Believe it or not, there are benefits to chronic pain. Your condition may have contributed to you making time for yourself and investing in healthy habits, such as clean eating, receiving massages, acupuncture, taking baths, or doing other types of self-care. These habits nurture your parasympathetic nervous system, reducing chronic stress and inflammation. Once you are truly pain-free, will you maintain these healthy habits?
I help my patients establish healthy boundaries so that they can answer yes. I help patients set boundaries so that they do not need an excuse to make time for self-care. So that they can fill their cup first, simply because it is okay to put yourself first.
Are you ready to live pain-free?
Below are some exercises to help you learn more about yourself and create emotional shifts that over time improve your response to healing.
The exercises are customized for patients with Endometriosis since that is my special focus. Feel free to substitute your disease and source of chronic pain in the italicized area, be it fibromyalgia or any other disease.
- Write a journal entry about having your first pain-free experience or pain-free day.
- What might you do or accomplish that day?
- Would you make time for self-care?
- Think of the symptoms you have and reflect on their purpose. Complete the sentences:
- “I am _(your name)__’s Endometriosis and I have a job to____.”
- “I am _(your name)__’s Endometriosis and I am protecting her from ____”
- “My illness’s purpose and role is____”
- For example:
- I am Madhuri’s Endometriosis and I have a job to let Madhuri take time to rest and relax.
- I am Madhuri’s Endometriosis and I am protecting her from overwork.
3. List one healthy activity you have added to your lifestyle in your journey of relief from chronic pain.
- Do you foresee any challenges to maintaining this activity when you are pain-free?
- How will you overcome these challenges?
4. Separate yourself from your disease. Address it in the second-person and talk to your disease: “I understand you, and I don’t need you.”
- Separating yourself from your disease helps break attachments to labels associated with diagnoses. If you have suffered from chronic pain for many years, it is especially important to break these attachments and see the condition as “not you.”
- If you feel uncomfortable doing this, journal about what arises when you think of living pain-free. Note fears that may come up as clues into beliefs that are no longer serving you. Then, create personalized mantras to help you move past these.
- For example: “I am not my Mom. And I’m never going to be my Mom. I have different genetics.”
4. Create motivational stickers and write directly onto mirrors in your house/ areas where you see yourself. Try the statements:
- “I am enough.”
- “I am healthy.”
Lean into the feelings evoked by these statements when you read them.
5. Find ways to love, praise, and nurture yourself
- Write a letter to yourself that praises yourself and your attributes.
- Change your passwords into statements that empower you.
- For example:
- For example:
6. Notice thoughts when you feel stressed. Just the act of noticing thoughts can create space between “feeling” and “reaction.”
- Use the space to observe your mind and how it reacts to stressors. Are these stressors perceived or real?
- As you work on cultivating space between feelings and reactions, you can exercise choice and chose to shift your reactions to focus on positive outcomes. This helps shift your body and narrative away from a state of chronic stress and inflammation.
These exercises pull together teachings from years of training in mind-body health. Each exercise can be understandably challenging. I encourage you to start with one and see how it works for you over the course of a week before trying the next.
If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.
Wishing you a healthy and vibrant day!