Time Is on Your Side
This brings us to our final concept in the book: time. Time is a key factor in your recovery. Though it takes only about 24 hours for an injured body to begin to atrophy, it can take months or even years to build it up again. But time shouldn’t be a negative factor. It can become a powerful healing tool, for every moment is an opportunity to heal the “pain brain” and “pain body.” Maybe only a tiny bit of healing can occur in any given moment, but over time these tiny bits add up, leading to a healthier, more viable you.
Remind yourself that every minute you spend walking, releasing pent-up emotions, quieting your mind, or doing anything else that heals the “pain brain,” propels you a little further across the bridge and toward your goal. This means that every moment is precious.
Yoga Exercise For Back Pain Relief Photo Gallery
Multiplying the Power of Time: Structure and Support
At my center, we offer a comprehensive structured program designed to help patients acquire the tools and master the skills that can relieve their pain and restore their lives. Patients engaged in this program put in a lot of time and hard work. They are with us six hours a day, five days a week, for six weeks—180 hours spent with me and my staff. Yet many wish they could spend even more time.
Our patients learn some great lessons from this intensive approach, one of the most important being how to structure their time. Just by coming to the clinic, they change the way they spend their time and what they focus on. Their time is structured: They exercise, meditate, work on art projects, and mentally/verbally process things that may make them feel uncomfortable. And they soon recognize the importance that structure plays in the therapeutic process. Many have been unable to work, or have been locked up in their rooms for extended periods of time, watching the days drift away. Building a daily/weekly schedule that includes healthy lifestyle habits and positive life experiences, and being accountable for following that schedule, is a powerful step toward success. Think of the typical high-powered CEO who needs to get a lot done in a day. She’s always on a tight schedule, zipping from one task or appointment to the next, day after day. The energy generated by one task propels her into the next one. By the end of the day, she may have accomplished more than other people do in a week. You can use this as a model for your own pain management program: Become the CEO of your own recovery.
This doesn’t mean, however, that you should just muscle through your recovery on your own without help. The patients in my program engage in all activities with other pain patients. Working with others who are fighting a similar battle, and winning that battle, is very powerful, and healing is contagious. For example, when one patient with a serious back problem starts to feel better and do more, her success instills hope and confidence in the rest of the group.
Positive social support from your peers as you work toward healing is a source of several important core values. For example, participating in a group fulfills the core value of interaction. Seeing that others are going through situations similar to yours fulfills the core value of validation.
And being encouraged and supported, while offering the same to others, fulfills the core value of love.
Don’t try to go it alone. Being with others supercharges your recovery.