Chronic pain and survival states are often coupled in the physiology.

Chronic pain may not be something that we can easily shift but we can support the nervous system to relax out of survival and fear based thinking.  Once the nervous system settles all that vital energy can go towards nourishing the body..

The brain and nervous systems react to prolonged pain by going into a fight-flight-freeze response.  It’s a survival response.  This happens in the most primitive and least rational part of the brain.  The flight-fight-freeze survival response pulls resources away from the body that are needed for healing when the body is sick or in pain.

We can’t simply talk ourselves out of a survival response but there are practices that can help the nervous system come out of survival and back into regulation.

The first thing is to pause and notice how the nervous system may be in a survival response. Don’t judge or put pressure on yourself.  Self-judgement and internal pressure come from not understanding what is really going on in your physiology.  Go slow.  Be kind to yourself.  Some of the signs of activation in the nervous systems are fear, anxiety, resentment, worry, hopelessness, anger and negative and compulsive thinking.

And now gently bring your attention to the space around you.  What do you see?  What do you hear?  Speak them out loud if it helps.  Take your time.  Notice the weight of your body on the seat and your feet in contact with the floor.  Notice the temperature.  Is it warm or cold?  You might feel an impulse to put your hand on your heart or hold yourself in a gentle hug. I like to whisper sweet words of reassurance to my body when I’m anxious or in physical pain:  “I’ve got you”. 

The mind has a strong habit of fixating on what’s wrong which generates more discomfort in the body.  It often becomes a compulsive looping in the mind and body when there is chronic pain.  Pain in the body generates negative thinking and negative thinking generates pain in the body.  In order to shift this pattern we need to bring our attention to something that is either neutral or even enjoyable. 

Repeat this simple practice many times during the day.  Simply pause.  Notice.  Look.  Listen. Tend to yourself with loving compassion.

“Just for a moment, let yourself just be here. Let yourself stop becoming more, or better, or different.” ~ Adyashanti

Continue to tend to the body in the ways you know how to care for yourself.  Seek medical support if you need it.  Call in your angels, guides and the loving support of nature and animals.  Find a balance of rest and movement.  Let go of all pressure and self judgement.  Be gentle with yourself always. 

If you are interested in learning more about these neurosensory practices to support a healthy nervous system you are welcome to check out my events page for upcoming courses. 

All of Candace’s services are Trauma, PTSD, Complex Grief, Chronic Illness and Benzo withdrawal symptom sensitive.

Candace Kirby, Counsellor

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