To say that living with chronic pain is no picnic would be an understatement.
It’s one of those things that affects every facet of your life and can often lead to a sense of hopelessness, frustration, and fatigue at living in pain day in, day out.
While there are many different types of chronic pain, all with different origins, triggers, and side effects, one thing does connect all of them together: the mind.
The human mind is incredibly powerful and controls our perspective for every situation. When you can tap into this network, you give yourself the opportunity to incorporate mental practice strategies that can help you manage and even control your chronic pain.
Sometimes natural solutions and lifestyle habits can have a really positive effect on your chronic pain and make the situation better and help you find more joy and peace.
Here Are 6 Mental Practice Tips for Controlling Chronic Pain:
Find the Stress Trigger
It’s no secret that life is stressful, and our body will feel it every step of the way. Sometimes, the stress that we’re under is exacerbated by emotional or physical stress that we can control.
For instance, if you know that hanging out with a friend is really draining because they’re emotionally aggressive or critical of you, then limiting time with that person might be a great next step to help remove a stress trigger that will add to your chronic pain.
Mentally Check-In Every Morning
Creating space in your routine to do a daily check-in on how you’re feeling that day will help you build the appropriate schedule for your energy, stamina and pain levels and help eliminate feelings of guilt for “not doing more” before they can even start.
Do this check-in every morning, before you even get out of bed. Your body will let you know what it’s up for that day and that will help you plan accordingly.
Choose to Stretch and Breathe
Find a fitness app, online instructor, YouTube video or DVD that will give you a group of options for very gentle stretching and movement for at least 20-minutes every day. When your mind tells you, “I don’t have energy for that, we can’t do it and besides I don’t want to.”
Remind it (and yourself) that doing something nice for you is the best gift you could ever give yourself, and that you deserve to feel good. It’s your right to dream of not being in pain. Stretching daily not only helps you control your chronic pain by addressing the tightness in your fascia and muscles, but the breathing you’ll practice throughout the routine will help lower your stress levels and turn on the part of your nervous system that says “Hey, it’s time to relax and release now.”
Create and Practice Affirmations
An affirmation is simply a phrase or saying that reinforces what you’d like to be, do and have in your life. It follows the idea of retraining your mindset and thought patterns by spending time on saying out loud or quietly thinking what you’d like to have happen.
Use this script to help you: “I am strong. I am healthy. I am whole. I am beautiful. I am free.”
Laugh Often and Loudly
Laughter has been shown to affect our body and mind in a positive way – it helps relieve stress and release endorphins into your brain. Chronic pain can be really hard to live with, so take every opportunity you can to find ways to get, deep, heart-felt laugher in your day.
Use books, online videos, friendships, television, movies, plays, musicals, and anything else you can think of that will put a smile on your face and help you laugh like you’ve never laughed before.
Make Time for Meditation
Mediation has so many wonderful and positive effects on the body: it helps you reduce negative emotions, build skills to manage stress, helps with tension in the body and so much more. Use the power of the internet to help you find the best way to practice.
Find a teacher, work with a coach, practice with free videos, use an app, follow a guided meditation, put on a relaxing music playlist or use and repeat your affirmations. The best way to build this new habit is set a calendar reminder to mediate at a certain point in the day – perhaps right before bed to help you relax and calm your body for sleep.
There are many habit shifts and lifestyle changes someone with chronic pain can make to help them reduce or control their pain to a level that allows them more joy, better energy, and increased freedom to do more each day.
Don’t give up on having less pain just yet. Try something on this list (or many things) and practice it for the next 90 days, every day, to see how your body responds. If something doesn’t work, try something new. You deserve to have less pain and more joy in your life!
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