Benefits of pain, with exercise?
They are specialized cells in the brain.
They are associated with our human values; things that are important to us.
Imagine for a moment you are a child and come down with a cold, a stuffy, snotty nose and a congested chest.
Now some would say “ahhh, you’re not feeling well.” – Let me grab you a blanket, you can stay home from school, I’ll grab you special soup, you stay warm, you rest, you relax, and take it easy. Here’s a movie, you just lay there and rest and watch some T.V. while the rest of the world goes to school.
Now understand, that your glial cells in the brain are recording these benefits. Who doesn’t like special attention, being cared for extra sweet, feeling a little more love? Who doesn’t like moments of more peace and quiet, watching T.V. while the rest of the world goes to school… But of course.
Now listen to the similarity with pain. “ahhh, pain, that’s no fun.”- Let me grab you some ice or run a bath, you just lay on the couch and relax, I’ll grab you a little snack, you put your feet up, take it easy. Do you want a movie on? Just take the day off work tomorrow.
The cold and congestion are real. The pain is real. AND….they both come with benefits.
When I had a disc injury years ago, I gave myself permission to rest, put my feet up, ask my wife to wait on me, allowed myself to go to bed early, duck out on some responsibilities…”pain with benefits’
So if you or someone you know is in chronic pain, part of the healing process requires that we identify what the benefits are to pain, otherwise people stay blind to the fact that they are actually getting something out of it, and stay resentful toward what is happening.
I have sat with people and we have listed anywhere between 25-65 benefits to the pain. I had a young teenager do this exercise with me and we came up with 23 benefits.
Why is this important? Because any area of pain in your life is simultaneously providing you benefits. It’s allowing you to behave in a way that fulfills some aspect of what you are needing. Maybe more self care, better connection with a family member, giving you permission to speak your truth, who knows..that’s for each person to discover.
The goal with this?
“anything you can’t be grateful for is baggage.”- Dr. John Demartini.
The goal is gratitude…it’s the best healer on the planet, and anything we can’t be thankful for is baggage. When our heart is open, we heal.
So the benefits exercise is a way for you to understand and see the value in what you are experiencing, open your heart, be grateful and say thank you, which begins to dissolve the armouring of tension, resentment and frustration.
Here’s the exercise:
1. Write out the benefits until you are grateful.