Dr. Eileen Callahan, Ph.D.: Pain Relief

Relieving Pain in This Very Moment

Despite what television and movies tell us, there aren’t happy endings all the time nor can we solve our problems in a set amount of time. Life isn’t scripted that way. Pain exists and you might be in some sort of mental pain at the moment. Perhaps there is a loss in your life (could be that someone has left you life or it could be that you’ve had a change of life circumstances that feel like a loss). Or maybe you feel sad right now and you’re not sure why. There are a multitude of reasons why we feel bad at any one time. The key is knowing how to manage those emotions and knowing what to do when we realize we can’t.

  • Identify what makes you feel bad. This isn’t easy but it will help you cope with future emotions. Think about if it’s reoccurring and what is the root. That always should be where you start.

  • What has helped you cope with a bad day before? What kinds of things make you feel better? A long, hot bath? A good book? Some exercise? Laughing with a friend? Sometimes a little daydreaming can be healthy as a problem solver. Give yourself time think about what is useful.

  • What are you symbols of hope? What makes you want to get up each day? Something gets you out of bed each morning (even if it’s your kids wanting breakfast or your dog needing to go outside). What makes you feel good? It can be as basic as seeing the sun shining out the window in the morning.

  • Although many times we don’t want to connect with people because we think it’s better to be left alone, connection can take our pain away. It forces us to think about something other than what we’re enduring. Talking to someone, even about the weather or the annoying neighbor down the street, can give us focus outside of ourselves.

  • Reflection time. For some people, taking time to go into a church, other place of worship, or sitting in a place of nature like next to the ocean is good for meditation. In those moments we can let go of what bothers us and focus on the sounds and peace surrounding us.

  • Be present in the moment. Don’t think about fifteen minutes from now or tomorrow. Be present right here and now. Take a step back and focus on what is right in front of you. Often we focus too much about everything that worries us and it consumes us, making us feel bad.

  • If none of these steps relives your pain then you should seek professional help. If in this very moment you feel helpless, call a local crisis line or call 1-800-273-TALK, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. There are people waiting to help you, even if you just need someone to listen.

While we aren’t going to feel good all the time, we also don’t need to feel bad all the time either. Being able to identify our emotions and find ways to cope with them will make a world of difference when the emotions bubble to the surface and leave us feeling paralyzed.

This site cannot be used to initiate emergency contact. We cannot respond on-line to crisis situations. If you are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255 (TALK)

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