The Best Life: Finding joy while experiencing physical or emotional pain.
Jessica Layton, MMT
I often come across clients who are in emotional, extreme or chronic pain. Finding the will to get up each day can be overwhelming, and taglines such as “chronic pain” and “self-care” can stir up a plethora of mixed emotions.
According Martin Seligman, psychologist and founder of “Positive Psychology” “Success requires persistence, the ability to not give up in the face of failure. I believe that optimistic explanatory style is the key to persistence.” Yet, how does one stay persistent and optimistic?
Pain often leads to depression and/or loss of the ability to differentiate chronic pain with “muscle strengthening” pain. Self-care is crucial in times of pain, physical as well as emotional. Due to the human experience, we all experience some form of pain at one point or another. With that, may come the loss of interest in activities. True, simple self-care becomes crucial.
Self-care comes in so many forms, but some of my favorites come by indulging the senses. To experience and recognize beauty, texture and challenge for the human soul.
• Sitting, standing, walking or hiking while feeling the sunshine on your skin. Smelling the vegetation, hearing the water or birds. Seeing the majesty of something so much larger than ones self.
• Taking the time for a good, long stretch giving muscle groups the chance to breathe and feel blood flow.
• Choosing a moment to do a kindness for someone else. Recognition is not necessary for this to bring joy to a soul. “Doing a kindness produces the single most reliable momentary increase in well-being of any exercise we have tested.” MS
• Indulging in occasionally creating a favorite treat. The creation often bringing as much enjoyment as the taste.
• Feeling the burn of a good workout, the exhaustion, the endorphins flowing, the relaxation and satisfaction upon completion. Even while in pain there can be an appropriate workout. Check with your physician, chiropractor or physical therapist about slowly building up strength to alleviate pain. See a good neuromuscular therapist in conjunction, if you get the green light.
• Taking a long bath with Epsom salts and a favorite scented oil to alleviate tension. Taking the time to bring a good book or magazine, a soft towel and light candles if you like.
• Carving out the time to challenge ones mind in an area that has always been intriguing. Whether it’s in regards to the challenges of pain or not, knowledge is power! Many times, learning something outside of one’s pain will create a moment to change the focus.
• Taking a few moments to experience quiet and be grateful for all the good that surrounds us. Feel free to itemize!
• Playing a new game for a little brain challenge, maybe inviting some friends over to share some laughs.
• Take a moment to remember the good things and that every person is beautiful and has something to offer humanity.
"Success requires persistence, the ability to not give up in the face of failure. I believe that “The good life is using your signature strengths every day to produce authentic happiness and abundant gratification.” Martin Seligman