For those struggling with chronic pain, finding success within yourself can be difficult—but, it’s not impossible. By learning about the mind body connection, walking down the path to no pain and redefining personal goals, you can start loving life again—without pain.
The Mind Body Connection
The Mind Body Syndrome recognizes that there is a solid connection between our minds and our bodies. The theory states that sometimes our mind may close off parts of our emotions or memories in order to protect our conscious self from pain. The mind may categorize those events as too painful for us to handle, so instead, it represses them. Instead, the mind provides us with distraction it the form of pain.
Dr. Sarno was the doctor who discovered the mind body connection. He was looking for a way to bring relief to his chronic pain suffering patients. He created a system of pain management and treatment strategies aimed at treating the sources of emotional pain, which would then in turn treat the physical manifestations. His methods have allowed thousands of people to live a pain-free life once again.
The Pain-Free Path
The path to no pain is more of a healing process to retrain your brain in the way it should be thinking, rather than the way it was working left to its own devices. There are a few ways to start the journey to a pain-free life:
Journaling: Keeping a diary or journal and writing daily is an excellent way to uncover repressed memories or emotions. I found out that events I thought I had gotten over, I really hadn’t. Even by journaling a few minutes every day, you can potentially locate your pain sources, which would then allow you to address them and move forward.
Intensive Short-Term dynamic Psychotherapy (ISTDP): If you cannot discover your pain points on your own, then ISTDP with a psychotherapist may be necessary. They will first help you locate the sources of your pain then help you retrain your brain towards a healthier way of dealing with emotions, rather than repressing them.
Meditation: At-home daily meditation is a great way to relieve stress while also opening your subconscious mind. Even just a quick five-minute meditation session can help alleviate some of your pain.
A lot of the negative emotions we may experience are tied to expectations we have—of others, of ourselves, of the goals we aim to strive for. However, there is more going on than we may know. It is important to assess and redefine our personal goal parameters in order to go after what we truly want.
Assess: The first step is to assess what was or is causing you pain. Whether by journaling, ISTDP or meditation, you need to find out which elements of your life are wreaking havoc with your mind body balance. For me, it was that I was expecting too much of myself—my expectations were too high, unreasonably so.
Redefine: Once I realized that my expectations were too much for me to handle, I had to redefine what personal achievement would look like for me. Take time to look at what you want and how much energy you can realistically put into the task, while keeping a healthy mind body balance. If a task requires too much energy and you think it may impact your mind negatively, then lessen the goal. Redefining your personal goals isn’t bad, it’s just a way of finding success within your limits.
Strive: Once you’ve assessed and redefined your personal achievement goals, go after what you want. Using your healing to retrain your brain was a process that took immense strength, patience and determination. With such strong willpower, you’re fully capable of striving after any redefined goal you set your mind to.
Celebrate: Being successful in your own way is immense. Celebrate the victories you have. Celebrate your pain-free life. Celebrate the courage you have and the person you’ve become. Your personal success is a testament to how strong you are and how much you’ve overcome. So, celebrate yourself by loving life and all that it has in store for you.