Recovering from the assaults of chronic pain and other addictions, whether physical, emotional, or spiritual, requires daily maintenance. How do we find the skillful means to ground ourselves and find ease in life? Here are 10 ways to ground yourself and find ease in life.
1) Put an end to shame. Shame feeds addiction and the pronounced negativity that chronic pain brings. When I ask myself, “why can’t I do this?” this is me actively engaging in shaming myself. Our internal dialogue can be even more harmful to us than if someone else shamed us. Healing from the ravages of chronic pain includes releasing shameful judgments about ourselves. When we free ourselves from shame, we discover freedom and can relax into the present moment.
2) Ask yourself what part of you needs support, understanding, and love right now. Stop and pause for a moment. Listen inwardly to that part of yourself that is crying out for relief. Ask for help from others in your support system, a friend, sponsor, teacher, coach, or therapist.
3) Do not complete a negative sentence about yourself in your mind. Move from “what’s wrong with me?’ or ‘’why can’t I do this?” to noticing your experience without judging it. Love yourself through your recovery through encouragement, forgiveness, acceptance, and compassion.
4) Cultivate kindness towards yourself and curiosity about yourself. Become a scientist and investigator.
5) Embodied practices. Spend some time each day simply doing some conscious breathwork. It will help you begin to cultivate a sense of feeling safe in your body after all the chronic pain experiences you have had.
6) Focus on building new habits. Instead of focusing on breaking old habits, focus on creating new ones. This may seem like a subtle shift in perspective, yet it is a profound and powerful shift.
7) Look compassionately within yourself honestly.
8) Release the urge to compete or compare with others and yourself. The only way to win at the comparison game is to stop playing.
9) Celebrate yourself. What you are doing is enough.
10) Stay present. One thing at a time helps to slow down, embody yourself, calm the addictive tendencies of the mind. You will find ease here and eventually peace in solitude.
The addictive thinking and behaviors we develop in chronic pain and other addictions will not necessarily disappear overnight. We have to do the work each day. It took time to build our old unhealthy habits, and so it will take time to make a new set of healthy behaviors and retrain the brain and the nervous system.
As you are doing the work, please do not despair. Instead, love yourself through this. Cultivate affection and compassion for yourself. Turn the inner critic into an inner cheerleader who celebrates what you are doing at the moment because it is enough and it’s brilliant!