With Chronic Pain, It’s Vital to Do What You Love

Why it’s So Vital to Do What You Love When You Have Chronic Pain | The Princess in the Tower

When you live in pain you already have to deal with so much disappointment and heartache, doing what you love should become priority. Yet so frequently, and often understandably, those with chronic pain and illness let go of the very pleasures they once adored, whether through necessity — physical and otherwise — or drifting away from everything in life before illness and pain.

Perhaps not initially, especially if resistant to even the acceptance of illness — no matter how fervently your symptoms screamed otherwise — but soon the struggle gives way to letting go of activities that now need both additional preparation and painful recovery too.

If your life in pain has become the dullest routine of simply trying to make it through the day, with very little for you, supporting you, nurturing and nourishing you, that’s certainly not good for the soul, nor your ability to live and live well with pain

Never Feeling Good

Because every activity is painful, it’s little wonder that so many in pain have stopped doing many or even all of the activities they once enjoye

trap of comparison, wherein you are forever thinking of the you before illness and pain, who once accomplished so much in a day, or was proud of your achievements and traits

It can be hard enough just making it through the day and the most necessary of tasks, let alone additional activities done purely for the joy of them.

Shift Your Focus

Do not focus on what you cannot do now, instead create a distance between you and those thoughts, you and those memories

It’s a sad fact but a true one that we are so often our own worst enemies, sometimes even blaming ourselves for what is so out of our control or becoming angry at our inability to do what we once did with ease.

Look on your memories with love, not heartache and heaviness

the past never changes by looking at it.

Rethinking Activities

Life is in itself a process of letting go and those of us with chronic pain and illness know this lesson far more directly than most

A study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health showed that simply being around nature can lower stress levels and boost your mental health too

A study by Berto (2005) found that just viewing pictures of natural scenes had a restorative effect on cognitive function and stress-relief too.

with a little imagination and support, you can enjoy albeit modified versions of that which you loved, which is vital

A life with nothing to look forward to or enjoy can become an even harder place to be.

Connecting With Loved-Ones

Skype and FaceTime are both amazing ways to connect with your loved-ones from anywhere on this planet

Connecting with those you love, having a giggle, or even rant and moan should you want that, is healing.

Why Activity and Experiences Help Reduce Pain and Retrain the Brain

New experiences, novel activities and even relatively passive tasks that keep your brain fit actually strengthen neural networks, which becomes all the more vital when you have chronic pain

In chronic pain maladaptive neuroplasticity causes the brain to transmit unwarranted pain signals, keeping the pain gates forever open and you get stuck in a vicious cycle of pain.

The constant pain signals become stuck on a loop

New experiences can counteract the maladaptive neuroplasticity that comes with chronic pain and by engaging in activities you enjoy though they do not need to only be active activities

people who regularly read, solve crossword puzzles, play cards or checkers, or visit museums are less likely to experience mental decline than those who do not.

Why it is So Vital to Do What You Love [When Living in Pain]

Every kindness you can do for yourself can help you cope with chronic illness and pain

Working with, not against, your illness and pain can lead to your life being far happier and a happier life is a more resilient one no matter the depth of the challenges you face

Depression and pain are so frequently connected and yet each makes it harder to heal and cope with the other.

Additionally, the maladaptive neuroplasticity that chronic pain causes is worsened when every day stays the same. There is no new stimulus,

That may not be easy, in fact far from it, it’s natural to focus on what hurts, especially when it’s severe pain but in choosing and participating in activities that make you feel good reinforces the neuronal pathways in your brain

Returning to What You Love

Read the original post for some concrete examples of modifying activities:
http://princessinthetower.org/why-its-so-vital-to-do-what-you-love-when-you-have-chronic-pain/

 

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3 thoughts on “With Chronic Pain, It’s Vital to Do What You Love

  1. BirdLoverInMichigan

    This is an important post that reconnects us to our deepest selves despite our constant experience of pain. The passions that make us who we are lie deep within and are never fully quenched, despite the pain and weariness that may surround them. Anything that helps you forget the bad also makes room for the good. “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”–Matthew 6:21

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  2. Zyp Czyk Post author

    “The passions that make us who we are lie deep within and are never fully quenched”

    You are right… though it becomes very difficult to unearth these passions after they’ve been buried under pain and fatigue for so long. Some passions can never be indulged in again, like galloping a horse at full speed across a wide open field or riding my bike hundreds of miles through the CA coastal hills.

    Another part of the problem is that I have to change how I “enact” my passions. Bike rides went from 100 miles/day for multiple days to 10 miles with 2 days rest afterward, and horses I can only enjoy by sight. For someone who’d been almost compulsively active outdoors all my life (or at least the first 40 years), this was/is a tough adjustment, but there’s no way around it. I’m just glad I did all that crazy fun stuff while I still could.

    But the passion underlying my activities is still there, and if I don’t find a way to express it in my life, my spirit suffers. My current effort is to discover the “root” of my passions, some unifying theme at a deeper level, so I can find a different outlet than physical activity.

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