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This is how we can actually get active again when we're in fear of pain, or fear of harming ourself. This is how we can decondition the pain response to totally safe activity.

How To Actually Get Active Again When Absolutely In Fear Of Pain

Do you ever talk to yourself? ​

I do!​

I talk to myself, I talk to my body, constantly.​

 

When in pain, how we talk to ourselves absolutely matters. It matters more than you might know. 

 

​Just the simple act of offering ourselves reassurance, both soothing and rational reassurance, and finding some humour in our situation, has profound effects on our chronic pain recovery. 

 

This is how we can actually get active again when we're in fear of pain, or fear of harming ourself. This is how we can decondition the pain response to totally safe activity.


We went for a mission yesterday, it was a little more than I realized I was signing up for. Not too much.... but I've been feeling a building anxiety in my body lately and so getting my heart rate up was not something I was planning on doing.​



There was no pain in my body, my knee has been feeling strong. I'd had some anxiety lately, the sensation of panic and restlessness in my body, but I felt like moving my body and exploring somewhere I've never been before would be good for me. Build those safety neural pathways!​



We hiked uphill, I felt my legs and my butt muscles working, burning with the heat of exertion. And I said, "Thanks guys, you're doing great... You're so strong, look at you go!"​



I felt my heart pounding faster and harder than the exertion really warranted. This might have scared me into a panic attack, nausea and stomach pain a few years ago, but now I just find it mildly amusing. I said, "Hey, no worries, li'l heart o'mine... We can take a break whenever. I know you've been pumping as if I were jogging constantly the past few days so maybe this feels a little scary, like there's something to run away from. But it's safe, there's no danger and you know what happens. Heart rate goes up, and then heart rate goes down. No biggie."​



We bush-whacked, checked the GPS many times, kind of got lost but knew we weren't really lost. We took breaks whenever one of us needed to. Enjoyed the peacefulness of the forest, saw deer poop and wondered where the deer are, and enjoyed being in the forest and in each other's company.​



It got cold. It was sweaty hot in our backyard earlier when we decided on this mission so I was grateful we'd brought more layers than we thought we needed. And I said, "Thanks Ames, for learning from past experiences. Thanks for looking out for yourself."​

 

We made our intended destination after a bit of searching and wrong turns, and ate mandarins and sandwiches I'd made for the adventure. I said, "Oh baby yea, that's a good sandwich you made! Yum, feel those tasty carbs, fats and proteins all nourishing your beautiful body. Nicely done!"​

 



We enjoyed the view. We marvelled at the ingenuity and pluck of the people who had clearly found this place before us and given natural beauty a loving (and thankfully not a destructive) human touch.​



Then we started to head back. There was a little more route finding to be done, but we knew basically where to go. ​



The descent got steep, and I felt worry creeping in. So I said to myself, "You're strong, you've seen what your knees can do. Remember those pistol squats you were doing the other day? This is nothing compared to that! Just give them a chance. No sense worrying about something that hasn't happened. Let's just see what this body can do."​



Then, I slipped on some loose rocks with my left foot and panicked. I sat on the ground, closed my eyes from a quick somatic tracking and said, "So knee, how are you? Are you actually compromised or am I just making shit up out of fear? Fear? OK, I can work with that. We got this, you're OK. Isn't it wild how fear can literally stop us in our tracks, knee? I think it's pretty funny. Are you ready to keep going? OK, let's do it!"​

 

Ever tried Somatic Tracking? You can find my guided audio in my vault of mindfulness, pain reprocessing and nervous system regulation practices!


Then as we got close to the end, still descending steeply, I felt my legs get jelly like they didn't want to go any farther. And I sat down, took a few breaths and said, "I know you're tired. This was a lot! We're almost done, and you've done amazing. You've got this. You're OK, you've got this, you're OK, you've got this, you're OK, you've got this."​



And then I got home, showered, ate an entire pizza and laid on the couch. And said, "Thanks Ames, thanks knees, thanks heart, thanks stomach, thanks mind, thanks body for such a good day!"

 

Remember that self-soothing, looking at all the evidence you have to reassure your safety, and bringing some humour to the situation is how we can get active again and let go of that fear of pain.

 

Have you tried talking to yourself in this way? Are ready to offer yourself this kindness?

 

WANT TO LEARN MORE?
JOIN MY FREE TRAINING FOR THOSE WHO ARE READY TO EMPOWER THEIR CHRONIC PAIN RECOVERY:

How To Use Safe & Effective Techniques To Be Your Own Chronic Pain Recovery Expert

Without Risky Procedures Or Giving Up Doing The Things That Bring You Joy

In it you'll learn:

  • What chronic pain recovery actually means and what it will take to make it possible for you.
  • The #1 reason most people never fully recover + the counter-intuitive thing you need to do instead.
  • The surprising science behind how simple recovery can be, including the self-applied techniques you need to know to reprocess your pain.
  • The 3 major shifts that are standing between you and a full recovery, plus why you can’t afford to ignore them another day.

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