Techniques to Support You with Acute or Chronic Pain
Quality of life– starts with self-care and self-love. For example, if a person is feeling a lot of pain at the end of the day, they could choose to gently go to bed early that night instead of staying up late watching TV.
Connect and you will be able to detach. We are naturally gentle, and when we allow ourselves to re-connect to this natural quality we have a greater capacity to emotionally detach from the pain we are experiencing. In feeling our own gentleness, it allows us to detach from emotional reactions such as anger, frustration or sadness. Thus you may still feel your pain on a physical level however you largely remain emotionally unaffected by it. In this state a person sees things clearly and simply, has clarity of thought, and is able to make decisions easily.
Stay connected. Being consciously present is about keeping your mind focused on what your body is doing, rather than doing one thing and thinking about something else (such as obsessive thoughts about your pain or other distractions). Choosing to consciously move your body gently and lovingly. How many of us exercise without paying any attention to the quality in which we are exercising?
Lifestyle choices – diet, exercise and sleep. For example, introducing a daily sleeping ritual that ensures you will be in a very restful state by the time you lie down to sleep. A general guide is to go to bed early (e.g. around 9pm) and get up early, choosing to gently wind down around two hours before going to bed.
Nominating issues – beliefs, ideals and emotions. Holding onto beliefs and ideals keeps emotions running, for example a person believing that their life is over because they have pain (belief), keeps them in the sadness (emotion) of feeling they have missed out on the life they always wanted (ideal).
Enhancing motivation e.g. simplifying things, doing one thing at a time, setting goals, prioritising what matters most in your life.
Warning signs and triggers. Nothing occurs ‘out of the blue’, that is, a person experiences a relapse or flare-up of their pain because more subtle warnings have been ignored prior to the flare-up occurring. It is about identifying the warning signs and triggers and making choices to prevent them to the best of your ability.
Daily reflection. Using a pain diary to track changes can support you to appreciate yourself and reflect on how you are going. Tracking changes can also prevent you from catastrophising if you happen to have a pain flare up and supports you to identify possible warning signs and triggers.
Pacing – knowing your limits as opposed to constantly overdoing it, then underdoing it.
Self-talk – confirming things that are true rather than accepting things that are false, such as talking to yourself negatively or critically.
Celebrating Yourself – appreciating and celebrating yourself and any true improvements you are making.
See your doctor – for medical advice, to review any medication, and to keep your doctor informed of how you are supporting your own health.
This is just a snapshot, there are many more aspects that can be considered to support yourself if you are experiencing ongoing pain.
More will be written in an upcoming series of articles on this topic. If you would like to read more be sure to subscribe to receive email updates.
BIOGRAPHY Psychologist Brendan Mooney works with adults, adolescents and children. With a genuine interest in people's well-being, Brendan brings a warmth, practicality and an equality that supports clients to truly address underlying issues and blockages that are preventing them from moving forward.