Gratitude and Pain

Gratitude when you’re in chronic pain? It might seem hard to imagine, unrealistic, or even plain ridiculous – to find reasons to be thankful when you are in pain, especially when pain is a huge part of your life.

However, strangely enough, studies have shown that the active practice of gratitude can have a profound effect on overall pain levels. We’ve known for a while that a positive outlook can significantly effect not only mental, but physical health as well. How? The power of the subconscious mind is not well known. We know that there are strong interactions between the conscious and subconscious mind and that consistent, active positive thinking can work to reprogram the brain. Some of the benefits associated with positive thinking (and gratitude in particular) are

- improved quality of sleep
- decreased sensitivity to pain
- improved pain tolerance
- and, an increase in self-esteem.

Gratitude is a positive emotion. And the easiest way to introduce positive thinking into your current outlook is to practice what’s called active gratitude. Active attitude involves specifically thinking of things for which you were grateful. Getting started is as easy as making a list. Try to remember three good things that happened in your day before going to bed at night. Or try maintaining a gratitude journal – a specific list of things for which you were grateful. Use the journal like a diary and update it on an ongoing basis.

Try one of the above activities the next time you feel that the pain is starting to take over. In the beginning, it may seem like this activity is just a way for you to take your mind off the pain, but you never know how much of an effect something as simple as that can have long term.

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Chronic pain can be a debilitating diagnosis. Patients with chronic pain often find themselves trapped in a cycle of anxiety and fear.