I’m a physical therapist in acute care, the hospital setting. I literally specialize in helping people not fall down, and I will tell you, it is fascinating how true this fact is - What we focus on, grows. It is statistically proven that people who are afraid of falling are at an increased risk of falls, and have a greater frequency of falls. Now, is that because these people who are afraid of falling have impaired balance? Yes, but there is also something very true about their mindsets, the way they are choosing to think about their ability to keep their balance that causes further impairment. Let’s run the model on this.
Backstory: Pt fell, was admitted to the hospital, and is now getting evaluated by a physical therapist.
C: PT is asking the patient to stand from the bed.
T: “I’m going to fall!”
A: They don’t put all their momentum into forward movement, resist the therapist's assist by leaning backward which causes their feet to slide, their center of gravity never comes over their feet and they end up needing to be maximally assisted back to a sitting position on the edge of the bed because Physics. Always. Wins.
R: They almost fell again.
People who are afraid of falling change their posture, their step-length, their gaze and their speed. They hunch forward, look down, take tiny steps and only look a few feet ahead and walk slower. All of these changes increase your risk of falling forward as the weight of your head and it’s displacement toward gravity place physics against you, your base of balance decreases with tiny steps, you don’t see obstacles ahead that could trip you up or cause a collision, and momentum doesn’t carry you forward as you progress very slowly.
When we are afraid, we do not put our all into something, and what often happens is that we produce the very result we fear. With this knowledge, it’s easy to see how an unhelpful belief pattern is something that we desire to release, but what is equally true, is that we do not know how. That is where a coach can come in - to teach us how to get from where we are to where we want to be and to do so by managing our thoughts around reality and our goal.
Most of the time, when it comes to my own sticky, limiting beliefs that I want to let go of, but feel so true, I need to gradually climb the belief ladder before I can get to a place where my thoughts match perfectly and facilitate my desired goal.
When someone is terrified they will fall, they are not able to just swap out that thought with the opposite. Suddenly telling them to think, “I won’t fall when I stand up with this stranger!” just doesn’t cut it. Their minds are sure that they don’t have what it takes and that I am a liar for saying anything otherwise.
So something my coach taught me was to get to the place where I could play out the thought, see where it was taking me and at least acknowledge that “no, this isn’t serving me because I do not want that result.” Often I have to climb to the nearest baby thought and say, “I’m beginning to see how this thought is no longer serving me, and I am open to the possibility that something else may be true.” It just cracks that door in for transformation of the mind juuuuuust a tiny bit and we can then bombast that door with grace, prayer and consistent self-compassion and focus, and gradually we can climb to the next thought on the ladder and inch by inch, that door opens more and more to transformation.
So what is something that you believe deep down in your core to be true that is keeping you stuck? “I don’t have what it takes to do ___________.” “My friend, co-worker, husband, mom, is never going to change.” “I don’t matter.” “I’m a failure.” “It’s too hard.” “I’m clumsy.” “I’m unreliable.” “I’m so disorganized, I'll never get this done.” The list goes on. These identity statements that deny our goodness is where the devil likes to take us out at the knees. Challenge it. Challenge the thought. Ask for the grace to not be knocked over so easily and find that baby thought that will gradually elevate your thinking toward the supernatural being you were designed to become, and eventually your perception of yourself will begin to transform. The door will open little by little - what you focus on, will grow.
**I am a Professionally trained Catholic Mindset Coach through Metanoia Catholic. I love to work with Catholic women or any woman open to processing their thoughts and emotions through a Catholic world view.
**Check out my personal blog, Grateful Blessed Mess, at gratefulblessedmess.com to get to know me better! Don't hesitate to reach out. I'd love to hear from you if anything has spoken to your heart or you have any questions in general about Catholic Mindset Coaching.