resolutions mindful of living with chronic pain

Posted by on Jan 1, 2014 in Anti-Inflammatory Ideas, Healthier Choices, Holistic Pain Relief, Wellness | 10 comments

Your Desire to Change Must Be Greater Than Your Desire to Stay the Same

For the record, I think resolutions are fabulous—but the middle of winter and living with chronic pain make this a challenge for me. I know I’m thinking like a Northern Hemisphere, cold climate girl here. So if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, please forgive me. I like to make resolutions in the spring, when the world is waking up from winter. It’s a time of year when I feel renewed and hopeful. I just don’t feel that kind of positive energy on January 1st. But I’ll play along since it’s on people’s minds!

Resolving to make change is a wonderful thing. Be specific about your goals. And don’t over promise because you’ll want to have the ability to actually deliver on those goals. These thoughts are nothing new. You’ve heard them before – probably many times before.

And what do people living with chronic pain do about resolutions? I would like to resolve not to have any chronic pain this year. I’d like to resolve not to make any visits to my physicians this year. Unfortunately both of these feel like they fall into the category of over promising. So what are some of the things I might resolve?

1. I resolve to keep trying to find the delicate balance between self-care and selfishness. To work on understanding how self-care isn’t selfish, but a matter of survival—even when I’m busy reaching for the stars.

2. I resolve to make thoughtful food choices that support my desire to live with less pain and inflammation. To research and try new things, as long as they seem wise and feel positive rather than restrictive.

3. I resolve to find ways to relax, to laugh and to connect with people I love and enjoy.

4. I resolve to be easy with myself while not being lazy, so that I take breaks and recovery days with less guilt than usual.

5. I resolve to find communities of people (especially those living with chronic illness and/or pain) with mutual support and respect.

And finally, I resolve to wait until the weather warms up to commit to resolutions. Winter is a great time to hibernate and percolate the “how” of these resolutions. I’ll choose whichever resolutions come naturally while honoring this darkest time of the year. Will you join me?


Do you just wish you could find a set of realistic, holistic tools you can put in practice that will minimize your pain and maximize your energy? Download my free PDF report to learn 17 EASY WAYS TO START MINIMIZING PAIN TODAY!

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mindset & living with chronic pain

Posted by on Oct 10, 2013 in Holistic Pain Relief, Wellness | 0 comments

Sharing a hug with my mentor during the Mindset event!

Sharing a hug with my mentor during the Mindset event!

Last week I attended Fabienne’s Mindset Retreat. It was an amazing event that I couldn’t help but connect to holistic pain relief. What I learned (all over again) is that mindset is the combination of three things: thoughts, beliefs and actions. So how does that play out with chronic pain? We think about the discomfort & pain all the time. We believe that the pain will never end. We often don’t take action because we feel hopeless and so miserable.

But what would happen if we could make a decision to change our mindset today? Could we

  • Think about pain relief solutions
  • Believe that small changes could add up to big gains
  • Take action to change our habits in ways that support pain relief

Remember, I’ve been on both sides of this coin. I had my first experiences of chronic back pain in my twenties, without realizing that it wasn’t how all my friends felt. After finding help from chiropractic treatment, I felt pretty good for a few years. And then the back pain came back with a vengeance in my early thirties. This time it was massage therapy that helped me manage and heal the pain. And with the rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis, I had a much bigger mindset challenge because chronic illness felt so much scarier than back pain.

So how do we change the way we think about holistic pain relief? Well, being part of this community (on Facebook and at is a good place to start. When we connect with like-minded individuals who are also focused on solutions instead of tied to the pain experience, we are supported and can feel more positive. I also believe that taking the time to laugh and enjoy life will make a BIG difference. For example, choose an uplifting comedy instead of a heavy drama when you go to the movies. Spend time with friends who are positive thinkers. Listen to happy music instead of news in the car. Make time for the goodness in life!

All of these things combine to help us shift our belief system. Beliefs are just thoughts we think over and over and over again. So take some time (maybe with a journal) to reflect on the thoughts you were taught as a kid about your body and your health. For example, did your parents or grandparents say things like, “Everybody’s body falls apart after 40” over and over again? Perhaps you have internalized this belief without even realizing it. Or do you say things like, “I hate how my body has stopped working,” or just simply, “I hate my body” many times every day? Reframing these beliefs can make all the difference for us!

And then beyond our thoughts and beliefs are the action steps that relate to our mindset. Sometimes we decide to take action and we choose the top 20 things we need to change. And then we try to change them all at once! From my personal experience, this is a recipe for frustration and maybe even disaster. If you are contemplating changes (maybe some of the ideas from our report, “17 Easy Ways to Start Minimizing Your Pain Today”), please consider changing just one thing at a time. Determine where to start, and then make a plan that helps you make that one change. Live with the changes for a while—days or even weeks, and then consider adding another change into your life. Step-by-step adjustments give you a pace that acknowledges the chronic pain in your life. Be easy with yourself as you move forward!

I would also encourage you to dream about the life you’d like to create for yourself. Start a vision board or make a “mind movie” that will give you visual and emotional cues. Take some time to imagine and visualize what you’d like life to be like. Maybe capture that in your journal as well. And then keep re-visiting that vision on a daily basis.

Please let me know if I can help you with these ideas as well. Mindset is everything!


Do you just wish you could find a set of realistic, holistic tools you can put in practice that will minimize your pain and maximize your energy? Download my free PDF report to learn 17 EASY WAYS TO START MINIMIZING PAIN TODAY!

Read More
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