Cultivating Thankfulness in the Midst of Chronic Pain

By November 22, 2019 December 3rd, 2019 Chronic Pain

Cultivating Thankfulness in the Midst of Chronic Pain - PMIR

It sounds unbelievably hard to have thankfulness for anything while struggling with a condition specifically characterized by unending pain. If we know that pain and stress have a direct effect on the mind, then we generally feel much worse the more pain we’re in. How can anyone who is struggling with ceaseless discomfort experience anything positive?

At least, that’s what some might argue if they didn’t know what it was like to live with chronic pain. As difficult as it is sometimes, people with chronic pain often continue to lead fulfilling lives. It’s important to remember that, just as pain affects our mood, our mood affects the pain. The worse off we feel we are, the worse off we become physically – and it works the other way around, in that chronic pain can be diminished through feelings of joy, happiness, gratitude, and accomplishment.

Children with chronic conditions can still play with toys, watch shows, have favorite foods, and talk about their experiences. Teenagers who live with chronic pain are still exploring themselves, making personal progress, and learning to define themselves. Adults with chronic pain can still do their best to contribute to society, bring life and joy to their family, and be someone inspirational. All the while having bad days, tough days, and a lifestyle that is wholly incomparable with what most people go through on a daily basis.

People who have lived with chronic pain for years know that it’s possible, even critical, to have thankfulness, to be happy and experience moments of gratitude. But it’s equally important for those around them to understand that, despite its hardships, a life lived with chronic pain is not necessarily a life diminished in any real way. There are important ways for people with chronic pain to help continue to cultivate feelings of gratitude. As well to fight back against emotions and perceptions that only continue to amplify the pain and make it worse.

Thankfulness Over Gripe, in Midst of Chronic Pain

What are your blessings? It might be your: pets, skills, job, knowledge,  friends,  family,  partner,  children,  legacy,  successes, students. As we live, we each find ourselves living unique and interesting lives, with or without the pain.

Chronic pain can be debilitating and is certainly unpleasant. However, it does not stop us from reaping many beautiful blessings over the years. As mentioned earlier, the simple act of gratitude can help reduce symptoms of depression and perceptions of pain in those with chronic pain – it’s not a treatment, or even a healing effect, but it’s an important and positive mindset to have, even if it isn’t always sustainable. You’re justified in being angry and irritated. And there’s certainly nothing fair about having to struggle with chronic pain. For your own sake, learning to be have thankfulness can help you feel a little better.

Have a Pet (With a Friend/Partner)

People with certain chronic pain conditions can have service dogs, and service dogs are a tremendous boon to anyone who struggles with severe pain and limited mobility. However, you don’t necessarily need to get a trained emotional support animal to reap the benefits of owning and caring for a pet.

Pets can have a tremendous impact on us, especially mentally. But even physically, as pet ownership and affection can help people with chronic pain reduce their overall pain levels. For instance,  when enjoying physical contact with their pet (through the release of oxytocin). Pets are also cute, and cute things genuinely help us think better, and feel better.

But pets are more than just bundles of joy. They represent responsibility – and the bigger the pet, the bigger the responsibility. Depending on your condition, keeping a pet can either be a great idea or a bad one. Especially if you mostly live alone, and have your hands full caring for yourself. But if you live with others, then consider caring for a pet together. If you already have a pet, you can get them registered as an emotional support animal, even without training.

Stay Away From the Needlessly Negative

Needless negativity is negativity you simply do not need in life. Whether it’s someone’s toxic behavior and tendency to constantly criticize and ceaselessly react, or a 24/7 news cycle that leaves you feeling hopeless and angry without any real constructive ideas for how to act on that anger, there may be several elements in your life that continue to bring you down and just make life harder than it has to be.

It’s impossible to constantly surround ourselves with happiness, and that it isn’t healthy either. But there is a stark difference between helping a loved one getting through a tough time in their life. Like, helping them deal with their struggles, and dealing with someone who aims to do little more than constantly bring others down, or seek anger and negativity in others and amplify it.

Positivity Is Medicine

Another thing that can help put things into perspective is that gratitude, joy and thankfulness effectively functions like medicine. While it’s critical to seek professional help to work on diminishing your pain, it’s also important to note that there’s more to pain management than meds, operations, and surgeries.

There’s having fun with friends and family, indulging in a mini-spa day, or playing games with others. The two also go hand-in-hand. A helpful treatment can help us appreciate the things we love to do as it allow us to continue healing.

While celebrating Thanksgiving, it’s important to remember that putting aside trivialities to celebrate the good things in life is critical. And if you’re struggling with chronic pain, then being a little happier and express thankfulness for your family  can make an impact on your overall mood and pain levels.

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