Retrain Your Brain Away from the Pain

Retrain Your Brain

Retrain Your Brain

Previously, I shared a news bite about an experimental study on treating pain with a video game. [If you missed it, click here] This is an exciting possibility because it means that truly we can find ways to redirect our nerve receptors to ignore certain pain. So .. I thought I would share this idea as a way to begin re-training our minds about our pain.

One simple thing we can do to fight pain is to work on changing our mindset. Fight against the pain by changing our attitude and our thoughts. We have to decide that we feel better and begin to speak that way.

Reminder:  I just want to say that I am a patient, not a doctor. What I am sharing comes largely from what my doctors taught me and what I have discovered in my own searching.

I am sharing to hopefully help you be informed enough to support friends with this syndrome or possibly acquire informed questions for your doctor. Please talk with your doctor or visit the Mayo Clinic website for official information, diagnosis, and treatment.

Freedom From Fibromyalgia

Leah McCullough, affectionately known as the Fibro Lady, recovered her health in a very short period of time from severe, debilitating fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, depression, IBS, PTSD, infertility, migraines, and morbid obesity. I picked up her book, Freedom From Fibromyalgia recently. Here’s what she has to say about mindset.

First, “STOP CLAIMING YOUR FIBROMYALGIA by calling it “My fibromyalgia”. You don’t want it! It is something your physical body is currently experiencing. Start saying “The fibromyalgia.” This means a lot, especially to your subconscious mind.

Second, visualize yourself being optimally well. Pick a  time of day when you feel better than the rest. Get comfortable, close your eyes, do some deep breathing to relax, and think about something joyful and sweet. Picture yourself in a beautiful place. This trains your subconscious mind to start seeing you as a well person. You may want to add prayers at this time.

This reminded me of my birthing classes and learning how to deal with the pain of childbirth.

Actually, what they were telling us to do was “Retrain Your Brain”. Get your mind to go somewhere else. Now, I know that we can sometimes be in so much pain that it seems nearly impossible for us to direct our minds to other things. For that reason, we need to catch it early and not allow our pain to get so elevated. We must fight this pain if we want our life back.

I can personally testify to how your look on life can affect how you deal with life.

Being raised on a farm, we were never really given an opportunity to complain about our aches and pains. We were expected to get busy and keep pulling our weight. This may seem a bit cruel, but it has taught me to live my life with that type of attitude.

Retrain Your Brain by Counting Our Blessings

Not long after my intense pain began in 2011, I discovered a book by  Ann Voskamp,  One Thousand GiftsWhile Ann did not have physical pain, she did have terrible bouts of depression to the point of cutting herself. In her book, she shares her story and how she began recording her blessings every day. It turned her life around.

Gratitude Can Make a Big Difference.

It worked for me as well. I found that this “Retrain Your Brain” trick really does do the trick. You can link to my testimony at my personal blog, The Farmer’s Place

Need More Proof?

If you would like some more scientific information about positive thinking, let’s see what Dr. Dan Tomasulo, psychologist and speaker has to say …

“Intentional activities – measures we deliberately engage in to bring joy into our lives – are what make the difference. Perhaps one of the best categories of these intentional activities to try, comes from a familiar phrase: count your blessings.

Acknowledging our gratitudes has long been a staple of transforming negativity… The gratitude review involves taking a few moments to look at the last 24 hours through the lens of gratitude. It has the powerful ability to reframe our memory by highlighting specific things that we are thankful for. It tends to work better if specific events are identified-so make a list and aim for a minimum of three with no upper limit. Making this gratitude list on a regular basis has been shown by research to do a few very effective things for our emotional well-being.

First, It changes how we felt about the previous day. It will make a good day feel even better and reconstructions our memory toward greater positivity of a not-so-terrific day. Secondly, it makes people feel better, more appreciative in the moment.

Finally, research shows that this one exercise can create a feeling of optimism for up to two weeks.


Find Dr. Tomasulo at Dare to Be Happy

So go ahead, retrain your brain with a gratitude list.

It could change your whole world, it did for me. Click here for some prompts to help you find your blessings


To Caregivers and Friends

Caregivers can become depressed and burned out caring for their loved one right along with their ailing family member. These things will help keep you stable as well. So why not count your blessings together each day. It could make a world of difference.

Feeling Your Pain,

Mandy Farmer


Ann Voskamp – Joy Dare

Lean McCullough – Freedom From Fibromyalgia

Dr. Dan Tomasulo – Dare to Be Happy