Becoming Aware; What it looks like
Becoming Aware; What it Looks Like
In my last blog post, I used two analogies to explain why the pain isn’t usually where the problem is and how we need to become aware of the bigger picture in order to make change. Today I’m going to be focusing on the latter, but in the meantime, if you missed that last blog post, you can go here to check it out.
No matter what your symptoms are, how long they’ve been around or whether they stem from repetitive movements, compensations, injury, or a neurological/systemic condition, getting quiet is a good place to start.
This may be as simple as starting with breath work. Finding a breathing exercise that works for you can be a powerful tool to self-soothe and moderate pain. A lot of people don’t use their full lungs and ribcage to breath. Instead, they rely on the upper parts of the lungs and the smaller neck muscles. This results in a shallow breath which stimulates your sympathetic nervous system (also known as ‘fight or flight’).
Getting quiet can also look like meditation. Shifting your focus and lowering anxieties or stress levels can play a huge role in pain management. Plus, meditation can take many forms! It’s worth spending some time and figuring out what suits your lifestyle best.
Visualization is a great way of focusing your attention to a target area in the body as well. You can simply picture that body part being still and healthy, or you can imagine it moving in a fluid and comfortable way. This is especially useful if you’re experiencing too much pain or dysfunction in an area to actually mobilize it at first.
Most often though, and when appropriate, I like to employ gentle movement explorations. Namely, starting with one piece of the body (usually one of the largest joints) and seeing how it moves, what sensations occur, and noticing if any other body parts come along for the ride. We can then begin to ‘follow the bread crumbs’.
Ultimately, regardless of the method, the goal is to bring your awareness to what is actually going on in your body, or in the case of people with persistent pain and long term conditions, find ways to bring some comfort back to their day. It’s amazing what we have the ability to change, influence and create, and how much we can push aside and ignore, or simply not notice because of distraction. Once you know, you can carry your new found tools into your day, and that’s when real change happens.
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