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Sell Yourself on Your Health

What things should you do?

I am talking about your health. So you should ...

  • Get Regular Exercise

  • Eat a Health Diet

  • Get Enough Sleep

You hear it all the time from you medical doctor and from us in PT, "If you do you home exercises, you will get better... quicker." Or, "If you do these exercises a few times a week it won't happen again."

It turns out we - your medical doctors and physical therapists - are not really good at "sales." Not good at getting you to trade things like your time and effort for better health. At least according to Daniel Pink in his 2012 book, To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth About Motivating Others. He actually uses both medical doctors and physical therapists as examples.

There is great information in Pink's books. Plus it easy reading. It includes references if you want to really dig in. I would recommend it is you want to learn how to influence yourself and others. It's not a boot about selling things to people. It shows the power of influencing people to improve their lives.

Tell Yourself You Can Do It.

The key is what pink call "Buoyancy." The classic advice is "Tell yourself you can do it." The famous author Napoleon Hill called it "Auto-suggestion." It's the same advice you get from motivational speakers. It turns out, we should all be following the advice of "Bob the Builder." Bob would get in trouble and then always ask "Can we fix it."

Positive Answer to Your Question is Best

Pink address studies on negative versus positive self-talk. You will do better if you say "I can do it" versus I can't do it."

You will do much better if you first ask yourself "can I do it?" You will do better asking the question becasue... you will answer it.

Your answers will include strategies to be successful. This is what you should do BEFORE you try something. Make sure you ask as question. "How can I do my physical therapy home exercises?"

How Positive Should You Be?

You should be positive... but not too positive. Pink call it the "Golden Ratio of Positivity." Positive and negative emotions impact how effective you will be. The studies show that a ration of 3:1, meaning 3 positive emotions to one negative emotion will make you more effective and creative. You will be more likely to answer your question. Like "How will I get my physical therapy exercises done?"

Make Your PT Home Exercises More Positive

Do the exercises while watching your favorite TV show:

+1 Positive because you like the show

+2 Positive because it won't take time away from something else

+3 Positive because your PT won't give you a hard time

-1 Negative because you like to lay on the couch and to watch the show

Congratulations, you made the 3:1 ratio.

First 3 Components of Buoyancy

  1. Ask a question like "how can I do it?"

  2. Generate a 3 to 1 ratio of positive to negative emotions

  3. Buoyancy is how you explain things after you try. Listen to your explanations.

Pink reviews studies on explanatory styles. People that come up with positive explanations and outlooks are more successful.

If you run out of time and don't get your physical therapy home exercises done, look at the bright side, "I will have time to do it tomorrow and only have to do it 2 or 3 days a week!"


Christopher DiPasquale, PhD, PT, OCS, SCS, CHT is a physical therapist at Performance Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine with offices in Hebron and Colchester, Connecticut. He is board certified by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties in Orthopedic Physical Therapy and Sports Physical Therapy and a Certified Hand Therapist by the Hand Therapy Certification Committee.

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