Pain in our back and body impacts and effects our emotional wellbeing, and can render us to the point of debilitating. Stress and fear can cause us to blame ourselves, leaving feelings of guilt and worthlessness. These feelings emerge during physical pain and illness, and root deep down in some circumstances, lowering our capacity to heal and feel ease. The word disease comes from lack of ease in the body. Some chiropractors and alternative natural healers prefer to use the word dis-ease as it not only breaks the word up to see it for what it is, but also takes the power out of the word disease. The word means an absence of health, and can lead to a negative impact on a person’s mental health if they are labeled with having a disease or being diseased. Feelings of fear and pain can become one and the same. We have to learn to see the difference between pain and our reaction to it. Once learned, we can see that although pain is not our choice, our reactions are. It is instinctive to avoid pain. Seeing a way out can be tough, and it is easy to lose our inner balance in the midst of these negative feelings. Even if the body recovers, the emotions have already been linked to your illness or pain and can last a lot longer in our thoughts. We may begin to live inside our fear and think it is normal, and treat everything or many things in our life as a sign of doom. There is a great good in learning to accept pain, in the moment when it arises. We can learn to accept pain without fearing what the next moment will bring. We can learn the act of acceptance, and not the pain of denial.
The power of thought can change our lives. Our thoughts are able to lift us up, or send us into a spiral towards low mood. So, one influence on how pain affects you is the way in which you think about the pain. Those who are more scared of pain will feel more distress than those who are less fearful.
Some thoughts turn into a habit by repetition, rather than a true representation picture of what is really happening, and the patterns of thinking we get into depend on various factors. If you get into a habitual pattern of thinking dark scary thoughts about your pain, you could find you are placing the fear about your situation, so that it becomes hard to believe there is anything you can do to improve the situation. You may think that you cannot control your thoughts and feelings. However, you may well have changed how you thought about many things during your life, possibly because of something you have read, or just as a result of your own experiences, so therefore changing thoughts about pain can be done.
‘Thoughts’ are always running though our heads, and we aren’t aware of them until we deliberately tune in.
Our thoughts are tied into how we feel. If you know someone is poorly, you feel worried or upset. If you think your pain will never go away, it can make you depressed and anxious, just as when you hear someone has passed an exam, you feel happy and proud. They are always tied together, thought and feelings. How you think is what you feel. If you get to a point of churning over a worry thought and find unable to let it go, then at this point the pain has a hold of you. Understanding what pattern of thinking you have, then identifying and writing this down on a record sheet/diary will show you what you were thinking, and you can see clearly the difference between your thoughts and your feelings. Some examples of patterns of thinking are catastrophic thinking, black and white thinking, and put down thinking. Learn to challenge yourself by asking, am I setting unrealistic and unhelpful standards that are keeping me stuck in a negative pattern? How would someone else view this situation? You can change the negative unhelpful thoughts to more realistic helpful ones that will allow you to move forward. This process takes time, but making the choice to keep records and look at how you can change one view with a more positive one is an approach to managing pain.