Cultivating a Culture

Courtesy of Joanne Dowds MISCP

A few days ago to blow off some Electric picnic related mental fog I went for a wander on Howth head. I can’t really call it exercise, I was sloth like. My legs were sore and stiff, I  had clocked up nearly 60,000 steps in the preceding days, walking, standing and a certain amount of late night jigging about so I was tired. A slow ramble at best, about 500m from the car park to sit on a bench admiring the view.  It was a beautiful blue sky day and it is absolutely gorgeous out there even on the worst of days. Only the sea,  a few ant sized tourists perilously perched too close to the cliff edge  for my liking, due to  the temptation of the perfect camera angle and the hedge rows bursting with early autumnal colour. I was happy to be out of my bed admiring the wide expanse when I caught a glimpse, a little red gleam of something which on closer inspection was identified as a ripening blackberry. Delighted I started looking around and there were punnets full in the brambles and hedges around me, they were everywhere, clumped together, protected by brambles, weaving in and out of other shrubs not quite ripe yet but close. And yet  I hadn’t noticed,distracted and too lost in the big picture to see the little details.   I only saw them when I went looking for them. What you go looking for, you will find; when you believe something  you will find evidence to prove yourself correct – self-fulfilling prophesies.  Believing an idea will change your behaviour and influence the outcome.  If you look for obstacles you will find them, you believe you don’t have time to exercise, you will not find time to exercise. You believe you are not capable of running a certain distance or throwing a certain distance, you will not be. That day I believed I was not capable of stringing 2 coherent thoughts together and so it transpired. I didn’t even manage to even take a success photo!

On an individual level , its mind-set, the tone of our internal speaking voice. Are you caught in a positive or negative thinking loop? Evidence would suggest that up to 70% of our internal thought processes are negative in tone. I am too pragmatically sweary to be mistaken for a singing,  bird charming Disney princess, and I am not advocating for thinking only bright shiny happy thoughts.  There is a need for honest reflection when days don’t flow so easily. But I like to see the sunny side of the street or “that positive sh*te you talk” as one of my beloved sisters call’s it. When so much of our inbuilt thinking is negative do we need to consciously add more negativity to it? Again evidence would point to the act of noticing 3 things each day to be grateful for, after a period of time ( about 21 days)has the potential to develop a more positive individual mind-set.

When people group together there is a type of collective mind-set where the dominant personalities sets the tone or determines the culture of the group.lead-by-example-3 Culture, elusive, hard to describe, difficult to change and impossible not to notice or be guided by. We all want to fit in, its nearly a defining trait of being human to seek acceptance from our peers. Years ago a single person in my place of work ( you might all know him?!?!) went running at lunch time, solo, we all thought he was a bit mental. But he enjoyed it so he persisted.  That single figure, who has long since moved on to greener pastures,  seeded an idea that it was not only possible but very achievable and potentially enjoyable  to wedge some exercise into a lunch hour. Today there are exercise classes, walking groups, even a couch to 5k  supported running group, all rolling because of one person challenging the culture.

So what you seed and support will grow given the right environment andconditions, but it takes time and persistence and more time andmore persistence. Not everything happens easily or quickly or perfectly atthe first go.

Cultivating a few blackberries of gratitude can only be fruitful and lead to positive change.

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I qualified with an Honours degree in Physiotherapy from Trinity College Dublin in 2004. Since graduating I have worked in St. James Hospital Dublin and have worked in all the areas of speciality within the hospital including cardiorespiratory, orthopaedics, rheumatology, care of the elderly, neurology, burns and plastic surgery among others . I have also completed a post graduate certificate in acupuncture in UCD 2009. The Physiotherapy Department in SJH has strong links with Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and I have supervised undergraduate and postgraduate physiotherapy students on practice placements and also delivered lectures on the undergraduate academic programme in TCD. I have a keen interest in all sports and currently plays with Cill Dara RFC 1st team squad, and Milltown GAA. I have previously worked as Physiotherapist to Co. Carlow Senior GAA Team, Milltown GAA, Leinster Junior Rugby Team and Cill Dara RFC. I am an experienced runner and competed in the Dublin City Marathon in 2002. I continue to participate in running events and multisport disciplines such as Gaelforce West, Gaelforce North and the Motivate Challenge. I have a particular interest in strength and conditioning. I utilise this knowledge of resistance training in the treatment of his clients. I am committed to continuous learning and development in order to ensure the optimal level of care is offered to my clients, and with this in mind I am currently undertaking a certification in Strength and Conditioning (CSCS) with the NSCA.

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