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Simple Practical How Tos To Reduce Chronic Pain. (Part 2 of 2)

Updated: Apr 1, 2021

What you need: a piece of A4 paper; a pen; post-it notes of 2 different colours

Above this text is a scale its a bit like a speedometer on a car. This scale is a scale between uncomfortable and comfortable. The scale goes up to 9 on the right but actually we want it to go up to 10 out of 10, as 10 feeling totally comfortable and great. To the left is 1 the opposite of that. Five is kind of average, getting by but not really OK.

To follow is an exercise to start to spot things that move you away from the low numbers, not feeling great, towards feeling better, closer to 10. It's not intended to be burden, pressure or goal. It can help you stay centred, know where you are and move forwards. Do a bit at a time, see how that feels and do a bit more. Your aim is to start to do more of what moves you towards 10, and less of what moves you to lower numbers. It is designed to be an ally in healing. It is surprising what changes we can make.

1. Take an A4 piece of paper, put the longest edge to the top and in the middle draw a vertical line from top to bottom. Leave plenty of space as you are going to write the headings and you need enough space so that post it notes will fit over the headings. Write on both sides the headings with the following titles - "things you do", "things you say", "places you go", "things that you think and believe", and "people you see".

2. Take a post-it note and write something that is useful to do that helps you feel better - moves you towards 10 out of 10 on the scale. (For example one for me it's getting up every hour for a walk about if I am working at the computer)

3. Take a post-it note of the other colour and write something you do that makes you feel worse - moves you to a lower number on the scale. Put something like don't in front of it. For example I might write don't work at the computer for more than 1 hour, See less of ......... (someone who makes me feel stressed).

4. In the same way put post-its on each of the headings. Aim to put at least one post-it on each of the headings - some may have 3 or 4. Some of the answers maybe surprising.

The kinds of things people have on their list are deeply relax/meditate daily, spend more time in the sunshine etc etc. Action for happiness have lots of ideas for doing things that make us happier links to resources to help you spot things that you might want to do more of/less of.

5. Look at what you have written down. It maybe useful to take a photo of your post-its. You now have post-it notes that you can keep by your bed, by your computer etc. to remind you to do more of the useful and less of the stuff that causes you problems.

6. You can add more post it's as you notice things that it would be useful to do more of/less of.

7. Look through what you have written what would it be helpful to do more of/less of?

There maybe things that are useful to change in the longer term eg job, But, what is achievable right now,. What is a first step?

(Care; there are certain things like doing or avoiding certain kinds of activity that aren't useful if you are managing acute/chronic pain - this blog isn't a substitute for medical advice. Make sure you follow good medical advice with issues like exercise and movement, and medication and remember to keep things kind).

(Modified from Lorimer and Mosely explain pain resources). The exercise is designed to help with chronic pain, but it can equally adapted to help clear other physical or emotional issues.

This document was modified as part of a presentation at York Natural Health for their 14th Anniversary open day. There is a downloadable version here>

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