Know that “this too shall pass.”
Sounds simple doesn’t it, but when I am in the middle of a bad flare, this is a hard mantra to remember. You would think that after a lifetime of chronic pain, I would remember this and stay calm, but it isn’t that easy. The first day of a painful flare, it’s annoying to go lay down multiple times during the day. Then by the third or fourth day of being unable to do basic tasks, I go into catastrophizing. My mind starts flashing scary questions like flash cards that carry me right into anxiety and worry: like, will I ever be able to leave the house again?, how will I cook for myself?, and then, anxiety bubbles over to panic, will I ever be able to do laundry or shop again, will I be able to drive again? And they don’t stop there unless I stop them myself.
I have found mantras useful to help me get out of a “mind flare” when I cannot remember that “this too shall pass.” I have post-it notes everywhere, and I mean everywhere, to remind me of the simple thought, this too shall pass and other mantras that motivate me to be positive about my situation. Because after all these years, I still forget this principal thought.
I do not mean that the pain will pass and I will be all better. I am only implying that peace will come back, and I will be able to smile and actually feel the joy again amid chronic pain. I will not experience a medical breakthrough, but a mental breakthrough and mantras help this process.
Mantras are a sentence or a group of words that bring you back to the reality you want to have in your life in the middle of struggles. You can use mantras in any way that works for you. Speak them aloud or in your head. Write them down or memorize them. Find a sentence, scripture, or a small grouping of words that inspire you to think more positively, and do it BEFORE you have an intense flare. If you have a mantra memorized or on your fridge so that you see it during a flare; the words can bring you back to a healthier mental state. We know through research that being in a tense mental state increases physical pain. If you can reframe the negative situation in a positive light, it can help ease the pain flare from becoming worse.
For me, it doesn’t always work; I will admit. Sometimes, I see a mantra that I thought might bring me back to lighter thoughts, but when I read it, “yea, right!” comes out of my mouth, and it does nothing for me. It is difficult to pull myself out of this funk, but I just keep repeating them until I believe it. Eventually, you will feel it.
My most favorite mantra is
“I will breathe.
I will think of solutions.
I will not let worry control me.
I will not let my stress level break me.
I will simply breathe.
And it will be okay.
Because I don’t quit.”
-Shayne McClendon (this is who it is attributed to on the internet. If anyone knows different, please let me know. I want to give the right person credit.)
Yesterday, I found my first list of mantras, dated in the fall of 2016, that I utilized to change my mind-set, and rereading them made me smile at how far I have come. I remember how hard I struggled at changing my thoughts. It was so hard but, I kept reading them every morning while I brushed my teeth and eventually a few of them stuck. After awhile, I realized my mind was stronger than I thought.
You don’t own all the problems of the world.
Creating a mind shift in our thoughts from negative to positive helps us to get unstuck. When I’m in a flare, I feel like I have lost all control, but mantras bring me back to the reality of the situation that I do have control over my mind if not my body. When the mind is a well-tuned instrument, a person can face all the difficult circumstances that living with chronic pain brings.
It is all about how we view things that affect us in our lives. The positive thoughts help me keep perspective of my situation, and that is something we all need in our lives.
Much Love & Many Prayers,