How To Deal With Physical Pain and Difficult Emotions
As a coach who regularly works with clients struggling with pain, I've found even with similar injuries, people can experience different levels of pain intensity that fluctuate day to day. Sharing these suggestions about dealing with pain that I've come to understand through my studies and practice can help you understand pain and better cope. Ultimately, I want to give you the tools to train your brain and change your experience of pain.
I find many clients misunderstand or misinterpret the concept of pain. Pain serves a fundamental purpose: to protect you, tell you something is wrong, and motivate you to take action. Without pain, you wouldn't feel a needle prick or ankle sprain.
The pivotal, often overlooked concept is that your brain, not your body, creates pain. That understanding becomes a game changer because, new research reveals, when you understand pain, you can heal better and faster.
Rather than pain receptors, your body contains nociceptors that carry danger messages along nerves and up into the brain. Your brain interprets how you deal with that pain.
I want to be clear that pain is always real. Pain isn't in your head; it exists in your brain. When you understand your brain controls pain, you can take control to transform how you see and work through pain.
Keep in mind that pain is a complex experience
The way you experience pain is affected by many factors in addition to pain intensity, such as your emotional state (“I am angry that I am feeling this way”), beliefs about pain (“This pain means there’s something seriously wrong with me”), expectations (“These painkillers aren’t going to work”), and environment (“I don’t have anyone to talk to about how I feel”).
In fact, pain is generally recognized to be associated with three major components:
Mindfulness can help you tune into the difference between these three experiences, making it possible to reduce the suffering associated with pain without necessarily reducing the severity of the pain itself. It can also help you approach your pain with less fear and more acceptance, allowing you to live life fully, even though you have pain.
Mindfulness may help you with the psychological experience of this injury by:
Every individual has a specific way to handle and overcome pain in their life. Some are destructive ways like- depending on heavy drugs and medications, not doing required therapy, just living with the pain as if it is a normal way to live, feeling like a victim, and some are constructive ways to deal with pain.
Here are my suggestions on constructive ways to handle pain. As always, please personalize these recommendations to meet your own needs.
Techniques To Try When Dealing With Pain:
Be patient with yourself when trying these techniques. If you try them and they don't help relieve your pain, take a deep breath, send non-judgmental compassionate thoughts to yourself—"it's hard to try these techniques and not have them work right away"—and then set the intention to try them again soon.
Mindset, exercise, stress control, optimal sleep, and nutrition are among the many things you can do to take control and minimize pain's impact. Lifestyle factors play far more of a role in pain management than conventional medicine often wants to acknowledge. But that is why this course is here. To help you take control and do what you can to live a healthy lifestyle. To help you mindfully navigate the healing process and not let the burden of pain weigh down your life.
Which of these suggestions works for you? Do you have another healthy technique you use to cope with pain in your life? Please share your experiences in the comments below or leave a suggestion in the facebook group. Having healthy ways to cope with healing is often one of the most challenging parts of this process and your story may help another in their life.
Guided Mindfulness Meditation On Coping With Pain
Additional Resources to Help In Dealing With Physical PainBooks:
The Pain Toolkit is a free NHS-endorsed booklet packed with simple practical advice on how to live better with long-term pain. Download the booklet (PDF, 5.4Mb).
Practice (audio, PDF, and video): The RAIN of Self Compassion