Journaling for Chronic Pain ReliefNov 29, 2023
Chronic pain serves a purpose, even though it may not always feel that way. It's our body's way of protecting us, a signal from our brain that something isn't quite right. Recent discoveries in brain science have shown us that pain isn't just about physical discomfort; it's about how our brain interprets our physical state.
The root cause of chronic pain often lies in the dysregulated nervous system and our prolonged fight-or-flight response. It's the way our nervous system perceives an unsafe environment, even when the danger is not physical but emotional. Whether it's back pain, migraines, pelvic pain, IBS, or joint pain, these sensations are all different expressions of the same underlying process.
So why are we suffering? Our brains and nervous systems perceive our repressed emotional world as a more significant threat to our well-being than our physical symptoms. In essence, they think we are in mortal danger.
Our society doesn't encourage us to express emotions like rage, despair, or shame openly. Instead, it promotes a "suck it up" mentality, pushing us to be always strong, to overwork, and to put others before ourselves. Our nervous systems, in response to this constant stress, go into overdrive, believing that self-care is not an option.
This chronic state of fight or flight is unsustainable. It's designed for short bursts to escape life-threatening situations, not for prolonged periods. But when the nervous system perceives emotional turmoil as a greater threat than physical pain, it sends signals of pain and discomfort as a protective mechanism.
Think about it like this: when you have an infection from an open wound, the pain alerts you to stop and focus on saving your life by addressing the infection. Similarly, chronic pain asks us to draw boundaries, pay attention to our needs, and take care of ourselves. Unfortunately, modern society doesn't align with this built-in protective mechanism.
The interesting, and sometimes challenging, aspect of chronic pain is that it can make you feel more in control. You make doctor's appointments, cancel plans, complain to friends, and receive support and connection. However, this isn't the safest or most desirable way to live. You don't want a life filled with chronic pain, migraines, fatigue, and constant discomfort.
What recent studies have shown is that many forms of chronic pain, from back pain to migraines, aren't primarily due to structural issues but are rooted in psychophysiological processes that can be reversed.
So, even if you try to avoid facing your repressed emotions, they'll find a way to manifest themselves – in your migraines, fibromyalgia, body pains, or any other chronic conditions. It's not your body working against you; it's your nervous system and brain doing their best to protect you from what they perceive as the greatest threat – your suppressed emotions.
If you're ready to address this connection between chronic pain and repressed emotions, here's a simple practice you can try:
- Identify Your Unspoken Worries: Start by listing five to ten things that are weighing on your mind. These should be topics you'd rather avoid discussing because they evoke resistance or discomfort.
- Set a Timer: Allocate 20 minutes for this exercise. Place your phone face down to avoid watching the time tick away.
- Choose a Topic: Select one of the topics you identified in Step 1 and write it at the top of your page.
- Speak Your Truth: Now, write down your honest, unfiltered thoughts and feelings about that topic. Let your inner voice speak without judgment. This is your opportunity to let out what's been held in for too long.
- Release and Reflect: When the timer goes off, you have a choice. You can continue if you feel the need, or you can stop. If you're using a computer, select all and delete. If you're writing by hand, tear up the paper and discard it. It's as if it never happened.
- Embrace Compassion: Sit quietly afterward, placing your hand on your heart. Acknowledge that you're a good person doing your best, just like everyone else. Remember that it's okay to feel and express your emotions – it's part of the healing process.
This practice can lead you on a journey through your emotions, connecting past experiences with present-day struggles. By giving your repressed emotions a voice, you can free yourself from the grip of chronic pain and start on the path to healing. It's a powerful step toward understanding the intricate relationship between your mind and body.
Remember, you're not alone in this journey. Many people have been where you are, and they've found a way to heal and reclaim their lives. It's time to give yourself the opportunity to heal, to let go of the pain that's been holding you back, and to embrace a life filled with vitality and well-being.
Stress is one of the biggest contributors to pain and inflammation. If you want to release stress and lower pain, download my FREE Relief With Peace audio bundle here.