Hey there friends!!
I’m in physical pain right now, which is the perfect time for me to write this article. If it doesn’t work for me, it won’t work for you. I’ve tried the holistic route with a variety of modalities like massage therapy (#1), and even resorted to pharmaceuticals like codeine (#2). Sometimes it just goes back to common yet perhaps forgotten wisdom.
I’ve had severe migraines growing up and even went to a neurosurgeon that hooked-up all sorts of tubes to my brain. The recommendation was to be on pills for the rest of my life, but I sought other refuge. It was the personal development industry that taught me how to control my thoughts to weaken the pain, but it hasn’t been until today that I’ve articulated the particular strategies.
3. Distinguish the Suffering
Haruki Murakam said that “Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.” In other words, we create the suffering. We may use disempowering mind chatter like “this always happens to me” or “this never goes away” or “why me?”. Repeating and focusing on negative aspects of the situation creates more suffering. Pain is simply a localized sensory experience.
4. Distract Yourself
Do something out of the ordinary. Try something that requires you to be 100% present like playing a strategy game or researching your new favorite topic. Make a big list of things you love to do, and then select one that feels most appealing to do right now.
Keep jumping from activity to activity. It’s OK, you don’t need to be get work done because your health is paramount now. Watch comedy that you know is funny, because the same jokes repeated are often even funnier the second time. The same jokes repeated are often even funnier the second time. 🙂
6. Create Meaning
Perseus succinctly said “He conquers who endures” but having faith is not as simple as that sounds. Developing a meaningful reason or lesson behind our pain can become transformative. Even if we can’t find meaning from present circumstances, we can see from the future looking back on now, knowing that somehow this uncomfortable experience had purpose.
7. Alter Language
“My back is killing me” may not be the best vocabulary to use, even if it is accurate. While you may not want to be inaccurate when talking about your pain with others, you can have fun with yourself… Use your mind chatter and talk about tickling sensations or see funny little bears poking at you in order to fix the mess.
8. Get Work Done
Ironically, completely immersing ourselves in what needs to get done can be the solution. It’s funny how when we are unhealthy, we will do only what is absolutely necessary in order to get what absolutely needs to get done. Maybe the pain was just a mechanism for us to plow through this phase?
9. Breathe & Move
Most meditation styles and exercise programs begin with breathing. It’s the source of life, and we can forget that resource with our busy lifestyles. Taking the time to channel air and energy to our area of pain can sometimes reduce the pain. It can take time, which means it requires patience.
10. Give to Others
“You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want” so said legendary speaker, Zig Zigler. It’s true in this domain as well. To get out of our pain, help other people get out of their pain. See, I just did it by writing this article, and it worked! You can pick a family member, friend, or volunteer.
11. Transcend the Pain
(I’m adding this point at a later time, when I’m again in pain, and the previous eight points didn’t do it for me.)
You don’t have pain. Your body has pain. As Eckhart Tolle teaches, don’t identify yourself with the content of your reality which is the pain. That’s not you. You are the awareness of the awareness (that is, meta awareness or consciousness) that is a higher level than the physical body. Trick your mind to become aware of physical pain in such a way that it transcends the experience of physical pain.
If you feel pain now, really take on one or more of the suggestions. If you don’t feel pain, then save this article in a special place for the time that you may need it. And send it to someone who you know that has chronic pain, as they may use it too.
Let’s love the world together…
Danish Ahmed, blind visionary