How I am Using Mindfulness for Pain

Honestly, I’m not doing great right now.  The pain from my shoulder surgery is pretty much constant – which is exhausting – and not being able to do normal life tasks on my own is frustrating.  So I’m writing this to remind myself how I used mindfulness techniques before surgery to deal with the pain.

  • Weekly Affirmation: every week I choose one affirmation to focus on.  This week is “I am strong” not because I feel strong but because I need to remind myself that I am strong enough to get through this pain.
  • Daily Gratefulness: most mornings I write down three things I am grateful for.  Today is friends, my husband, and sleeping in.  Although this isn’t pain focused, it can just change my mindset enough to make me feel better.
  • Meditation: I’m definitely a beginner when it comes to meditation so I use Buddhify to help.  Also sometimes just sitting quietly focusing only on my breathing or doing a body  scan is enough to relieve the pain.
  • Close Your Eyes and Take 3 Breaths: Acknowledge the pain sucks.  Give yourself 3 (or 5 or 10 or 20) breaths to feel it and realize you can get through it.  Or if you can’t get through it, do what you can to relieve it: ice, heat, change positions, punch a pillow, yell, whatever you have to do.
  • Get Up and Take a Five Minute Walk: Focus on being in the moment.  Experience your surroundings with all of your senses.
  • Think of How this is an Opportunity: What have you learned from this injury or illness?  How has this changed your situation for the better?  How has it changed your future plans for the better?  Has your perspective changed?
  • Sit with the Pain: Feel it, locate it, describe it.  Maybe even have a conversation with it.  Just allow yourself to be with the pain without trying to avoid it.  How is it different than you expected?  And if this isn’t doable because the pain is too bad, what does the pain want?  What do you need?
  • Practice Self-Care: Be patient and forgiving to yourself.  Treat yourself how you would treat a friend going through the same situation.  This is hard for me but I know it means I heal quicker so its worth the effort.


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