It is not always obvious but life gives us many choices. We choose whether we are going to get up out of bed, what we are going to eat, whether we will have a shower, whether one beer is enough or whether we shall have more! Many of our choices are so automatic or considered habitual that we never think of them as choices. But in fact they are!
algea-26 One of the many advantages of being focused in the present moment is that we realise and start taking notice of our actions. Stop for a while! Imagine the benefits involved if for example following an argument you could stop, think and answer back in a composed non aggressive fashion. We would have better relationships, healthier bodies and clearer minds! But how exactly can we achieve this?
1. Be in the PRESENT moment– describe in detail what you are doing at this exact moment in time «What am I thinking? », «What am I feeling? », «What is going on inside my body? »
2. Come a step closer to your VALUES – «Who is really important to me? », «What would my ideal relationships look like? » «What activities/achievements are important to me? »
algea-27-en 3. ACCEPT your THOUGHTS and EMOTIONS – Be mindful that there exist both helpful and unhelpful thoughts which act as barriers to you making a «wise» choice in a given moment. «If I drink, the pain will go away» or «taking my medication will lessen my pain». The difference between this and other treatments is that it's not necessarily the pain as such that is important but one's relationship with pain (e.g. actively trying to avoid, limit or control your pain) that is the problem. We don't believe that trying to get rid of your pain will change something. Imagine for a few seconds what it would be like to live without your pain. What would be different in your life? What would you do? There are medications out there that can numb your pain, but at what cost? What if we were to suggest you did anything but focus on your pain, what would happen? Why not try to live alongside your pain? This might indeed be more realistic! Maybe at some point you can ACCEPT your pain without ifs, butt's and excuses.........! living the life you want to live with your pain walking beside you.
4. COMMITTED ACTION – Choose what you would like to change, what truly matters to you. This might entail a difficult choice in the short term but would benefit you in the long term. For example, engaging in activities that you might have stopped as a result of your pain, it might be difficult at first but in time it will be worth it and will make you feel better.
C 2010. Counseling and Psychological Services, University of New South Wales, Written by Louise Shepherd
When pain appears....
Many times when we feel pain during the day, we feel we cannot do anything. We feel helpless and see our future as a bleak path and ourselves passive and relying on other people's help. Pain is uninvited, unwanted and when it knocks on our door the first thing that comes to mind is that something terrible has happened and that we must fix it. For this reason we fight, compromise, avoid this awful sensation and literally put our lives on hold until...... until what exactly...? Pain never really goes away! We realise that pain doesn't go after 1-2 days, several weeks, months... and we are just spectators in our lives....we cancel appointments, we don't go out with our friends, don't take care of our loved ones, don't exercise and generally feel like we're "sitting in the back seat car, on our own» .
We eventually realise that struggling with pain should stop, here and now! Should this sound strange ... try one of the following techniques next time you're in pain... Be mindful however.... The aim of the following advice is not to avoid pain but to stop the struggle with pain gradually, while adapting these techniques to your own needs....Are you ready? We are!