Step-by-Step Checklist for Creating a Painless Lifestyle

Does Lifestyle Affect Pain?   yes

Lifestyle is a way of life or the habitual activities unique to an individual, which lend consistency to activities, behavior, attitudes, coping, motivation, and thought processes. It defines the way in which we live.

Lifestyle activities include diet, physical activity, substance abuse, social and personal interactions. There is a connection between  pain and lifestyle choices.

finnish-saunaOften medication plays an essential part in easing pain in the beginning of the Pain Processing Practice, yet lifestyle choices can be key to pain relief.

Using this as a guide, take a few moments daily to detail the day. Include food, drink, exercise, sleep—and ask how each affected your pain. Over time, a pattern will emerge with consistency. For example coffee and a sugar donut, each morning or afternoon could create more irritability and pain. Maybe instituting a short strengthening exercise at your desk could help the muscles from tensing. Or a walk at lunch keeps your lower back from hurting.

Pain is malleable. Save this blog article or start a daily journal, diary or checklist.

Keep tabs for a few weeks to learn how lifestyle choice influences pain. Remember pain changes.

Remember & Note pain levels (at least 3 times per day or night)pain scale

Compare pain with other times during the day or night and with other days

  • Nearly nonexistent
  • Tolerable
  • Annoying
  • Stressful
  • Horrible
  • Unbearable

ASK:

Any new treatments?

New habits?

New tools?

Any new symptoms, new pain, or side effects?

Note any special circumstances, such as stressors like work deadlines, illnesses, holidays or vacations.

Note any physical activity

How much did you move around, including at the workplace, doing chores, errands, basic movement, exercise and sex?

  • Inactive: limited daily activities
  • Sedentary: stayed in bed, didn’t move all day
  • Less active: moved slowly throughout the day, didn’t exercise
  • Moderately active: lots of daily activity; mild or no exercise
  • Active: lots of daily activity; exercised moderately
  • Very active, lots of daily activity; physically worked for over 2 hours or exercised vigorously for at least 20 minutes

Observe:

What time of the day was energy highest?

When active, note feelings.

Where in the day could there be more physical activity?

Remember and note quality and quantity of sleep.1-sleep

How did you sleep last night?

  • Felt like I hardly slept at all
  • Looked at the clock 4 or more times
  • Slept Fitfully
  • Went to the bathroom 3 or more times
  • Woke up regularly but got back to sleep quickly
  • Trouble falling asleep, woke up briefly
  • Woke up briefly
  • Slept straight through the night

Note:

What might have influenced the quality of sleep?

Consider routines at bedtime: medication, food, alcohol, smoking, exercise, mood and stress/anxiety, as well as pain level.

Remember and note quality and quantity of food and drink

What kinds of foods made up most of your meals today?

  • Fast food, processed food, sugar, alcohol
  • Mostly processed food, sugar & soda
  • Meat and carbohydrates
  • All whole foods (fruits, veggies, whole grains, wild-caught fish)
  • Mostly whole foods with lean meat and/or poultry
  • Some whole foods and meat, some sugar or chocolate

Observe:

How did I feel shortly after eating?

What foods seem to make me feel better and which make me feel worse?

Remember and note basic daily attitudes through understanding the basic feeling or way of thinking that underlies and affects behavior.

ASK:

What created up or down feeling this day?

Spent time around people that were energized or depleted?

Circle which describes the attitude

  • Enthusiastic
  • Optimistic
  • Pessimistic
  • Hopeful
  • Positive

What? Why? When? Who?  Very important questions to ask.

Here are just a few examples:

What are the feelings for today?
Why are feeling this way?
What happened to cause this feeling?
What to do about how I feeling?
Are the feelings related to the present, past, or even the future? (when)

Remember and note the emotions experienced and when they were (make a list – only suggestions below)new-year-resolution-02

  • Depression
  • Rage
  • Annoyance
  • Helplessness
  • Powerlessness
  • Worry
  • Anger
  • Fear
  • Anxiety
  • Courage
  • Calm
  • Relaxation
  • Contentment

What is the current state of mind?

Who can share this feeling?
Who can help?

  • Happy, Content
  • Ambivalent
  • Irritable
  • Depressed
  • Suicidal

Here are a few more questions to give some thought to….

What can be controlled and changed?

What can be done to change those things?

new-year-resolution-03And here are a few answers…

  • Relax by breathing
  • Listen to music
  • Laugh
  • Find the things in life that are enjoyable and go do them
  • Journal thoughts
  • Go for a walk in nature
  • Spend time with a friend
  • Take a bubble bath
  • Read a book
  • Accept that which can’t change in the past but change what you can,  then move on
  • Talk to nicely
  • Forgive
  • Curl up in a blanket and give in to relaxation, a break
  • Talk gently. Don’t be upset because of so many feelings.

Accept that you may not be able to control what comes into life but know you can certainly control what do about it. Life is 10% what happens and 90% the reaction to what happens.

Explore thoughts and answers. The more you can learn about what you’re feeling and why, the more you can learn to change them into more productive thoughts moving forward.

Spend time alone, yet if needed, call and see a friend. Do the things you need to do to soothe and calm yourself.

Often, when you stop thinking of a problem, a new solution comes.  But for the most part, understand that life is an uncontrollable thing.Sometimes you just need to learn how to sit back and enjoy the ride. The pain won’t last forever.

For more information –

Study Shows Mindfulness Meditation Can Lead to Back Pain Relief for Older Adults

Mind-body therapies

Low back pain, lifestyle factors and physical activity: a population based-study

Psychological Interventions and Lifestyle Modifications for Arthritis Pain Management

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