Thursday, June 30, 2016
Pain does not mean, necessarily, suffering.
Sometimes I share, in therapy, the idea with the client that it can be helpful to make a distinction between pain and suffering. Some people have difficult pain but they do not suffer because they have found ways to cope with the pain. Other people have little pain but suffer a great deal because of their fears and resistance.
Studies have found, interestingly, that two of the best ways to cope with pain is acceptance and distraction. The more a person fights the pain and resists it, the more tense and anxious the person becomes and the worse the pain gets. Sometimes it is best to accept the pain, go with the flow, and relax as best you can. "It is what it is" as the Buddhists say.
Distraction also can help when the person can put their mind on something more interesting, engaging, and enjoyable. This takes some deliberate and purposeful intention and focusing. Practicing this distraction by refocusing is what I call "mind control." It is a skill which a person can get better at the more he/she practices. It is like a muscle that gets stronger with exercise.
I have found that relaxation techniques can also be very helpful using isometric exercises where the person deliberately tenses and relaxes the various muscle groups in the body.
For more information click here for an brief article entitled "Pain: The Two Best Psychological Techniques For Coping." on Psyblog.