Distracting Ourselves From the Pain

Karen Lee Richards Health Guide
  • One of our community members, Saraboo, posed an interesting question in her recent SharePost A Healthy Focus.  She asked, “How do we NOT focus on the pain and instead focus on life?”  Her question inspired me to share what I've learned about controlling my focus and distracting myself from the pain – and then to ask you to do the same.

    Often people who don't live with chronic pain will tell us, “Just don't think about it,” or “Get your mind on something else.”  Of course, that's easier said than done.  The more severe the pain, the more difficult it is to distract our minds from thinking about it. 

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    Personally, the best way to get my mind off the pain is to get deeply involved in something I enjoy and care about that requires a lot of thought.  For me that is usually either writing or graphic design.  Sometimes it's hard to get started because the pain keeps interrupting my thoughts.  But once I'm able to really get into a project, an hour or two may pass and I'll suddenly realize that I haven't thought about the pain. 

    Helping others is another good way to get our minds off of our own pain for a little while.  Whether it's answering questions here on ChronicPainConnection or planning a day out for my friend who is taking care of her invalid mother, thinking about someone else and their problems helps distract me from my own. 

    I've found that the most important factor in not focusing on my pain is to keep my mind occupied thinking about something else.  If I'm not working on a project, I'm doing a crossword puzzle or reading a book.  If I'm not doing anything else, I watch TV.  Anything to keep my mind focused on something other than pain. 

    Of course there are times that, despite my most valiant efforts, the pain gets the best of me and I have to rest or go to bed for a while.  (Even then, though, I usually have the TV on to help occupy my mind.)  But all in all, distraction works quite well for me. 

    Some other hobbies and interests people have told me they use to distract themselves from pain are:

    •  Writing poetry
    •  Painting
    •  Making jewelry
    •  Needlework (crocheting, needlepoint, etc.)
    •  Music (playing, writing or just listening)

    I'm sure there are lots more.  What can you get so involved in that you lose yourself?  What helps get your mind off the pain – even if only for a few minutes at a time?    Please click on “Comment” below and share.


Published On: October 31, 2009