The first aspect of pain that is felt is the memory of pain. You can reduce pain memory for lasting pain relief through mindful pain management. When you experience pain you remember how much pain you had in the past and know how much it hurt before. This is true for emotional pain, as well as physical pain. Avoiding situations that have caused you pain can prevent you from trying new things or starting new relationships.
Avoiding pain is a natural reaction to surviving life. We all avoid things that we know will hurt us. That is healthy. What is not healthy is avoiding things that may have hurt us in the past because we did not have the skills or knowledge to handle them effectively. When we learn from the past rather than just react to it, we are able to advance forward in life without hanging on to the pain we have felt in the past, regardless of the circumstances.
Our first reaction to pain is that pain is bad. Pain is not all bad. It is a necessary part of our survival. It keeps us from doing damage to our bodies, and sometimes, to our minds as well. We learn very early on in life not to touch a hot stove, either from an emphatic NO! from our parents or… we had to touch that hot burner anyway and learned it really is hot! We do not spend the rest of our life cringing at the sight of a stove. We get far more good from cooking on a stove than we do from the potential harm of touching a hot burner with our bare hands.
So how do you let go of pain memory? The first step is to take a look at the pain you are experiencing. You already know if what you are feeling is the same or different from what you have felt in the past. What is that difference? Is a part of this pain from a past experience?
You don’t have to touch the stove again to remember that the stove is hot. You just don’t do it. At least not on purpose! You can learn from an experience and take that knowledge to act in a way that provides you with a better experience. You learn to cook safely without burning yourself. The more you learn about how to do something, the better able you are to prevent injury and pain, whether that is physical, emotional, or mental.
Another great example of this is learning a sport. How many people get hurt playing sports? Whether it’s twisting an ankle or experiencing the anguish of defeat through losing a game, sports provide many opportunities for learning to manage pain in healthy ways. You don’t stop playing the game because at one point or another you got hurt. When you enjoy a sport, you naturally let go of the memory of pain attached to it. The more you practice the sport, the more you learn about it, the less often you get hurt. You learn, over a period of time, how to play the sport in a way that provides you with more enjoyment and less pain.We play sports because they are fun, keep our minds and bodies fit, and provide us with companionship.
The more you learn about the pain you experience in your life, the more ways you can find to turn those experiences around to reduce the pain in your life right now. Just like learning to play a sport, the longer you practice healthy ways of managing pain, the less the memory of pain will effect your life. It takes time to learn to do that. It is worth it!
Let go of the feeling of the memory of pain. Hang on to the lessons you learned from that pain. Step forward in life with new skills for managing painful situations to live a fuller, richer, easier life.