Psychotherapist in Atlanta Decatur
Healing, Growth and Integration
Exploring Internal Stress may Ease Chronic Pain
Your hidden anxiety may be making your condition worse.
Hidden stress makes pain worse
Migraines, back pain, TMJ pain, Irritable Bowel Syndrome: These are chronic afflictions with elusive physical roots.
You know when you have symptoms. Sometimes your body hurts. Sometimes your head hurts. Sometimes your stomach feels bad. Whatever the physical medical causes of your condition are, hidden stress and anxiety can make your discomfort worse. Mixed, tense emotions fighting each other internally even when you’re not aware of them, can influence your body to add a layer of discomfort to your condition. You’re not directly aware of the process, but you feel the result as pain.
If you suffer from these conditions, you may be able to reduce your overall discomfort and improve your quality of life by learning to help your body better process hidden emotional tensions. Emotionally based tensions may be triggered by unconscious anxiety processes you are not normally aware of. Those processes may be a layer or two deeper than the place that dreams come from.
Relaxation techniques, including mild hypnotherapy, can often reduce emotionally based tensions in your body. Reduced tension can ease immediate symptoms and may also help to manage remaining background pain. These techniques can be learned, and many people practice them daily.
Look for relief inside
From that point of view, you might let yourself imagine that by exploring your own interior space, you may learn to have a closer partnership with your body. You might establish better relationships with your body processes. Let yourself imagine the proposition that your unconscious mind might learn to be on better terms with those deep processes. Let yourself imagine that your unconscious mind could help those processes work in your favor, could help them give the body gently soothing messages. Imagine that you may be able to influence those processes connected to your distress in a new way, in a positive way. It might be possible for better relationships to result in changes you will like.
So here is an exercise: After taking some calming breaths you might let yourself imagine that you’re in a comfortable room, a room that you like, a room where you are in charge of what happens. And you might let yourself imagine that you can invite those processes into that room.
So imagine inviting them in. Remember, you are in charge here. Invite them in and then pause to see what happens. Whatever your experience is, let yourself be peaceful with it. These are your guests.
What do your guests feel? Are they anxious, angry, fearful? Acknowledge their feelings. What are they afraid of? What would soothe them? Let yourself imagine delivering messages of comfort and safety. Use some experience of your own peace as a source for those messages. You are safe now. It is safe to feel what you feel.
Just let yourself imagine reaching down into the realm of those processes to soothe and comfort them. Let those messages of emotional relaxation carry all the way down. Let yourself imagine the nerve centers that help regulate those processes passing on your messages of safety and peace.
Imagine letting yourself appreciate that it is now safe to notice old, deep, feelings. Imagine that it is safe to notice old feelings that may make you want to tighten your jaw or any other part of your body. Imagine those feelings becoming open for expression, free to be acknowledged and spoken, and that speaking is safe. You are growing stronger than you were then, and it is safe to feel what you feel.
It’s safe to relax now
You can notice that it’s now safe to relax the little muscles that store those old feelings throughout your body. The old protective reactions that produce unnecessary tension can fade away. Your unconscious mind can remember to relax those tensions even while you are sleeping. There may be fewer triggers for the discomfort, and you may be growing stronger in being more powerful than the triggers. And it can continue to get better.
Perhaps you can imagine encouraging your body to tell you sooner when you are stressed or uncomfortable in a way that triggers something. So the next time something comes up that might have been a trigger, your unconscious processes can work with your body to help you notice that message directly, so you can consciously acknowledge it. As you continue to grow stronger, you may find that you are more able to accept those messages directly and know better what to do with them. You may find that as you receive those messages directly, your body will produce fewer symptoms. And you can learn to remember that.
Do it yourself or get some help
With a little patience, you can learn to do a good deal of this soothing by yourself. And, some of the deeper levels may require some help from someone who can guide you in the learning. A gentle hypnotherapy routine, or simply suggestions pointed in the right direction, may be useful. With a little help, you may be able to learn to give yourself some continuing relief from discomfort. If that sounds interesting, contact me.