One of the big questions that I often ask those in my fold who are living with chronic pain is this:
What makes you feel good?
For those of us living with chronic pain or illness, we are constantly living on high alert. We are wondering when the next pain attack may come. We measure our movements to minimize discomfort. We sometimes avoid crowded places; we leave parties early because our bodies start to ache. It’s always on our minds. It’s heavy on our hearts.
As painiacs, we intimately know what makes us feel bad, horrible, and just plain destroyed. We know it so well that we start to outwardly avoid doing certain activities, participating in certain social interactions, applying for certain jobs, and unabashedly writing off entire careers or hobbies because we know it could cause us pain.
I’m so guilty of this that is for sure!
For years, the pain seeped into my every ounce of life. It impacted all that I did and dreamed of doing. It was so present with me that I started to notice that I wasn’t able to see what made me feel good anymore. I just assumed everything would hurt, nothing would be fun, and I would have to say no to all of my favorite hobbies and activities. I would have to turn down all of my dream jobs.
But, that’s just not the truth.
So, I changed the story by asking myself different questions.
What am I capable of with this body and this mind without increasing the pain? (turns out that I’m capable of a lot!)
I can’t run a marathon. Big whoop. I used to love running, especially on trails in the mountains. When I shifted my focus away from dwelling on how I can’t run anymore, I started to see that I can swim (floating, and bobbing for a while, until I could actually move through the water with grace and strength, both of which were challenging to find on land). I started to paint watercolors. I practiced another language. I pushed myself in different, new, and challenging (not hurtful) directions and it started to feel great.
That brings me back to my original question: What makes you feel good?
Finding new hobbies and new directions to push myself does feel good. But you know what familiar activities feel good? Doing the dishes (I feel productive and accomplished). Writing a letter to my Grandma (I feel connected to family and focused on someone other than myself). Sitting on my deck and watching the birds (I feel present with and curious about nature). Watching one of my favorite movies from my childhood(I feel nostalgic and a bit indulgent).
These are just my examples of how it’s possible to find the peace in your day, in spite of the pain. I’m more curious to know how you choose to peacefully move through the pain. If you haven’t do so already, ask yourself: What feels good? Grab a piece of paper and write it down. Better yet, post the list on your bathroom mirror so that you remind yourself each day that you have this killer list of things you can do to feel good and not bad.
So, tell me. What is on your list? Share below. I could always use some more inspiration.