Hey everyone! Sorry for the delay on this. I've been kind of out of it for the last week.
I have been having off and on earaches for about a year. Every time I go in, they say I have some sinus inflammation and send me home to take nose sprays and decongestants. I hate being on medications!! When you have a chronic illness like Lyme, it feels like there is always some issue flaring up with no easy fix.
After moving back East, my allergies have been terrible. And again my ear and sinus pressure got worse. I've been using CBD oil for the pain, but I had to admit that I needed more help after a few days.
The first Dr. wanted me to go in for a CT scan. The ENT said more meds. But it looks like it was a combination of sinus and tooth pressure.
Last week it was so much pain that I couldn't even think anymore. The pain was like a hot poker into my brain. I struggled to write. I struggled to even talk.
This morning I had an emergency tooth extraction. So the pressure was so intense, that it pushed my tooth down and turned it. Then that tooth cracked and exposed the nerves.
Why am I adding all of this to Mindful Monday?
After being rushed from my dentist's office over to an oral surgeon I was pretty scared. My anxiety was so high and all I could think about was the pain I was having and the pain that I was about to go through.
I centered on the pain. The more I thought about the pain, the more it became a problem.
Sitting in the chair I had to force myself to start bringing myself into a meditation of relief. It was hard not to fight it.
How does meditation help with pain relief?
Meditation teaches us to breathe. We need mindful breathing to help calm our fears and anxiety. This breathing is also helpful for pain relief.
Being mindful of pain changes your relationship with physical pain. When you change the relationship of pain from something to be feared and a problem to something that you can work through and hopefully solve. Your thoughts about pain change.
Pain and Mindfulness
Mindfulness asks us to take a deeper look at each moment. If you are in pain right now, you need to stop and take a deep breath, giving the mind a refresh of fresh oxygen.
Pain is mental as well as physical. You can help your pain by changing the way you mentally feel.
It is difficult to master this skill. It takes a lot of practice and work.
Using focal points or a mental image of something that helps you focus, allow your mind to move away from making the pain the center of all of your thoughts.
I have a “Mind Cottage” that I like to go to when I'm in pain or just stressed. It's my safe place, and as I move through the rooms of my cottage I like to look at everything in detail. From the dark gray hardwood floors to the pure white walls, I move through the rooms and away from my discomfort.
When you have these touch points in your mind, you can slip in and out of this state easily. But when you are in severe pain, it's hard to let go. I know.
Be Present for the feelings
When you are in pain, the mind wants to reject this moment. Be present in those thoughts. No judgments of the fear, the anxiety, or the thoughts.
Today I needed to set the intention that I needed to move through the steps, one by one, to feeling better and improving my overall health.
As they began the extraction, there was a moment when I was so afraid of the pain that I wanted to get up and run away. Through mindfulness, I knew I had to address this thought and honor what I was going through. I started thinking about my breathing, about that fear that I was in about the pain and how it was fear of the unknown and not the actual pain.
It's okay to mentally escape the pain when you need to.
I went to my “Mind Cottage” as I focused on trying to relieve my fear and I didn't notice that they were talking to me gently. Counting down from 10.
I was relaxing with this countdown. However, each of those numbers was a quick step by my oral surgeon. I thought 1 would be the pain and the nightmare… what I didn't know was that he had already done what he needed to do at 8. The rest of the count down was removing and packing the area. It was done!
1… And he gently patted my shoulder and told me that I had done a great job and it was over.
When I opened my eyes, the fear of the pain relieved. Somehow I had let go long enough to get through the procedure and before I knew it, the pain was gone.
How is your mindfulness practice going?
Are you practicing even when you're uncomfortable? This is the most beautiful time to appreciate the contrast. The contrast between feeling good and feeling bad is such a powerful moment. You need to feel the change in order to appreciate it.
Hopefully, you aren't in pain today.
But if you are, take your time out today and go through your breathing practice, and then think about your relationship with pain. Is it fear that weighs on you? Is it the nagging endless feeling? Start to break down what you are thinking in relation to the pain.