Resistance: the Opposite of Flow
Wouldn’t it be nice if everything in our lives could just flow? Have you ever considered resistance as the opposite of flow? Resistance can become its own separate source of pain, compounding the problems of people facing chronic pain and fatigue. Just a few examples of resistance include denial, excessive shopping, over-thinking, dissociating, and many more. These are the distractions we use to resist our feelings of pain. It’s natural to not want to feel pain. Our body is neurologically wired to avoid physical pain. Just try touching a burning hot surface and you will see what I mean. Before you’re able to think about pulling your hand away, your neurological system has already done it for you. But what about emotional pain?
Those behaviors like denial, shopping, over-thinking, dissociating, sleeping too much, working too much, are avoidance mechanisms that become neurologically wired pain-resistance mechanisms. If you doubt that, and you habitually do something to avoid emotional pain, just try to stop doing your avoidance behavior when you’re triggered. It’s not that simple, is it?
Take a moment now to breathe deeply and thank your neurological system for protecting you from the things that cause you pain. Those behaviors are covering up the real source of your pain, making it difficult to resolve them. Only after resolving your pain can you let it go and feel freedom in your life. Fear, anxiety, and depression can lead us into a downward negative spiral that includes sleep disorders, fatigue, and chronic health conditions. So how do you break the cycle?
Your Assignment: Write it Down
First, you must face your pain. What are you using to distract yourself from emotional pain? This is an answer only you can find because it is held deep within yourself. Write it down. Ask yourself why you do these things. Is it because you have a fear of something that happened in your past, and you don’t want it to happen again? Whatever it is, take time to contemplate it fully. What would you have to do to make yourself feel reassured that the source of your pain will never reach you again? Write down the action steps you need to take to eliminate your source of pain. What would your life look like without this pain and without your resistance behaviors?
Now that you can visualize your life without pain, you are visualizing freedom to be who you are. This is flow. No resistance. No distractions. No fear of the source of pain because you’ve resolved it, and now there’s no need for the distraction behaviors. That frees up your time and energy so that you can focus on the things you decide to do with your life. This is freedom.
You Can Rewire Your Response to Pain
This is a very simplified exercise to help you see that you can rewire your neurological response to pain by becoming more self-aware. Once you have a good idea of how much work you have to do to resolve all of your sources of pain in order to find freedom in your life, you may decide to seek help from a psychotherapist. They are especially adept at helping you resolve your emotional pain so that you can focus your attention on other areas of your life.
For people with chronic pain, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue, it is important to become as emotionally healthy as possible. Finding the right medical help, sticking to an exercise regimen, eating right, getting good sleep, managing relationships, and managing finances are difficult to do when you’re carrying the additional burden of emotional pain and resistance behaviors. Those behaviors can interfere with your healing by sucking your energy and leaving you even more exhausted and more in pain. You need every ounce of energy that’s in you to set strong boundaries with family, friends, and doctors who mean well but might not fully understand what you need. You know what you need.
By becoming aware of your source of emotional pain and the distraction behaviors you use to protect yourself from feeling pain, you can learn to fear less and need less of those distractions. In essence, you learn to remove your resistance to pain and face it head on. This is the path to freedom.
Feel Free to Work with an Expert
To find a qualified psychotherapist in your area who can help you with unresolved pain, try using www.psychologytoday.com. For an excellent online course in releasing your fears, try Tom Nuyens’ Alive Academy. I highly recommend it.