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Attitudes and Attachments to Pain

There are thousands of people suffering from chronic pain. Day in, day out their lives are about management and survival, pushing through and 'getting on' with things. Pain is exhausting, depressing and limiting and it's effects flow out and impact multiple areas of one's life. There are numerous, complex mechanisms involved in pain and often patients seek answers and support from various avenues. Diet, exercise and lifestyle are all important considerations, and so too is mindset.

One aspect which has fascinated me since studying Kinesiology almost 15 years ago, is the idea that we can hold onto our pain through attachment to an associated belief or attitude. If physical pain serves us in some manner, then we are unlikely to fully heal or transcend it. There may actually be a secondary gain to being in chronic discomfort.

Some examples of attitudes to pain which may keep us in a holding pattern are -

1. Armouring: I use pain to gain strength. My pain pushes me forward.

2. Martyrdom: I must suffer in order to grow.

3. Identification: I am my pain. Without my pain I have no identity/ no purpose.

4. Guilt: I deserve to suffer.

5. Self Pity/ Helplessness: I have nothing, the world is against me, no-one understands.

6. Pessimism: There IS no cure. This is my lot. No-one can help me.

7. Dependence: I drink/ take drugs etc because of my pain.

8. Safety: I cannot participate because of my pain. My pain keeps me tucked away and therefore keeps me safe.

9. Religion: This is my fate. God must want me to suffer.

10. Unmet Needs: When I am in pain, people offer me kindness and support that I don't get otherwise.

These thought patterns are generally not conscious and are often 'inherited' from family or societal conditioning. For many patients, this idea will be met with some resistance, so it is important to note that this is not about judgement or blame, it is about creating awareness in order to resolve a limiting belief so that true and complete healing may occur. Often people CAN identify with one or more of the above statements (or similar) or at least open up to the possibility that there may be some advantage to being in chronic pain. Once this has been acknowledged, new skills and strategies to deal with life's challenges can be developed, giving the body permission to heal and for the pain to finally dissolve.

Luella Cochrane is a Professional Speaker, Trainer and Consultant with over 20 years experience as a Kinesiologist and Health and Education Consultant.

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