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Coping with chronic pain everyday is not easy. It’s frustrating, mentally draining, hard work, and quite simply, it damn well hurts. It’s hard to be positive and upbeat on most days, especially the bad days, and often all you want to do is moan how bad it is and how rubbish your life is. But what if you changed some of this dialogue – your thoughts and language – and started using different language and words to change how you feel?
Buddha once said something very true:
“What we think, we become.”
Basically this means that we are shaped by our thoughts. This never really made sense to me, until one day I had a light bulb moment. I was saying how bad things were because of my pain, moaning a lot about how my pain was hurting me and making me feel, and how things will never change and I am going to have this pain for the rest of my life. Suddenly, I realised that this language was what was driving my thoughts and feelings, and it was getting me down; it had to stop.
When we speak so negatively about how things are, then we are going to feel rubbish about ourselves. It’s a vicious circle: we feel rubbish, we say how rubbish we feel, and we feel even rubbish-er [I know that’s not a word but it summarises exactly what I’m trying today].
If we just focus on the negative stuff, then that’s all we will see. Even when positive stuff comes our way, all we have trained ourselves to look for is the negative stuff.
It’s ok to have bad days
We all have bad days, so I’m not saying we can’t feel rubbish at all, or that we can’t use negative thoughts and language – it’s part and parcel of life. It is important to let off steam and accept how you feel. Bottling it up does no good either. Let it out, write it down, and then move on. Do not let it be the focus of your day, and of those around you.
What I’m saying is, don’t be negative all the time. I had a phase of moaning, feeling like the victim and that the world was against me, and it made me miserable, and it was really hard for my partner to see and cope with. I still have bad days now: I have a little rant and maybe a cry, but then I focus on what I can do to help myself. And my partner gets it – she listens to me and helps me.
What can you do
You can’t stop your pain, but you can stop the thoughts that are making you feel worse.
Try the three steps below…
The first step to changing your thoughts
First of all you need to identify the thoughts and language you use. This negative dialogue often becomes a habit, and it’s just part and parcel of your day-to-day life coping and living with your pain. To you it is the norm.
Other people around will, more often than not, pick up on the language you are using sooner that what you will. And believe me, it gets irritating for them, and it drags them down. How we are feeling can very easily rub off on to other people, and negativity breeds more negativity. It’s not good for you or anyone else.
The second step
The second step is to stop using that negative language. Moaning and saying how rubbish you feel or how bad things are all the time will not help you at all. If anything, it makes you more miserable.
The third step
The final step is to replace those negative thoughts and language with something else – preferably something much more positive. Granted, this won’t be a easy. You can’t just pretend everything is suddenly ok and that you’re the happiest person alive. That won’t do you any good either.
What you can do though, is start to see things differently. Look for the things that are good, that you are grateful for, and take back control of your mindset and this positivity will breed more positivity.
When I’m having a bad day and I feel low and fed up, I either need to rest or keep walking. I could rest and think about how rubbish things are, how my pain has taken over my life, how annoyed I am at that moment. But I have learned, over time, to think differently.
When I rest I get to spend time reading my book, so that’s a positive. When I go for a walk, I get some fresh air, I clear my mind, I listen to one of my favourite podcasts, and I feel better in myself. These are all positives that I wouldn’t see had I not changed the dialogue in my head and taken action to help myself.
The more you do this, the easier it will become, and over time your negative mindset, thoughts and language, will naturally start to be more positive.
Do you think I’m talking nonsense?
How easy would these steps be for you?
What simple thoughts can you change to start helping yourself?
Tried my three steps above? Let me know how you got on and how you now feel.