Sunday, June 28, 2015

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Positivity versus Chronic Pain

By Jennifer Morse, MS PhD

With the increase of auto immune disorders and degenerative disease many people are wondering when faced with chronic and debilitating pain what are the psychological and emotional skills that engender increased functionality, buffer stress and reduce the suffering associated with chronic pain?

From Positive Psychology we know that savoring what’s right and already working well in the individual’s life reduces stress and reduces the perception of physical pain. Additionally Positive Psychology teaches that discovering and engaging personal strengths shifts the focus away from pain and toward the aspects of life that are rewarding and enriching. Savoring the positive and engaging personal strengths diminishes suffering.

To further reduce the effects of chronic pain educating patients to distinguish the difference between clean pain and dirty pain is another technique designed to reduce suffering. Dirty pain lives in our irrational beliefs increasing muscular tension and corresponding suffering. Successfully confronting clusters of negative thoughts surrounding the experience of chronic pain is liberating. This freedom reduces feelings of being entrapped within the confines of chronic pain.

To further reduce the effects of chronic pain let’s learn to teach the patient the dynamics of building a body compass. The body compass is a system of rating tasks and their positive or detrimental effects on well being. 

In conjunction we teach the application of the 3 B’s: Bag it, barter it, or buffer it. Heightened awareness of the detrimental effects of specific tasks and the application of the 3 B’s fosters the power of personal choice while reducing associated emotional pain and physical tensions.

Incorporating guided visualizations, the power of intentional resting and action plans designed to calm and soothe all combine to reduce the suffering associated with chronic pain and encourage us to volitionally orchestrate well being. 

Jennifer Morse, M.S. PhD is trained as a marriage and family therapist. She has spent the last 30 years dovetailing degenerative chronic pain with her journey to wholeness and wisdom.  

                                                               Coming August 2015

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