Pain is a big industry. A lot of time and money gets dumped into searching for answers to or merely managing pain. At some point in our lives we all experience pain. We are taught to deal with pain in various ways: walk it off, take a product to help it go away, numb ourselves with food/alcohol/drugs.
But what if your pain was simply a message? And what happens when you ignore messages? They tend to get bigger, more obnoxious, more in-your-face. The more you ignore something important, the greater the chance that it snowballs out-of-control. This message is trying to get your attention. It won’t stop until you finally get the message that something is out-of-balance, something needs to change in your life.
As a mind-body doctor, I’ve had to personally confront my own messages. At first I ignored the messages, thinking they were going to be too scary. We all do this. It’s what we are taught from a young age – just ignore and cover up, pretend nothing is wrong. But pretending that nothing is wrong only keeps you locked up in a living hell. It keeps you stuck.
If you’ve been following my work, you know that I healed myself from Lyme Disease a few years ago. In healing myself and helping others to recover their health, I discovered that you must address underlying thoughts, emotions & beliefs. Get rid of your stinkin’ thinkin’ and your life will turn around. I know, I know! At first I thought this was a load of crap (maybe where you are right now). When you actually learn to do this for yourself, THEN you will experience freedom like you’ve never experienced. That is when you will stop at nothing to turn everything around in your life. That is when joy and fun return to your life. That is when your relationships turn around. That is when your life feels like an amazing journey…like it was meant to feel!
Here are 3 tips to get this ball rolling in a better direction.
1. Get the message and move on.
Every physical symptom has a message for us. We all have the ability to get our own messages. This is where learning to meditate effectively can really help. Meditation is where you receive your own guidance on what to do next. It allows you to step back into your own power – you no longer need to rely solely on Google, or go to endless doctor appointments, or go through endless testing.
So, how do you really know there is a message behind your pain? An easy way to tell is that NOTHING YOU ARE DOING IS HELPING. Pain med’s (prescription or over-the-counter), chiropractic treatments, acupuncture, essential oils, massages, etc –> NONE of these things helps you feel better for more than a few hours or a day or so. By now, you are probably feeling really crabby and blaming everyone around you for their shortcomings: Don’t these practitioners know ANYTHING? Why can’t they fix me? What is wrong with THEM? [How do I know this? Well…been there done that! This used to be my thought pattern prior to receiving my own answers.]
When you first begin this process, merely pay close attention when you are 1st aware of your pain. What were you just doing? What were you just thinking? What were you just saying? Write down or take note of everything you can think of. These will give you powerful clues when you are searching for your message.
Here are some specific examples of lessons I’ve learned from my pain:
2. Ignore or Distract Yourself.
Maybe you got your message, and maybe you didn’t yet. Until then, look for ways to soften your thoughts or distract yourself with pleasing things. The goal (at first) isn’t to shift your pain completely to zero, or to shift your mood from despair to bliss. Just reach for the next-best feeling. Look to soften your pain or your miserable mood.
Some people are so unhappy that they no longer have any idea of what would please them. They might be so used to pleasing others, worrying about what other people think of them, or obsessing over things they can’t control that they no longer know what they want or how they want to feel.
Here are some of the things that I learned along the way that please me, and help me shift into a better-feeling place:
3. Pivot and move towards a better feeling.
You’ve seen plenty of politicians lately use the “pivot” method. They are asked a question, and instead of answering it, they “pivot” or shift the conversation towards something else they want to talk about or focus on. It frustrates other people, but it is a brilliant tool for shifting out of pain.
Think about your typical day. How focused are you on your pain (or any other physical symptom)? Do you think about your pain constantly? Do you tell other people about your pain? Do you post on Facebook about how crappy you feel? Do you actively search for online groups that discuss pain? Do you compare how much pain you are in with others who are in pain? Has pain become your identity or label? Has pain now defined who you are? Do you wonder who you would be without your pain? Do you wonder what you would talk about if you didn’t have your pain?
Can you see how focusing on pain (or any symptom) can keep you stuck? If thinking, speaking & searching about pain has become your life, then that will continue to be your life. It does no good to drag other people into your hole with you. Other people will try to help lift you out of the hole you have dug for yourself, but when pain has become your life you think that others need to come down to your level and sit in your pain with you. #Backwards. It’s time to change your focus!
How do you want to feel? Take some time to reflect on this. Here are some examples that might seem like a good start:
These examples are somewhat generic. When you feel your body start to relax, then explore these feelings a little deeper. How do you really want to FEEL and WHY? If you want to feel energetic…why? What will feeling energetic do for you? Will it allow you to do the things you love to do? Will it give you freedom?
Begin catching yourself when you are focused on your pain, and immediately STOP yourself! Pivot and shift your attention towards where you want to go (how you want to feel).
Stop doing the following:
Start doing the following:
Need help better understanding this mindset stuff? Click here for all of the background info.
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Dr JoAnn Tully
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