As I mentioned last year, September is National Pain Awareness Month. There are many pain related web sites out there, and they all have their own ways of saying it, but basically the purpose of this month is to increase public awareness of the issues that pain sufferers face and to help advocate for new/better/effective treatments for those in pain. If you're interested in the history of this month, you can find it here on the American Chronic Pain Association's web site.
I've talked from time to time about some of the issues that my chronic pain has caused. (But I haven't even come close to covering all of them. They are varied, and they are many.) I always try not to spend too much energy focusing on the negative issues, but sometimes things do need to be shared - particularly when it could help someone else out there that might be suffering in similar ways.
So I decided that my efforts this month will focus on not just the issues that we face, but also on some of the many resources out there that can help us deal with them. And, because the more information we share the better it is for all of us, I ask you to please share any of your own helpful resources that you have found when dealing with these or similar issues.
Today's issue: stress and the need for relaxation. This is a big one for people in pain. Not only does pain cause stress, but stress also increases pain. So it is very easy to get into a vicious pain/stress cycle that just keeps feeding on itself and dragging you down.
Because of this cycle, chronic pain sufferers are always on the lookout for ways to relax and release tension. One of my favorite techniques over the years has been guided meditation. It helps me focus my energy, and I almost always come away feeling less stress and (at least a little) less pain.
If you want to give it a try, the good people at the American Chronic Pain Association offer a five and a half minute Relaxation Guide that you can find here. It's quick, and easy, and you can do it right now while you're sitting at your computer. (And if you love it, you can also find the longer audio version in their store.)
Of course there are many other guided meditation videos and CDs out there. Some you might like, and some you won't. (It's all a personal preference thing. We all have different tastes and styles.) I highly recommend finding a seller that lets you listen before you buy, to make sure it's something that speaks to you.
Do you have a favorite guided meditation resource? Do you have a different way that you deal with stress? Please share!