It is all too easy to focus all our time and attention on our pain, especially on the days where we feel unusually bad.
But sometimes, giving our pain center stage in our lives does nothing more than make us more scared, which, in turn, tends to feed the pain and make it worse.
So how can we make our chronic pain less scary and all-encompassing?
- Remember that pain is not constant. We all have bad days, but we also have days where our pain seems to relax its grip on us.
- Yes, chronic pain sucks. But it is not lethal. You are not likely to die from it. You are safe.
- Maybe you’ve made an uneasy peace with your pain. Maybe you hate it and hate your body for betraying you. But no matter how you feel about it, living with chronic pain is stressful. So, any activity that can decrease your stress levels is a good thing. Make room in your day to actively de-stress.
That’s all well and good, but you don’t know what I’m dealing with. How am I supposed to just RELAX?
Omg. I hear ya!
If life hadn’t forced me to slow down, I wouldn’t have any clue how to relax. I’ve always been an ambitious, impatient perfectionist and I’m the first to admit that my personality hasn’t done me any favors when it comes to dealing with chronic pain.
But just like any other useful life skill, relaxation can be learned.
Here are a few of my favorite go-to activities for daily relaxation:
- Taking a bath
- Listening to music
- Spending time outside
- Watching or listening to something funny
- Gentle exercise, like walking, yoga, pilates, or swimming
- Spending time with friends
- Loving on my kitties
I’ve found that spending a little bit of time each day doing something to unwind has really made a difference in both my happiness and my pain levels.
The key to relaxing is finding something that you enjoy doing, in and of itself, without any expectation of a particular outcome.
And if none of these activities speak to you, there is bound to be something out there that you would enjoy doing.
Maybe cooking is relaxing to you. Or gardening.
Whatever you decide to try, know that even the most driven among us can learn to get quiet and reap the benefits of consistent relaxation.
Do you have trouble relaxing? What works for you?
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