We’d like to share a few thoughts on how you can deal with pain and how to fight it. Nobody likes feeling pain or being ill. For centuries people have done everything to avoid it. In spite of various efforts, we still experience both pain and illness and it’s not an easy issue to deal with.
Pain is a very individual experience. Only the person who is experiencing it can be sure of its presence, but we often have trouble describing the pain.
Physical and emotional pain are two different things but persistent pain is one of the most difficult problems. It is hard to endure and treat. Often it takes away the affected person’s vitality and joy of life, intensifies their anxiety, increases their stress and frustration. They feel exhausted. Pain often strips away their humanity. Persistent pain can lead to exclusion from daily life and isolation. Life becomes very difficult. Pain affects their well-being and physical experience. The daily struggle with pain requires a lot of effort. Obviously not every person experiences it on the same level. Pain can take on various forms, which depend on the type and stage of the illness that a person is suffering from.
People who struggle with chronic pain often identify very strongly with it. Physical pain often leads to shortness of breath. Pain can hinder a person’s daily activities and discourage them from making any plans for the future. It is often the case that the patient feels only pain and nothing else. People might say things such as “everything hurts me” or “it hurts all the time”. Pain has a great impact on their well-being and attitude to life.
It affects how they deal with everyday life. It sometimes happens that pain takes over and makes normal functioning impossible. Strong or chronic pain usually discourages action. As a consequence, there is a decrease in energy that prevents affected individuals from performing any activity. It happens that the patients have short painless moments that last for only a few minutes. Pain leads to a limitation of activities, contacts with others and, consequently, can lead to full isolation, loneliness and numbness. It can cause anger, frustration, apathy, impatience and even anger. Sometimes pain deprives people of their dignity. Note that apart from physical pain there is a second type of pain that humans experience, i.e. mental pain.
Some types of pain cannot be avoided, however, others can be prevented or minimized by taking proper care of yourself.
You should ask yourself these questions:
● Are you able to deal with pain at home and at work?
● Can you look at your pain with understanding and acceptance?
● Can you regain your joy of life and have a better connection with life?
● Can you elevate the quality of your life instead of concentrating constantly on reducing your suffering?
There is probably no general solution for every kind of pain, but you can try different methods.
First of all, you should listen to your body. It is easy to learn through regular practice. Just think how often each of us ignores the smallest signals that the body sends us, stress or all kinds of tension in our body. We usually do not hear these tiny signals until they grow into a really serious problem. What do we do then? We might take pills or drink a glass of wine, attempting to drown out the uncomfortable symptoms that the body sends. If the pain intensifies, we limit any activity that causes pain, in short, we limit our range of actions and, consequently, lead a potentially unfulfilling life. After a while, we realize that we have become isolated.
So how can we listen to our body? Here are some tips:
Find a moment for yourself (maybe before going to bed or in the morning just after waking up).
Lie or sit down. Close your eyes and focus your attention on your breath for a moment. After a few minutes, move your attention to your body and focus on what you feel in your body. It can be numbness, pulsing, pinching, tingling, warmth, coldness, hotness, stretching. You can curiously observe all of these sensations, discover, experience and finally name them.
You can also watch how they change, how intense they are, whether there is a gap between one experience and another. All you have to do is watch. You do not even need to wonder why they happen. When practised regularly, this exercise helps to cope with pain. In addition, this exercise helps you calm down, let go of emotions and relax the tension in your body. It also lets you notice that each time we feel our body differently.
Your attitude is also of great importance in experiencing pain. When uncertainty arises, some emotional suffering may increase the pain and vice versa, pain can cause anxiety and depression. Thus, a vicious circle is formed. Some people start to feel hopeless and perceive themselves as useless.
This can lead to a drop in their self-esteem. Other people may feel embarrassed or frustrated. But let us remember that all of these emotions are completely normal. So when such emotions emerge, you should look at them, allow yourself to feel them and just observe. We usually try to escape from such unwanted and uncomfortable feelings. We encourage you to find a state of acceptance for what is coming. Watch with curiosity and be mindful of it.
You can also effectively practice relaxation exercises. They help to relieve pain by reducing tension in the muscles and body. They allow you to fall asleep quickly, make you more energetic, less fatigued and support other pain management methods.
Relaxation exercises can be performed while sitting or lying down. Follow these instructions:
● Find a quiet place where you can be alone.
● Sit or lie down comfortably without crossing your arms or legs.
● Make sure you feel comfortable.
● You can put a pillow under your neck and legs.
● Concentrate on your breath.
● Stay in this position for a while.
Relaxation exercises can be very difficult for patients suffering from chronic or major pain. In these situations, it is worth starting with very short and simple exercises. You can focus on inhaling and exhaling only for a few moments. Some may fall asleep during these exercises. If you want to avoid that, you can practice sitting on a chair. You can also set an alarm clock.
If you are having trouble doing these exercises by yourself, it is a good idea to find someone who has experience with mindfulness or meditation and initially perform such exercises with them. Practicing these exercises with others will help you to gain knowledge and learn.
Remember to choose the right technique for you. What helps one person does not necessarily help another. Observe yourself, your body, your pain thoroughly and attentively. Exercises are meant to help, provide support, reduce tension and should not cause additional stress.
Pain can be a big nuisance and severely disrupt life on many levels, so it is definitely worth looking for methods that can help to minimize it and learn how to handle it step by step.
We encourage you to practice mindfulness exercises. They can give support to anyone who suffers from pain. Regular practice allows you to step out of the trap of pain and suffering. Mindfulness allows you to match the type of activity to your needs and possibilities, with total benevolence and understanding of yourself, without urging, without haste. In harmony with your body and at your own pace.
Remember one thing, you are stronger than your pain. The power of the mind is huge.