May is Mental Health Awareness Month and I wanted to continue this awareness with something that controls us everyday, pain. It’s a major driving force behind all of our decision making and it is a multi-trillion dollar business.  Most of the actions people take in life consciously or unconsciously are made in order to avoid pain. In fact, everyone that comes to see me for help is in one way or another asking to help them with their pain. Fundamentally, we live in a pain pleasure cycle which stems from our animalistic, lower consciousness.  This subset of consciousness comes from our past experiences and the things that have programmed us to help keep us alive. However, with advancements in technology, culture, and our living environment, this pain pleasure model is controlling us and hindering our health, wealth, happiness, and ability to live optimally.  Our relationship with pain is expressed through feedback in the form of symptoms. Physical pain occurs in the form of tight shoulders, neck and back pain, extremity pain, and physical fatigue. Pain also causes many biochemical issues such as gut problems, mental fatigue, anxiety, depression, and the list goes on and on.  We perceive that pain is a bad thing and we try to avoid it and in doing so we solely seek pleasure. If we look at pain in a different perspective this can vastly change our life. As a society, we need to view pain as a tool in order to increase the quality of our life and resolve pain in doing so. As stated, pain is an effect stemming from a cause.  Pain is a challenge for us to make a change in order to better our life. Unfortunately, we have been programmed to stay away from challenges and seek support. Honestly, both challenge and support is necessary in order to grow, evolve, and increase the quality of our life. True love is a balance of both support and challenge. To truly love ourselves we need a balance of challenge (pain) as well as support.  Consequently, to truly express love to someone else, we need to give them a balance of support and challenge. Life isn’t stagnant. Either things get better or they get worse. So how do we, and should we be dealing with pain?

 

Currently, most people run away and try to avoid pain and in doing so have created an unconscious fantasy that we deserve to skip to the end of the fairy-tale where everything is all roses.  This false reality only creates more and more pain as a negative feedback mechanism until we can learn from it, make changes, and go forward growing as an individual. We are not victims of our history but have the power to be masters of our destiny.  We need to listen to the story that we are telling ourselves and change the programming and negative self talk that continues to keep us down and in pain. These stories can be neutralized by many means and my personal favorite is a technique called the DeMartini Method.  This process also helps you gain more clarity on who you are and what you are here to do by obtaining your highest values, purpose, and mission in life. This sounds like an audacious goal in itself but it is actually quite simple when asking the correct questions. Remember, the quality of your life is dependent on the quality of the questions you ask yourself.  That is why the questions you ask yourself about pain are vastly important as they dictate what type of action will be taken. When we move through challenges instead of trying to go around them we gain more love, gratitude, and become a better version of ourselves.

 

Mental health and personal growth is all about helping us gain mastery of our life.  This is done through mastering the different aspects of life including financial, spiritual, physical, mental, social, vocational, etc.  As you go through each part of life, write down what your biggest pains are in each category. From these pains we can create BE-SMART goals which stands for balanced emotionally, specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely.  These goals need to be balanced mentally which is seeing both the pain and pleasure that will occur during the process. When approaching these goals, we need to figure out how to actually attain them as they may be a little daunting. This is done by something called chunking.  How do you eat and elephant? One bite at a time! When you break down each goal into easy bite size portions (chunks) to complete, you build up your confidence, energy, belief, and momentum towards achieving the goal. I use and recommend to others a journal called the Best Self Journal to easily record and keep you accountable in the process.

 

Remember, don’t be scared of pain, or try to avoid it the next time it presents itself.  It is an opportunity to make some changes in your life that will only lead to a better version of you.  Changing our relationship with pain changes our lives and the relationships we have. Please share this article to help spread the awareness of Mental Health.  Increasing the quality of the mind will increase the quality of the world.