored with the exercises by all means bring this up to your physical therapist. If you know what the goal of the exercise is, you can oftentimes come up with variations of an exercise to achieve the goal. It is important to find a method of exercising that you enjoy doing as this will keep you compliant with a home program and result in positive physical changes.
Q: What do I do if the provider tells me I don’t need to worry about that and to just do what I am told?
A: Then you need to find out the information you need in another way. Sometimes it just takes a little time in establishing a better understanding of why you want the information. Sometimes there is a cultural difference to deal with and the provider might feel that it is not appropriate for you to know all the details; some might feel threatened by your questions; some might feel you have insulted them by not trusting them and the questions you ask demonstrate your distrust. I take the viewpoint that the provider is the paid consultant to give you information you need to make a sane decision about your health.
On the opposite side of the coin, I take the viewpoint that the patient takes the responsibility for his/her own health and has control over decisions made about his/her health. You must get as much information as you need to make a rational decision or to feel confident that your questions have been answered to the point that you are not confused and worried about your situation.
The point to all this is that you can better your situation by communicating to the appropriate person as long as you communicate in a manner that is easy for the other person to hear and that your intent is to improve the situation. You will feel better by feeling more in control of your life and you will probably live longer. And who knows? You may also improve the lives of others in leading by example.