Managing your mindset: accepting your chronic pain disorder

Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, Pain Management

When it comes to living with chronic pain, managing your mindset is almost as important as managing the pain itself.

By now, you’ll be sick of hearing the ‘acceptance is key’ crap, but managing your mindset goes beyond acceptance and can really make a difference to how you live your life with chronic pain.

In fact, The National Library of Medicine suggests that accepting your chronic pain disorder and adapting your mindset is ‘associated with lower levels of pain, disability and psychological distress’.

And if that doesn’t flick a switch , try this. Some years ago, I used a mobility scooter to get around. Last month I walked 83 miles. I haven’t been cured, I haven’t made a miraculous recovery, but I have managed my mindset. Here’s how:

Top Tips for Managing your Chronic Pain Mindset

1. Knowledge is Power 

When you’re diagnosed with fibromyalgia or other chronic pain disorders, you’re faced with the unknown.

The best thing you can do for your mindset here is to learn everything you possibly can about your condition.

Acquiring this knowledge and understanding what’s going on inside your body reduces levels of uncertainty and eliminates the need to question and analyse each new pain you feel.

Acknowledging the pain and understanding the reason for it enables you to feel far more in control of your body, making you better able to cope and live with your chronic pain condition in a positive way.

2. Connect with Others 

Part of adjusting your mindset when living with chronic pain is realising that it isn’t just you.

Pain is selfish. It turns us in on ourselves, becomes all-consuming and isolates us from those who aren’t suffering, which, let’s face it, feels like everyone else!

To move away from this mindset, seek out people with similar experiences. When you have a network of people who understand what you’re going through, your mindset switches from lonely and isolated to supported and connected.

You’ll feel far better able to cope with your chronic pain when you find people who are sharing your experience.

3. Find your New Normal 

Here’s the thing – chronic pain isn’t the norm, and it will 100% change your life.

The problems start, however, when you’re trying desperately to cling on to your old normal. You wallow in the things you can no longer do instead of visualising all the wonderful things you are still capable of.

So you might not be able to take your dog on a four-mile walk, but you can still have an epic game of fetch in the garden.

You might not be able to run a marathon, but you can go for miles in a swimming pool.

Finding your new normal when diagnosed with a chronic pain disorder releases you from the clutches of your past and what once was and helps you accept what was meant to be.

You have chronic pain, but chronic pain doesn’t have you.

Adjust your mindset to accept, understand and manage your condition.

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