THE ZEN OF CHRONIC PAIN: 7 WAYS TO QUIET IT DOWN
One Sunday morning, I had a chance to catch up with a colleague and her husband over breakfast. We had a great chat as to what we’ve been up to during the Christmas holidays. They shared that they really had a wonderful time until the craving for yum cha put a halt into the festive atmosphere.
Her husband had a severe migraine attack that hasn’t bothered him for several months now not until after the yum cha session. He shared that he used to have migraines so often in the past that it really affected his life in general.
I thought to myself…wow how can this be? How can such chronic pain affect a man’s life that way? We’ve got plenty of medications out there that could definitely get rid of it right? But as he mentioned, he tried everything in the past but nothing worked.
Well, chronic pain is a tricky little devil. It can affect someone in so many ways. I’m not just talking about the pain threshold one can deal with, but how it affects some physically, psychologically, and socially.
And so I’ve dug deeper into it and I’ve compiled 7 helpful ways to quiet the pain down and not let it control your life once and for all.
1. Change your mindset.
Believe that your mind is so powerful that if you use it wisely, you can control almost anything in your life. No, I’m not talking about superpowers like Professor X, but you can always retrain your brain.
Start by accepting that the pain is there, you can do something about it, and you won’t allow it to be the master of your life.
You might say…how can I even exercise when I’m in so much pain. Well, consult your doctor and they will recommend you the best exercise routine for your situation.
Pace yourself. No need to hurry, consistency is key.
The natural endorphins from exercising will definitely be in your corner to help you improve your mood, block the pain, strengthen your body and prevent further pain.
3. Eat a healthy diet. Live a clean lifestyle.
It’s definitely hard to say no to the foods and habits (smoking and alcohol) that you’ve been used to. It is a struggle at first like anything else, but your body will adapt to it in no time and you will be thankful you made that decision to go healthy.
Having a well-balanced diet can be a life changer. The same guy I talked about early on. He changed to a healthy diet and from having migraines every 2 weeks, it only creeps up around twice a year. Isn’t that awesome!
4. Reduce stress in your life.
Stress intensifies chronic pain. Negativity from stress like anxiety, anger, depression can increase the body’s sensitivity to pain. You don’t want stress to mess with your mind and body at the same time. Imagine that.
Find your zen. Learn deep breathing when you’re on the go and practice meditation daily. These techniques help your body to relax which then eases the pain you feel as it sends a quiet message to the brain to settle down.
5. Get a quality massage from a professional therapist.
Massage can help reduce stress and relieve tension. It’s being used by people living with all sorts of chronic pain, including back and neck pain. Don’t underestimate the power of touch. Make sure to have a chat with your therapist before the session and share your situation.
6. Join a support group.
Birds of the same feather flock together. You’re not alone. There are plenty of people who are in the same boat as you and they are most often willing to help you get through it from their guidance and wisdom in coping with the pain.
If you are not a groupie person like me, counseling or a mental health professional might also help you deal with the pain so you can better handle the psychological side of it.
Keep your family and friends close to you more than ever. They are the best support group to have during the storm.
Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness.
7. Distract yourself.
Distraction is not equal to avoiding the pain. But when you focus on pain too much, it makes it even worse. Instead, find something you like doing. Live your life. Be merry. You might not be able to avoid pain, but you can take control of your life.