The emotional world that comes with being in chronic pain is incredibly difficult to navigate. It is (mostly) unavoidable to feel sadness, disappointment, or even depression when our bodies give us a hard time. It’s important to hold space for those low emotions, yet it’s also important to keep ourselves as emotionally afloat as possible. This will only help our bodies relax and lower the volume on our symptoms.
Here are some ideas to get you brainstorming on how to stay in the emotional eye of the chronic pain storm:
- Talk to yourself like you are your own best friend. Let’s interrupt that inner critic with a loving and compassionate voice. If you catch your inner monologue getting judgmental, rephrase the thought in a way that you would talk to your best friend. Whether you know it or not, you deserve the same love and compassion you give to others.
- Build your joy muscle. Have a few things in your pocket that undoubtedly bring you joy. There is a good reason why baby 👶 and puppy 🐶 videos on YouTube are plentiful and adult coloring books are high in demand. Try sprinkling joy-filled activities into your schedule. It may feel imposed at first, but with consistency, accessing joy will become easier.
- Find a supportive third party. Third parties such as a therapist, health coach, or support group can objectively support you in building a healthy relationship with yourself. Sometimes it helps to simply speak thoughts aloud. Shop around and find support that fits you and your needs!
- Remember how quickly emotions can change. Think about how quickly a child can change from throwing a fit, to being overjoyed by a toy across the room. As adults we start to label our emotions by day, week, or (yikes) month. “It’s going to be one of those days” limits our mindset to one emotion being sustained that whole day. Find emotional flexibility and you might more accurately define your day as having some challenging aspects, but some good things happened too.
All of these practices are meant to help you emotionally stay in the eye of the storm when your body feels like it is in chaos. We might always have low feelings around our health, but we can also practice different ways to add emotional fluidity to lighten the emotional load of living in chronic pain. You’ve got this! 💪
Rita Thompson was inspired to become a Mayo Clinic certified Health and Wellness coach after her own experience with health challenges. Knowing a magic wand can’t always be waved to “fix” health or regain “perfect” health, she locked into making behavioral and lifestyle changes to navigate her way back to healthy living.
In tandem with her practice as a Health and Wellness coach, Rita teaches Pilates Mat in a private practice and public classes. The training of Pilates includes incredible detail in anatomic study and how the body works as a whole. Her study of skeletal alignment, movement, and muscular balance is especially beneficial to any chronic pain clients!