People living with chronic pain know how exhausting it can be. The fact is that living with chronic pain is hard, and makes everyday tasks, like making the bed, cooking a meal or going grocery shopping, seem nearly impossible. Some days you might wake up and feel like you can’t find the motivation to get out of bed. Whether your level of chronic pain is mild, moderate or severe, we’re here to help you relax with these chronic pain coping tips.
Everyone has stress as part of everyday life. While everyone has a “normal” amount of daily stress, sometimes stress can add up and increase your chronic pain symptoms. When you’re stressed, anxious, depressed or angry, your body can become more sensitive to pain.
Learning some coping techniques can help your control stress in your life. Next time you feel stressed, give these simple yet effective coping strategies a try:
- Listen to soothing music
- Write in a journal
- Go for a walk
- Draw or do a crafting project
Chronic pain can make you feel more worried and anxious. Meditation is great way to help you relax and re-center yourself. Some people like to sit quietly and reflect on their emotions. Other people prefer to listen to a guided imagery meditation. And others like to focus on their breathing. There is a type of meditation for everyone.
Meditation promotes relaxation and inner calm by helping your mind focus on something other than your pain. Guided imagery meditation is especially useful; because you listen to someone guide you deeper and deeper into a calm state of mind. There are CDs and online downloads of guided imagery available. Over time, you’ll be able to use your meditation techniques throughout your day.
Along with meditation, deep breathing helps you stay calm, so that you can ease some of your pain. You can do deep breathing techniques at home or at work. The key is to relax your shoulders and arms as much as possible. Here are a couple easy deep breathing exercises to try:
Pursed Lips Breathing
- Sit in a comfortable chair or lie down.
- Breathe in slowly through your nose for about two seconds, filling your belly with air.
- Purse your lips like you would to whistle.
- Breathe out slowly through your mouth for about four seconds.
- Repeat as needed.
- Sit in a comfortable chair.
- Place one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach.
- Breathe in slowly through your nose, focusing on feeling the hand on your stomach move while keeping the hand on your chest as still as possible.
- Tighten your belly muscles a little bit, focusing on feeling the hand on your stomach move back down, with the hand on your chest staying still.
- Repeat as needed.
Join a Support Group
Living with chronic pain is hard even when you practice coping tips to help you relax. Remember, you’re not alone. While friends and family are an important part of your support system, sometimes the best support comes from other people who also have chronic pain.
When you join a chronic pain support group, you’ll meet other people living with chronic pain. You can hear their stories and learn valuable advice. They will probably have coping tips that have worked for them. In addition, you will be able to help them, too.
Remember, you can use our chronic pain coping tips anytime, even if you’re having a good day. Practicing them daily helps you develop a routine, and soon they’ll have become second nature.