Stress flare-ups are a normal and inevitable part of life. And since stress can trigger symptoms like pain, symptom flare-ups are also a normal and inevitable part of life.
The good news is: We can change the way that we respond to flare-ups. And if we do so consistently, it can have a very significant impact, reducing the intensity and persistence of flare-ups.
Over time, symptom flares can go from being a pervasive and overwhelming headline of your life to a manageable and even helpful footnote that reminds you to slow down and take care of yourself when you’re dealing with the inevitable stresses in life.
👉 Here are some mindset hacks to re-configure the way you respond to flare-ups:
Don’t treat it like a personal flaw; treat it like the flu.
Don’t get mad at yourself; take care of yourself.
Don’t under-react and power through it, or pretend it’s not happening.
Don’t over-react and catastrophize or tell yourself that you’re “back at square one.”
Do take care of yourself and reassure yourself that this will pass — and that it’ll pass more expediently if you care for yourself like a loving elder would care for a child who has the flu, with warmth and kindness.
Don’t try to make it stop or go away.
Do support yourself while it passes through your system.
What we resist persists; what we support ourselves through will pass through us with greater ease and expedience.
You can also think of a flare-up as a rainstorm passing through you.
If you pretend that the rainstorm isn’t happening and you keep powering through, you’ll get drenched and sicker than you needed to.
If you try to fight against the rainstorm by sealing up your tent, the wind will destroy your tent.
But if you acknowledge that the rainstorm is happening, shelter in your tent and open a vent to let the wind pass through, you’ll get coverage without your shelter getting destroyed. And every storm runs out of rain, eventually. After the storm passes, you can dry yourself off, pick yourself up, give yourself a hug and move forward.
How do you like to take care of yourself while you’re “sheltering in your tent?” I like to lie down, slow down my breath, listen to soothing music, cuddle with my cats, watch some mindless television, take a walk if I feel up to that, take a painkiller (following recommended safety guidelines) if it persists… What are your self-care strategies to get you through a storm?
With lots of love and warmth,
➡️ If you need support with chronic pain and anxiety, take my FREE QUIZ called “Why the *bleep* am I still in pain?!” so I can help you get some clarity.