International Day of Happiness

What day better than today, on the international day of happiness, is there to discuss mindfulness and what it means to not only your conscious life but to the subconscious world in which we also reside. Many times we often take for granted that the world will go on without us and as such tend to allow the overwhelming presence of pain to distort our sense of reality. When this happens we often become consumed by not only the difficulty of our situation but the emotions themselves. The depression, the sadness, the indifference we experience is many times more damaging than the actual dis-ease itself is, believe it or not.

Placed in a situation where we must be conscious of every vibration because the doctors are perplexed by the complexity of our symptoms, the strange physical bodily responses, and the sheer randomness of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome’s attack in an effort to discover it is, in fact, CRPS exacerbates your CRPS. We are stepping into the reality of the fact that as much as CRPS is physically attacking your body it is also “all in your head” and if you wouldn’t dwell upon your symptoms it wouldn’t hurt you… as much. Thing is they always fail to mention the quantification of as much and just leave you with the inclination they think you’re making this all up and that you then can stop the disease simply through thought.

So, how do we address this emotional aspect of CRPS and how do we understand our symptoms so we can relay them without dwelling upon them and simply wallering in our own muck? That my friend is a slippery slope. Took time for me to understand this and through my own trial and error where I started trying to track my symptom via a symptom tracker but all that seemed to do was suck me further into the dwelling in the discomfort zone. Next, I tried, simply tracking my daily interludes… What I ate, what I did, what I thought about and after time I realized I ran out of energy trying to document it all. Finally, I found this journaling app that tracks my basic movement for me when I journal. It tracks my weather based upon my location and I use the built-in mood meter to track my pain levels rather than mood because in many ways it is also reflective of my mood.

It goes as followed 😀=pain level of a 1-2 a 😑=5-6 and a 😣=9-10 there are 2 more in between to choose from 🙂 and 🙁. I, also, get Facebook like memories notifications from the previous year’s “on this day”. Please do not think I am affiliated in any way with this app I am not. I am however very pleased with the program, the changes they have incorporated in their free or membership options. I paid for the lifetime membership with cloud backup and some other stuff with my Google rewards funds. So, in a way it was basically free for my data to be knowingly mined for a change. But I am getting off track here…

What we tend to not consider is that mindfulness goes much deeper than simply not dwelling on your pain but it includes finding the positive in everything. For example, your car breaks down, you get a flat because your tires are bald…that’s not a catastrophe but an opportunity to save funds not putting gas in my car and the opportunity to get better tires on it before something bad happens because of the lack of tread. Alright 🙄 so yes 😒 it would be a slight unexpected financial catastrophe 😭 but it doesn’t have to be a mountain when it’s just a speed bump get over. Yes, this would be something I would have rather waited to do until later but it is what it is 🙃 and getting angry only hurts the individual. Truly, it doesn’t help the situation in the least.

Let’s take a gander at why mindfulness works…
  1. Mindfulness helps us learn to be present in the moment, which helps us to take a moment to pause, notice our own thoughts and feelings, and choose a response that is not based upon our present emotions.
  2. Mindfulness teaches us that it is okay to say “no” to others, which helps us to balance our own lives and enhance self-confidence.
  3. Mindfulness allows us to be present with others, meaning that we are more aware of the state of our relationships with others.

How do we achieve mindfulness?

Let’s take a lesson from the Positive Psychology Program called the “sorting into boxes” exercise, helpful for dealing with depression. Use this audio clip here for guidance.

The exercise of “sorting boxes” follows these steps:
  1. Focus on your breathing, without trying to change it.
  2. Notice any thoughts, sensations, or emotions that come into your awareness.
  3. Imagine that there are three boxes in your mind, labeled “thoughts”, “sensations”, and “emotions.”
  4. Continue to focus on your breathing, and continue to observe anything that comes into your awareness.
  5. Identify these things as thoughts, sensations, or emotions and sort them into the corresponding box in your mind.
  6. Continue clearing your mind by putting these thoughts, sensations, and emotions into their respective boxes until you hear the sound of a bell.

Following this guided mindfulness exercise will help you to clear your mind of worry about the past or the future, and allow you to focus on being present in this moment in a time. Now alternatively, you could watch this inspiring TEDtalk by Zindel Segal as he explains the nauseated mindful approach needed to not only address depression but pain as well. Click here to check it out. Whatever it is you choose to do to treat your CRPS, be it western medicine or alternative therapies, mindfulness is a valuable tool available to you any place, any time, for free if you will only take the time to invest in yourself.

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