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ProActive Blog

The Mind-Body Connection

Did you know that your thoughts, feelings, and actions affect the way your body controls pain?

I’m very excited to share with you one of my favorite concepts that I use every day, and that has immensely changed my life in so many ways personally and professionally. Once you understand and apply this framework, it will not only help you manage your pain, but also allow you to create the results you desire, and solve any problems you face in your life. This tool is called The Model and was created by Brooke Castillo based on her years of research and studying. I understand this newsletter is slightly longer, but please stay with me, it will be worth it!  (Hint: the answer is always something that we are choosing to think 😉)

First, let’s define pain and mindset.

Pain is an unpleasant signal that you receive from your brain warning you that something is not quite right in your body, and can cause you to take certain actions and avoid others. This experience varies greatly from person to person, even between those with similar injuries and/or illnesses.

Mindset is a set of thoughts and beliefs that shape how you make sense of the world and yourself. It influences how you feel, behave, act and react in any given situation.

The Model Framework

Here’s how The Model works: every problem we encounter in our lives can be broken down into 5 interrelated components, with changes in one component affecting the others:

  1. Circumstances – Things outside our control – for example, other people, other people’s opinions, our past, the weather, illnesses, and injuries.
  2. Thoughts – As humans, we give meaning to our circumstances through our thoughts, which are the “sentences” that constantly run through our minds. We may or may not be aware of our sentences as we have over 40,000 thoughts a day!
  3. Feelings – Feelings are the emotions or vibrations we experience in our bodies, and they are directly related to the thoughts we’re thinking.
  4. Actions – Actions refer to behavior, reaction, or inaction, and they’re directly related to our feelings.
  5. Results – Results are the effects of our actions, inactions, or reactions.

It’s Our Thoughts, Not Our Circumstances!

Most people think that our feelings are caused by our circumstances, but in fact, it is our thoughts about our circumstances that cause our feelings. The basic premise is that your thoughts produce your feelings, your feelings generate your actions, and your actions cause your results. What?!?!

The Mind-Body Connection

Did you know that your thoughts, feelings, and actions affect the way your body controls pain?

Your body responds to the way you think, feel, and act. Every “physical pain” you experience is a “sensation”, not a feeling. Other examples of physical sensations are dizziness, breathlessness, clamminess, queasiness, thirst, hotness, and coldness. These physical sensations are directly influenced by your feelings that set off a series of impulses to your brain and body. For example, when you feel stressed, upset, or anxious, you experience immediate changes in your body, such as tension in your muscles, unexplained physical pain, headache, tight throat, clammy hands, etc.), and in your nervous system (increased heart rate, breathing, blood pressure changes, etc).

Using The Model Tool For Pain Management

It is very important that you understand that no matter what physical injury, diagnosis, illness, or condition you may have, it is a “circumstance”. In other words, it is out of your control. However, you CAN control what to think about it and what it means to you.

Here’s the thing, we are human beings, and our brain’s job is to keep us safe in order to survive. So, it is completely normal that our brain will create thoughts to try and keep us safe, such as “I can’t move my shoulder because it hurts too much”, or “my MRI says that I have Degenerative Disk Disease, so my spine is so damaged I can’t do anything”, or “my right knee hurts when I run so I guess I’m getting too old for this and I should stop”. Do any of these thoughts resonate with you?

Here Are Great Questions To Ask Yourself About Your “Physical Pain”

  • How is this pain impacting your life?
  • What are you making it mean?
  • How does it make you feel?
  • What if it’s possible that there’s another way to think about this?
  • Why aren’t you taking any action?
  • What would you love to do in this situation?
  • What is the worse thing that could happen?

Bridging Thoughts To Retrain Your Brain

Once you become aware and identify the negative thoughts that are not serving you in your life or that are negatively impacting any aspects of your life, write them down along with the emotion they each create. The only way to make a change is to replace those thoughts with new ones that will serve you and help you achieve your goals. Now, this may not happen overnight (for some it does!), but it’s a choice you make whether you want to keep those thoughts or replace them. Then practice repeating them in your head so that you can believe in them (affirmations).

Bridging Thoughts To Help You Believe Again…….

  • I’m learning that…….(Fill in the blank)
  • I am grateful that my body is strong and resilient in its own way
  • I’m open to believing that ……….(Fill in the blank)
  • It’s possible that…….(Fill in the blank)
  • I’m willing to do ………(Fill in the blank)

I want to offer you to be curious about your mind. Start focusing on what your body CAN do, as opposed to what it “Cannot” do. Your physical pain or diagnosis does not label you as “damaged goods” or “malfunctioning”. The only thing that stands between your physical pain and your desires and goals is your mindset.

Don’t give up. Believe in yourself. Be willing to try 😊

I’m here for you always.

P.S. I had a great opportunity to be interviewed as a guest on our local Lanark Podcast OVBossBabes episode #123 “Your health is an investment, not an expense”. Hope you tune in and enjoy!

Yours in Health,

Valerie

Clinic Founder/CEO/Certified Athletic Therapist, CAT(C)


ProActive Blog

The Mind-Body Connection

Did you know that your thoughts, feelings, and actions affect the way your body controls pain?

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  • Mindset advice on managing pain and injury