“I remember being able to get up without making sound effects…good times.”
– Source Unknown
I always marvel at childrens’ flexibility, especially little kids. They can twist, move, and bend with such ease and grace – and get up without making any sounds. No creaking, no squeaking. No sighs or exhalations – which reminds me of that Progressive commercial in which the coach is trying to get the people to NOT sigh as they sit down, so they don’t act like their parents. (You know, Dr. Rick, the Parenta-Life Coach.)
Oh well, just part of the joys of youth that we remember fondly. I bring this up because of some recent work I’ve been doing with clients to help them better manage, and even eliminate, chronic pain. They are motivated to reduce or eliminate the pain meds they have been on. Oftentimes, there are mental and emotional stressors associated with the pain. Often people work with me to help overcome a chronic health condition.
I work within a structured, effective approach to help my clients achieve optimal health, energy, and vitality. My health and wellness coaching uses a full body-mind-spirit approach to consider the client’s whole being and ways to enhance energy and healing on all levels.
With something like chronic pain or fibromyalgia, we pull out all the stops and look at energy, exercise, breathing, diet and supplements, AND the mental and emotional components of pain and stress. It’s sort of an “all hands on deck!” approach that helps to achieve significant relief in the short term, as well as help us home in on what will be most effective over the long term.
My goal is always to help each client become more resilient, because being more resilient means you have a higher capacity to handle what life throws at you – whether it’s injury or pain, life challenges, work challenges – pandemic challenges. And being resilient helps you become healthier and happier.
Worse Than the Pain Itself
Even worse than the physical or emotional pain you are feeling, is your thinking about the pain. Pain is a complex phenomenon. The vast majority of any suffering you feel is coming from your thoughts. In fact, as I reflect, when my own pain was at its worst, I sometimes suffered more from my thoughts ABOUT the pain than I did from the actual, physical pain. Thoughts that came from FEAR.
“I can’t stand this anymore.”
“This will last forever.”
“I’ll never have a normal life.”
Even when I was able to crank down the pain meter to a lower – but still irritating – level, it was still there, sort of percolating under the surface, ready to flare up at any time. And the occasional sharp twinge if I moved too fast or extended too far was a frequent reminder that I hadn’t really vanquished this beast.
I share all this to let you know that I’ve been in your shoes. While our specific injuries or complaints may differ, we share the desire to be rid of chronic pain and the limitations it can place on our lives.
Natural Pain Reliever
Here’s a little trick I recommend when you’re dealing with pain: breathe INTO the pain. Yes, you heard me correctly. This is an old martial arts trick. If you have ever studied a traditional style of martial arts, you will probably be familiar with this strategy.
My instructors would always teach us to never let our opponent see that we were hurt or exhausted. To train for this, in every single workout we would never put our hands on our knees when we were exhausted. And we were never ever allowed to sit down or lay down – EVER! – unless something was really wrong. Rather, we learned to stand up straight, put our hands on our hips, face emotionless, and breathe INTO the exhaustion or pain.
We would breathe deeply into our lower abdomen to help catch our breath and replenish our energy. And you know what? It worked.
I’ve used this same approach when dealing with pain – whether physical or emotional.
When you’re hurting, your first inclination may be to check out, numb out, or try to distract yourself, so you try to ignore the pain. Sometimes this works. Sometimes it doesn’t.
When it doesn’t, try this:
- Fix your posture. Sit up straighter or stand up taller. You are in control! Your physiology, your posture, can have an enormous impact on how you feel.
- Breathe in slowly and gently through your nose (with your mouth closed). Breathe INTO the body part or area that is hurting. If this is an emotional pain, breathe into your heart center, that area near your heart and solar plexus where you are feeling the hurt. Really feel it! Don’t shy away from it. Breathe into it. Then breathe out gently.
- After a few breaths into the pain, imagine your breath is permeating the painful area and enveloping the pain and discomfort into a small ball.
- Now, breathe out slowly and gently through your mouth. Breathe all the way out to really purge. As you do, imagine your breath is carrying out that pain ball – out of your body with your exhale, after which it dissolves into the air.
- Continue this for four to five breaths or go longer if you need to. Breathe in gently – surround the pain and enclose it – breathe out gently and fully through your mouth, carrying the pain ball out of your body.
- Then relax. Visualize and feel soft, healing energy throughout your body.
Try this out for yourself. It can make a real difference!
You Can Do It!