Here’s a bit of news that will come as a surprise to most - what you do with pain matters.
Oh wait, I can imagine a lot of people nodding with me at this one. Actually, most already know that you can’t let pain beat you. You’ve got to rise up, keep going, and reach for your goals in spite of pain. And what about all the things that have to be taken care of no matter how you feel? Is anyone else going to do them? Of course not. You don’t have time for pain and it’s not going to stop you!
Until it does stop you, that is.
And this is what I’m talking about. What you do with pain matters. What I just described is a marvelous get-through-it approach. That kind of approach to pain will serve you well, to a point. Ultimately, though, it’s a survival approach to pain and your body. You keep going and trust that your body will keep up. It will, it’s good at that, but sooner or later, you’ve got to give your body a chance to catch up.
You see, while you keep going in spite of pain, on some level you are clenching and protecting the stuff that hurts. That clenching causes your muscles, and then the connective tissues themselves, to stiffen. Constantly clenching against pain causes your subconscious to become more afraid and stressed. Then this leads to more pain. It can become quite the nasty downward spiral. In an ironic twist, your attempt to handle pain becomes the source of even more pain. This is a big component we see with lots of people.
Okay, so what you do with pain matters and you need to find another way. What could that way be?
Here’s one way I like to put it, embrace your pain. See it as a friend or a signal that something needs attention. Soften ”in” to your pain. Better yet, start to consider all the sensations you are experiencing. Pain is just part of the information your body gives you in the form of sensations.
Slow down, stop “doing” for a few moments and start to consider what you feel. Breathe. Unclench your jaw. Drop your shoulders. See if you can allow your belly to get softer, and your back, hips, and legs.
Get curious about what you feel, rather than clench and try to make it “go away.”
This allows you to switch from survival mode into a resting and healing mode. If you’re like most, there is a lot of healing and recovering to be done and you likely need plenty of help to find and address the built up issues. It starts with slowing down, breathing a little more easily and softly, and getting curious about what you feel.
And, if you’re like most, this “slowing down” and “feeling” is uncomfortable as hell. You’re so used to always pushing that you just don’t feel right if you’re not. You’re probably pretty sure someone is going to judge you as unworthy and there are definitely balls that are going to be dropped! See if you can get curious and feel “in” to those sensations too, or else they’ll likely drive you to your grave.
Slowing down and getting curious is the biggest thing that people stuck in pain don’t do, and not doing it is the biggest thing getting in the way of them feeling better.
We find, over and over, people who can be curious with what they feel are easy to help out of pain. Those who just want it to go away, are nearly impossible to help.
Yes, you want it gone, but what you do with pain, matters.