How do you describe your pain?

I had an e-mail from a friend recently in which he said his head was killing him

Do you think that’s a helpful way of expressing yourself if you’re experiencing pain? No, in fact it’s more than likely to increase your suffering!

Have a think about the words you use to express pain. Do you ever use phrases such as “it’s unbearable”, “it’s weighing me down”,”I can’t stand this”, “I can’t cope with this”. Using such phrases on a regular basis will keep you stuck in a negative cycle of suffering and pain, attracting more of the same. Think about using more healthy and positive language. So for example, instead of saying “my back’s killing me,” how about “my back is uncomfortable – I’ve coped with it before, so I know I’ll get through it”.

Using words such as discomfort or uncomfortable, which are less emotive than “pain”, is also more constructive. The way you communicate with your friends, family and work colleagues will of course impact on how they communicate with you in return. If you communicate as a suffering victim their responses will help keep you stuck in that role – “poor you!” or “how terrible!” etc. But if you communicate using healthy, progressive language their response is more likely to be positive and encouraging.

Also be aware of language you use generally that uses body parts as descriptors, for example “he’s a pain in the neck/butt” or “that’s such a headache”. Using such language may well exacerbate existing symptoms.

The alternative

Rather than dwelling on negativity, aim to focus your awareness on the positive aspects of your life – the more you become aware of, the more you’ll find to be grateful for – like attracts like. When I’m experiencing pain I do a body scan – noticing all the parts of my body that are comfortable, and reinforcing that, i.e. “my hands, stomach, feet etc. are comfortable.” I’ll do this lying down or sitting, or even while out walking. It helps to reinforce all those parts of me that are comfortable, distracting myself from pain, but also helping me to focus on the positive.

So really be aware of the language you use, where you focus your attention, and aim to be as healthy and positive as you can be. Any questions or comments I’d be happy to hear from you, just leave a message below.

I’m a hypnotherapist providing a friendly, professional service in Devon, with therapy rooms in Buckfastleigh and Axminster. I offer a free initial consultation, so please feel free to contact me.

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