– The Empowered Self Healing Series –
Introduction to the Principles of the Pain Processing Practice (P3)
After decades of investigation, the Pain Processing Practice Principles emerged.
Most chronic pain sufferers are taught to take a pill, not complain and be compliant. Those actions only lead to more chronic pain. Instead Empowered Self Healing is just that, you can be empowered to take charge of your health and healing. Just taking a pill allows you to continue a life of unconsciousness. Alternatively the Principles of the Pain Processing Practice (P3) train you to become conscious of your mind and body and how they interact. New choices are created. A new foundation of living is made. You become you with a unique Standard Operating Procedure (SOP).
The first principle is Noticing and Observing.
You need to be conscious of what is happening in your mind and body in real-time. Separating the physical sensations of pain from your emotions takes noticing. Chronic pain can seem endless and frightening. But with P3 you will learn pain is malleable, not endless and certainly not something to make you afraid. Both physical and emotional pain can be effectively managed by looking directly at what is actually happening, without rejecting, clinging to, ignoring, or elaborating. This perspective allows you to notice the true nature of pain: transitory, mutable, and impermanent. The other part of this is observing what is around you that is concurrent with and preceding the pain signal and emotions: location, activities, others present, etc as well as your inner dialogue. This Principle is about the “What” and “Where” of pain.
The second Principle is Recognizing Triggers and Patterns.
Once you have noticed and observed what is going on around you, you need to analyze this information. You will see that pain is not solid and ceaseless, and it has no story—despite your attempts to give it one. The emotions you attach to pain and the meaning you give to your pain makes all the difference. For example, if the story that is believed is “I am fragile and can’t work!” or “I have the spine of a 90-year-old at 30 because of sports!” then a life filled with pain is the only story possible. That creates a feeling of helplessness which in turn leads to particular thoughts of what you cannot do. These thoughts and patterns of behavior compound leading to depression, poor sleep and fatigue just to name a few. In Recognizing Triggers and Patterns the beliefs and stories of our chronic pain suffering are made conscious. This Principle is about the “How” and “Why” of pain.
The third Principle is Learning to Exit the Pain Cycle.
This begins with realizing that you have the ability to make a decision – to choose. This becomes possible with the consciousness that comes from Noticing and Observing, and Recognizing Triggers and Patterns. You have to create new choices in life by deciding what pattern or trigger you want to avoid. What do you want to have more of in your life? To end your pain you have to make a decision to end it. Pain is not forever. It appears and then dissolves over time. It takes an open mind to perceive the situation clearly and accurately. It takes patience to sit and observe without altering, judging, or making assumptions. Once you decide, there are a few first steps you can take to calm and soothe, and begin a different path.
P3 empowers each person to reframe their pain with a particular set of questions and understandings. This framing and these questions will change over time and gives you the keys to change from suffering to understanding that pain is a healthy signal of what needs to be attended to in your body. The Principles will guide what needs to be noticed, analyzed, and solved. You will know what needs to be done to transform your present actions, and in doing so, change your patterns and exit the pain cycle.
Applying the Pain Processing Principles begins to essentially retrain your brain. This retraining takes time, but it’s all about bringing to your consciousness the signals, emotions, thoughts and behaviors surrounding the pain sensation, and recognizing how they sequence and interact and why.
In deciding to take a different course that starts with calming and soothing, your brain will take a new set of pain-exiting patterns, and make them unconscious again – make them a “habit”, your own “Standard Operating Procedure (SOP).”
Your own SOP allows you to have a procedure for each situation, to build your resilience so you are ready for whatever situation might arise. Your SOP is built by learning to determine what actually works to lessen pain and which changes don’t. You learn to increase what works to achieve a specific goal, like letting go of a pain trigger.
Monitoring your body and emotional responses is always key, because when you can notice your own body beginning to produce your own natural painkillers, your pain-free life begins. Often your chemical-hormonal system is just starting up again. With better control of your biochemical reactions, you are ready to adjust to an always changing outside environment. You are training your consciousness in real-time. With attaining the small goal of achieving even a minute without the overwhelming thought of pain, and then an hour, and then a day, you will build up to ending chronic pain altogether.
Remember that you are never alone in your pain: any pain or suffering you experience has been felt by others. There is no one on this planet without pain unless they have a life-threatening condition, but I would posit even those with Congenital Insensitivity to Pain with Anhidrosis (CIPA) have experienced emotional pain if not physical pain. Everyone deserves compassion.
Through Noticing and Observing, Recognizing Triggers and Patterns, and Learning to Exit the Pain Cycle, you can build a Standard Operating Procedure and practice a chronic pain-free life.
We can live knowing humans are all connected; we are all in this together, so when you feel better everyone around you will feel better. Self healing is community healing.
“Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional.” – Buddhist proverb