“Nothing is good or bad but our thoughts make them so” -Shakespeare
I’m always amazed at the power of our human minds. Almost daily, I’m hearing another story of how somebody overcame physical disease or injury simply with the power of their minds. Dr. Joe Dispenza who authored several books including “You are the Placebo” and “Evolve Your Brain” offers some solid science around the untapped potential of the human brain.
Most of us use that power on a daily basis without even realizing it. The problem is, when you put something that powerful into unskilled hands it usually doesn’t turn out well. At least that’s been my experience. I still emotionally crash and burn quite often when I allow my thoughts to drive my bus.
The way I see it, pain is an essential part of life. We’re not going to avoid it for as long as we’re here in these human bodies so the best thing to do is try to figure out how to use it as an ally. As they say, if you can’t beat ’em join ’em. Pain is like your buddy sitting in the passenger seat while your driving. Every time he notices you nodding off he slaps the shit out of you. I always thank him after but not while he’s whacking me because it fucking hurts.
Pain felt in the present moment sucks. Whether it’s physical or emotional makes no difference.
The reptilian brain kicks in and everything else is out the window. Whether it’s self inflicted or not, you just automatically do what you have to until you get through it. If it’s too intense your body will go into shock until you’re able to deal. There’s no rational thought process involved; you just do it.
The thing is, though, if you’re sitting here reading this, you’ve already survived that kind of acute, in the moment, pain. The emotional shit that lingers and gnaws at your gut for the next weeks, months, or years is something entirely different. That’s always self-inflicted.
The good news is if you’re causing it, you can stop it.
Here are a few things I’ve used over the years that have worked for me.
1. Do something drastically outside your routine and comfort zone. Take a road trip (even if it’s just one day), treat yourself to an ice cream cone, go skydiving, go visit a nudist colony. Anything to shock you out of your current mindset. Don’t believe the bullshitters who tell you to just stay busy. That’s not enough. Busyness within your normal routine is only self medicating. The pain will return as soon as you slow back down. Doing something completely off the hook will open your mind to new possibilities and that’s what you need. So don’t read any further.
GO FUCKING DO IT RIGHT NOW!
2. Take yourself on a date. Pamper and love yourself up. Go to a play or a walk on the beach. Do something that says “I love you.” (Caution: if your pain involves another person don’t do anything that the two of you might do together).
3. Get rid of any objects in your immediate environment that remind you of the cause of your pain.
4. Eat, sleep, and exercise. Motion causes emotion. Uplevel your physical routine. Get at least 8 hours of sleep and eat healthy. Your body is your mind’s servant. Feed it and let it do its job.
5. Forgive. Forgiveness is simply letting go of all judgment. Judgment comes from old stories that are no longer relevant in your new growth. Forgive others and especially yourself.
Remember, everything that happened SHOULD have happened because it did.
6. Express Gratitude. This is always my go-to. I include it in everything because it works for everything. Write down 5 things you’re grateful for each morning and reread them before going to bed.
7. Give. Nothing works better for getting you out of your self pity like giving to others. Find someone who has it worse than you and reach out to them. If you can’t find anyone, do what I do. Go to the grocery store, buy a bouquet of flowers and hand them out to strangers. Magic will happen, I promise.
8. Journal. Do a thoughts journal. Write your feelings down on paper so you can see them. Then ask yourself what thoughts are behind them. Once you realize they’re just thoughts you can investigate new thoughts that will allow you to feel the way you want to feel.
Most importantly, know you are never alone. Reach out to me any time.