E - ESTABLISH YOUR PERSPECTIVE

 

This step represents another cornerstone of the RECLAIM Program.

How you look at everything in your life is a matter of your own choosing. You may choose to be positive or negative. You may believe in yourself or not. You might decide your body can heal or that you’re doomed to live out your life in pain.

The power of the mind is phenomenal. When you take an active role in using your mind as a resource for healing, amazing things can happen. Even if you don’t fully heal, you can use your mind to build your ability to cope with your life in whatever state it is in.

This step of the RECLAIM Program teaches you how to use your mind as your best ally on your road to recovery. Check out the FAQs below to get you started.

 

IS MY PERSPECTIVE IMPORTANT TO PAIN MANAGEMENT?

Yes! You can’t do much about what happens in the world around you. You can’t just make pain go away. You don’t have control over what others say and do. But you have complete say over how you think and act in any and every situation.

You are in charge of how you move through your life experiences. No one else can tell you how to think or act. In any situation, your perspective is your choice.

If you take 20 people, and have them all witness the same event, you will end up with 20 versions of that event because there are as many versions of an event as there are people interpreting.

This means that the version of an event or experience that you choose at any given moment does not have to be the one you keep forever. If one person can have a different viewpoint, why can't you?

So what does that have to do with pain management? A lot! Here’s an example.

You wake up in the morning with intense back pain. Just like every morning. Here are two different ways you could think and act in this situation.

Response 1, you say “Oh no! Here we go again! I can’t take another day of this! When will this end! I don’t want to face the day feeling this way. I’m going to have to cancel my lunch date because I couldn’t possibly sit through lunch.”

Response 2, you say “Okay, so pain is with me this morning. I wonder if I stretch before I get out of bed whether I’ll feel even a tiny bit better. I know I can handle this because I’m working on getting better at coping every day. I’m going to keep my lunch plans because I don’t know yet how I’m going to feel at lunch time. I can always get up a few times during lunch if I need to.”

The situation is the same in both cases. But I’m sure you can see how you would feel differently depending on whether you had response 1 or 2.

Do you need to change the way you look at pain in your life?

 

IF I'M HAVING A BAD DAY, AND I'M HAVING TROUBLE STAYING POSITIVE, WHAT ARE THINGS I CAN DO TO HELP?

First of all, be gentle with yourself. No one is positive all the time. Be proud of the fact that you are noticing this and that you are willing to do something about it.

Here are a few things to try. I believe the list of ideas is limitless, so this is just to get you started. Use the ideas that work best for you and create your own!

1. Pick moments during the day – like right now – to notice what you are focussing on. Is it your pain? Worries about your future? The things you can’t do? Then just for that one moment in your day, come up with a positive thought. For instance, think about something you can do, or counter the negative thought with a general positive thought, such as “It’s a beautiful, sunny day.”

2. Sit upright, shoulders back, a big smile on your face, and say a loud "Yes!" as you punch the air with your fist. You can do this several times in a row or try it with a friend.

3. Start a gratitude journal. Come up with things on a daily basis that you a grateful for in your life. Then take this a step further and allow yourself to feel this gratitude. Feel it warming your heart.

4. Compare yourself to those worse off. Depending on your situation, that might mean imagining those in a wheelchair, or someone with a missing limb, or people who live in a third world country who don’t have enough to eat, or countries where being sick or injured means losing your job and having no medical care. Then look at your situation again and see if maybe it’s not so bad after all.