Transforming Pain through Values

Pain in life is unavoidable.  Yet, to struggle against it is to be human.  How can we be different with our pain?  Through mindfulness and focusing on what is truly important to us.  

Russ Harris of The Happiness Trap fame makes some insightful points

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Where ACT differs from most other approaches to pain, is that we don’t try to avoid or get rid of the pain; instead, we aim to fundamentally change our relationship with it. And as we do that, the pain itself transforms; it no longer holds us back, or brings us down; it is no longer toxic or life-distorting; it loses its impact and influence over our lives.

When we look at our pain mindfully – i.e. with a genuine attitude of openness and curiosity, in much the same way that a young child might look curiously at a ladybird or a butterfly - we discover it is different to the way we initially perceived it. It’s no longer the horrible, terrible thing we thought it was. It may still be painful, and unpleasant – but it’s no longer something we need to fight with, run from, or get overwhelmed by. When we look mindfully at a painful thought, image or memory, we call that ‘defusion’. And when we look mindfully at a painful feeling or sensation, we call it ‘expansion’ or ‘acceptance’.

 

 

Posted on June 11, 2013 .