As people who live with chronic pain, we experience negative thoughts and behaviors. Pain has a knack for imposing itself on our body and mind. What should be a little dust devil kicking up a little dirt can turn into a violent tornado that blows up a field of feelings we wouldn’t otherwise experience.
What Can Happen?
Several things can happen to those of us who live with constant daily pain. We can become fearful of losing our abilities to function as we once did. This fear can lead to feelings of:
- low self-confidence
- lack of trust
- low energy
We become moody and then admonish ourselves for our behavior. It seems we are losing control over our body, and we sense we are losing a firm grip on our autonomy. Fear can be paralyzing and can lead to what I call thought blocks.
Thought blocks are those things we encounter when we are confronted with conflict that needs resolution. We start dwelling on the past instead of the present. We feel judged, which leads to a perceived need to defend ourselves. Thought blocks lead to the dreaded stalemate of denial. We become our own worst critic, and if we aren’t careful, we can develop worrisome behaviors such as:
- depression or sadness
Everyone has experienced thought blocks or uncharacteristic behavior. But we, as people who live with chronic pain, must be vigilant to a heightened risk of living in a negative vortex that keeps us from living fully.
What Can We Do?
We can do one of two things, become silent and withdrawn, or we can speak up and improve our body talk. We are not alone or without resources. We can find ways to turn down the volume control on negativity. Eventually we realize that unless we are faced with an acute flare, we are able to replace negative inner-dialogue with positive, and thereby change our reaction to physical and emotional pain.
It’s impossible to have negativity and positivity occupying our brain space at the same time.
A picture negative doesn’t stay negative (dark, obscure and fuzzy). When it is exposed to the right environment, the right light, and the right developing solution, it gradually becomes clear. When we identify our negatives (thought blocks) and explose them to different solutions, we are able to create a positive environment. This is when we are able to see the true picture that lies inside each of us.
The Good News
The good news is that we have tools that allow us to identify the landscape interfering with our positive self-reflection our present photo moment. They include, but are not limited to:
- self-help books
- creating through art
- writing our own affirmations
- collecting inspirational quotes
I am sure you can relate to the pain stories found here on Health Central. As you get to know yourself, you will fill up your toolbox with your own equipment for combating negative feelings, thought blocks, and destructive behaviors that change our body talk. We learn to sort through the mud and the muck of what I call the side effects of chronic pain. We learn to navigate the murky waters that cloud our judgment. No need to become anxious or fearful of what you will find on your journey, you will make some mistakes along the way, that’s how we grow. Remember, Columbus was looking for India.
By learning to develop the negative into positive, we come to full exposure, a photographic life full of opportunities. I hope you will find the tools you need to develop the negatives in YOUR life.
Write down three negatives you want to develop into positives. Seize this moment for that is what life offers, one moment at a time.
Thinkadversity? See opportunity Celeste
Other helpful tips:
Dear Diary: Journaling for Crohn’s and Colitis (good information for anyone who deals with chronic illness)
Celeste Cooper, R.N., is a freelance writer focusing on chronic pain and fibromyalgia. She is lead author of Integrative therapies for Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Myofascial Pain and the Broken Body, Wounded Spirit: Balancing the See-Saw of Chronic Pain book series. She enjoys her family, writing and advocating, photography, and nature. Connect with Celeste through her website CelesteCooper.com, Twitter @FibroCFSWarrior, or follow her Facebook page.