There is no shortage of people and programs out there proposing to help you to overcome pain. They often have many similarities in the methods they teach to get you out of pain.
They all would help you build resilience in some way. That be in the form of mental, physical, and/or emotional resilience. Resilience is someone's capacity to overcome challenging experiences i.e. pain. Managing emotions is at the heart of resilience.
Increasing a person's capacity to hold emotion as well as their ability to build resilience is key to unlocking pain recovery. Our ability to hold, process, and regulate our emotions are fundamental building blocks towards increasing resilience.
However, working with emotions is no simple task and requires work that is confronting, uncomfortable, and challenging. I have yet to meet a persistent pain sufferer who doesn't have difficulty regulating their emotions.
At the core of our ability to grow and overcome pain is managing our response to pain. Pain is extremely emotionally charged which can be why many of us cannot escape pain's grip.
If you mindfully attend to your inner experience each time you feel pain, you will notice an emotional response. This may be felt in the body. It may be hard to describe. However, the more and more attuned you become to this response, the better you will be able to respond to pain more effectively.
If we take away the emotional charge of pain. If we stop living our lives avoiding pain and seeking pleasure. We can gradually begin to understand our pain. We can gradually begin to open up and feel our pain without judging it's presence as negative or positive.
Once we can approach our pain with equanimity and stillness, we will be able to unshackle from its hold on us. Pain will no longer become a problem to be feared, but an experience that is to be embraced.
Freedom from pain is within all of us. First, we just need to unlock our emotions and begin to build resilience. Easy right.....definitely not.
Let's be honest. Many of us have not been taught to recognise our emotions and process them from a young age so it often does not come naturally. It is a constant process of recognising, understanding, validating, feeling and processing.
This is where therapy can be extremely helpful. I work with my clients to build resilience by targeting the emotions behind pain through mindfulness and integrative therapy.
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