Having chronic pain and illness really does take a toll on the body. It also takes a toll on the mind. It waxes and wanes on you and there are times the pain level will drive you so far that it starts to affect your positive outlook on your health. The mind wanders and you have the "What If". The "What If" game is quite common for those who suffer from chronic pain and illness. Some of my clients inform me they feel they are walking on eggshells with their body and they don't know what is going to happen next. Even though pain and illness can be unpredictable, the ultimate goal is to replace "What If" with "What Is" What is currently happening in the moment? One of the best treatment methods for chronic pain and illness is mindfulness meditation. Using this type of intervention allows you to be aware of the now and what is happening in the present moment. I find there is so much opportunity in the present. The past can cause more anxiety, depression and regret. We tend to get the shoulda coulda woulda moment here. When we think of the future and how it relates to our pain and illness, we become plagued with more anxiety and hypervigilance.
As a psychotherapist, I often inform my clients that we need to have some anxiety. The good anxiety is the anxiety that gets us up every morning to keep you going in life. The good anxiety motivates us for wellness. Practicing mindfulness can be difficult at times. Your mind may wander to many places....or you may just be too damn irritated. That is okay! You are allowed to feel your feelings. Sometimes we have to accept our "What If" and let it take its course. Sometimes accepting the pain is the only way to get to a place of calmness. Fighting pain can create more tension with the body...can cause more anxiety and depression. It depends on the person with pain. I have plenty of clients who accept their pain and illness and several who do not. The goal is to find a balance of wellness and to live the best way possible. I hope all of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!