Living with chronic pain is a difficult place to be but there are tools you can use to ease suffering that is self-created.
When you are suffering from chronic pain, your body and mind reside in “fight or flight” mode. Cortisol (stress hormone) and adrenaline levels are elevated, creating even more discord and imbalance in the body.
Relaxation and deep breathing techniques are helpful to turn off “fight or flight” mode. Pairing these methods with positive affirmations, helps to dis-identify with thoughts of pain. Dis-identifying with thoughts is the start to feeling relief, and can be extremely powerful and useful when dealing with chronic pain.
Thoughts are energy. When that energy is negative or non-supportive, it often manifests in the body as physical aches and pains.
Those aches and pains create more negative thoughts about the pain, which intensifies emotions and pain in the body. It fuels a cycle of pain in the mind-body connection. What you think, you feel.
When you live with chronic pain for years or even decades, you have established a “story” around that pain.
You have a mental dialogue that you have been practicing, which has turned into your belief system. That belief system manifests in the body, along with your pain. You have beliefs about what your body can or can’t do with the pain you are feeling. Your mind creates more stories about the pain you are feeling and it is common to believe the pain is a part of you; that it is an identity. This identity grows stronger the longer you feel chronic pain.
Deep breathing, along with the slowing down of the old, negative mental dialogue, will bring stress relief. The inability to relax or find ease will diminish and you will start to feel better.
When you stop identifying with the pain as who you are or paying attention to the stories the mind is telling you, your world and your chronic pain will transform.
Without being constantly bombarded by stress, the body knows innately how to heal itself. Positive affirmations and relaxation techniques give the body a fighting chance to relieve chronic pain naturally.
The more you practice, the more benefit you will see. You will get out what you put in.
When you stop pushing the pain away, fighting against it, that energy is also redirected to healing and feeling better. As you quiet the mind and grow the connection to the body, the intuition will guide you to healing.
The body speaks and if you rest in the stillness of the mind, you can hear what it has to say, before it’s screaming too loudly.
More often than not, the chronic pain is that scream. You can nurture the body by listening to it and change the current story you have around chronic pain. You can shed the identification to the pain and the idea that you are the pain.
Dis-identification from the mind and a connection to the body creates the perfect space for healing and feeling better. Below is a positive affirmation mantra relaxation exercise that I encourage you to do daily when trying to change how you think about your pain.
This affirmation will gently turn the current pain “story” you have around. First, the momentum of this “story” must be slowed down, before it is turned in a new direction. Imagine a car speeding along a highway at 100mph. It’s impossible to stop the car and instantly drive in the opposite direction. First, it must be slowed down before it is turned around.
The same is true for thinking about chronic pain. The thinking must be gently slowed down before it can change direction, going from negativity to positivity.
Start slowly and gently, giving yourself time to adopt this new habit. It may feel strange and that’s okay. It may bring up a lot of emotion and that’s okay too. Be with the awareness of your breath to bring you back and guide you through. Hold yourself in a space as you would a child – kindly and compassionately comforting the chronic pain within.
Positive Affirmation Exercise for Chronic Pain:
- Lie comfortably flat on the back with a support under the knees and under the head
- Make a commitment to not fall asleep
- Gently draw the tips of the shoulder blades together, then let them rest naturally
- Lengthen the tailbone and low back; let it rest naturally
- Slightly tuck the chin into the chest, then let it rest
- If laying on the back isn’t an option, lay on your most comfortable side or sit tall in a chair
- If lying on your side, place a support under the head and between the knees and ankles. You can also place a support between the arms, like you are cuddling with a teddy bear
- If sitting in a chair, place both feet flat on the earth as you lengthen the spine toward sky. Your chin is parallel with the earth and the shoulders draw down the back
- Close the eyes and slowly inhale through the nose, being aware that you are inhaling
- Exhale gently out through the nose, being aware that you are exhaling
- Soften the jaw, tongue and any other muscles you may be tightening
- Calmly and slowly breathe in and out through the nose, silently repeating the positive affirmation mantra “Every day I am getting healthier and feeling better. I am healed.”
Even if you don’t believe this positive affirmation when you start, continue to practice it and over time your thought pattern of disbelief will transform to belief. The more you practice, the more benefit you will see!