Difficult thoughts and feelings are an understandable and normal reaction to pain.
Your body reacts to the way you think, act and feel, and low mood and anxiety can make the pain system more sensitive. They can make pain worse or make it harder to cope with the pain you have.
The following section briefly explains the relationship between pain and an individual’s thoughts, feelings, beliefs and emotions, as well as some practical advice on how you can help yourself.
The biopsychosocial model of health, illustrated below, is a holistic approach to managing health. The model acknowledges that mind and body interact and can play equal parts in influencing health, both positively and negatively.
Stress is an example of a biopsychosocial condition, and as such can impact on both your physical and mental health.
Tips for dealing with thoughts and feelings
People who find ways to manage their thoughts and feelings often feel more confident in managing their pain, feel less down and find that their pain gets in the way of life less.
Here are some ideas for dealing with your thoughts and feelings.
- Make time to do things you enjoy - Often people prioritise things they think should be done. This can lead to giving up things they do for pleasure. Allowing time for things that help you feel good is really important.
- Talk to people you are close to - Good support from family and friends is very important.
- Reconnect with people - If your friendships have dwindled, consider joining a group or taking a course to meet people.
- Get informed - Make a list of your questions and worries and discuss them with your GP, physiotherapist or other healthcare professional. Sometimes having information can help reduce worries.
- Be kind to yourself - Step back and think what you might say to a good friend or family member in your situation. Make a note of those responses to remind yourself when you are struggling.
- Get active - Exercise can help boost your mood. Choose something you enjoy.
- Step back from your thoughts - Mindfulness has been shown to help in dealing with difficult thoughts.
Disclaimer: The content on this page is provided for general information purposes only and is not meant to replace a physiotherapy or medical consultation.
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