Living Through Pain

Making Changes Before Great Emotional Pain

In my last post on My Life Experiment, I talked about Staying out of Default Mode Living. Today we are going to talk about emotional pain, which I feel is generally the reason we hold ourselves back from living the fullness of our lives.

After I put that article out, I got the answer to a question I didn’t even realize I was asking.

Why do individuals (including myself) continually go back into living On Default, and neglect to create more positive experiences for themselves?

That was the Question. The answer that came is that LIFE HURTS.

The Truth About Life And Emotional Pain.

The unfortunate truth about life is whether we show up and attempt new things or not, there will be emotional pain. That and LIFE doesn’t really give a damn if we are experiencing pain or not. It will not slow down and wait for us to catch up. If we don’t change, the pain will only intensify.

In the recovery community, I am a part of, there is a saying about pain and change.

It goes “Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.”

Well, actually I just stole Tony Robbin’s paraphrasing of the statement. But it captures the essence of an issue all beings face.

Over my last 9 years in recovery, I have experienced a great deal of success! But there have been many occasions where I have had to experience great stress and worry before making a new change.

Don’t get me wrong I am not a using addict anymore and that type of pain was pure torture style suffering. Even though I do suffer at times these days, the type of suffering pales in comparison to what it once was.

The emotional pain is still pain though and says something needs to happen. It is my bodies way of signaling that I need to make a move.

Stress and Pain as a Sign for a Problem.

When my hand touches a hot stove top, the pain receptors in my brain tell me that I need to move my damn hand. The same goes for when I am caught in a situation where I need to make a decision to move into a new direction! When I procrastinate on changing, stress builds.

Stress is pain. It is the equivalent to the burning sensation from the stove. Throughout a great deal of my life, unfortunately, I have been a glutton for punishment, unable to “take my hand off of the hot stove.” Even though my flesh was searing.

For many years I came to believe that the intense stress I felt, was just the way I was. So I accepted it, and then tried to numb it out with chemicals, living inside a fantasy in my own head, and many other fruitless activities.

But then the stress was even greater than my ability to numb it out. At 26 years old, my Liver, my Pancreas, my Kidneys, my Nervous System were all ready to give up on me.

For me, there was nowhere else to go. I had a dilemma.

  1. Keep using, and probably kill myself.
  2. Quit using and enter into a world that freaked me out almost as much as the idea of death did.

I took the latter option and entered recovery.

This is only my bottom and it was extreme. I realize that most people (whether an addict or not) do not have to go to this extreme to change. And I am immensely grateful that I no longer do either!

Change Before Great Emotional Pain.

We do not have to wait until the pain of staying the same is more painful than that of changing.

Great amounts of pain DO NOT need to build for us to enact substantial changes in our own lives.

Like I said above. “Our bodies tell us when something needs to change.” For all those years, I had no intellectual clue that stress meant I needed to make a change. Thankfully I know this now.

I would say that these days I deal with the kind of stress that your average human being does. I feel it coming, usually procrastinate some, and generally take care of things before things get too crazy inside of my head. And before the stress builds to the “pulling my hair out stage.”

I am an individual that is susceptible to high anxiety fairly easily. This means that the level of self-care I need to have in my life needs to be on point.

That or my stress reaches a point where I find myself wondering if I need to be on anxiety medication once again. There is nothing wrong with medication, but I try to look through all my other self-care options before I move in the medication direction.

self care for pain

The options that I look to reduce my stress and pain are as follows:

  1. Take time to listen to my body.
  2. Make Decisions promptly when they come up.
  3. Find some relaxation.
  4. Meditate.
  5. Talk to others.
  6. Maintain a Therapeutic Writing process.
  7. Stay physically active.
  8. Have some fun.
  9. Put the phone down for a while and breathe.
  10. Maintain a Healthy Diet.

A Life With Manageable Stress Levels.

What these self-care options do is help me to keep my stress at a manageable level. With my stress at a manageable level, life does not hurt quite as much as it could. And when I am not in so much emotional pain, it is so much easier to step up and take on the next amazing opportunity. Though I also realize that emotional pain is also the reason why I wouldn’t want to do everything on my list that would help reduce my stress. Self-care can be hard to want to do as well sometimes. But that may be for another article…

No matter what, I need to act. I just need to just toughen up and do what I need to do knowing that if I don’t, more unnecessary pain awaits. I have chosen to live. And if I am going to live, even though i know pain is inevitable, I would rather not suffer.

This is the message I want to leave you with today. I hope you choose to live today, to step up and keep moving through the pain. Because in my strong opinion, it is entirely worth it. Don’t give up. When the hard work gets put in, the beautiful rewards may be just around the corner. It would be a shame for anyone to give up just before “the miracle” of positive change happens.

Well, that is all we have for today and thank you so much for stopping into My Life Experiment. What is written here has come from struggle and growth.
We truly believe that if you take today’s lessons to heart and apply them, that you will greatly benefit.

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My Life Experiment

Hey everybody this is Travis and Casey Hagen! We write and maintain My Life Experiment. We met in recovery from addiction, got married in recovery. We are now building our own family in recovery with our first child on the way! That we both ended up in recovery shows that we spent periods of our lives experimenting dangerously. But we survived and have found new ways to live. We have also found healthier methods for life experimentation! In this blog we let you into our individual lives as we navigate our own recoveries, our own mental health issues, our own pain, and our own successes. So yes, maybe each of us did go through many hardships because of unhealthy experimentation, but that doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with experimenting with new ways of doing things! It also doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with trying to get to the bottom of how things work. Because, we believe there is something inside both of our natures that enjoys experimenting with life, self examination and finding new ways to succeed! In this blog we will let you into our own individual lives, with our own individual perspectives. We will offer up personal development tips in various areas of our lives such as Mental Health Management, Developing Healthy Relationships, Family Life, and Time and Money Management! So, welcome to the ups and downs, enjoyment and pain of My Life Experiment! Follow us on Facebook-

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