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Is it possible to transform pain into optimal health?
Yes, absolutely. In fact, most of us do not make an effort to optimize our health practices without the help of pain signals to bring our attention to problem areas. Intense (even life-threatening) pain and disease can give us permission to seek out alternatives and to make lifestyle and dietary changes that would otherwise be outside our comfort zone.
Pain is a Signal
Have you ever had a “Check Engine” light come on in your car? I have, and it never happens at a convenient time. Pain is the same way. Is there ever a convenient time to be in pain? Never! So our body has primitive survival mechanisms that let us ignore pain. If you are busy fighting off a sabre-toothed tiger, ignoring the cramping muscles in your back—and fear in your heart—helps you to survive.
In modern society, the ever-present threats of job insecurity, financial pressure, traffic, crime, terrorism, and who is going to be eliminated on the next Survivor take our awareness out of our own body. We stay externally focused and ignore the body’s early warning signals. It shouldn’t surprise us when the pain signals get stronger—too strong, in fact, to ignore anymore.
That’s when we turn to drugs, nicotine, comfort foods, and other ways of self-medicating and numbing our pain. We, as a human race, spend an enormous amount of energy suppressing, denying, and masking pain. I think it is time for us to learn how to transform it. Whether it’s physical, emotional, mental, financial, or spiritual pain, we have reached a point in human evolution where there are practices proven to make a difference. All of these practices enrich our lives in practical ways.
Physical pain can become physical vitality through proper nutrition based on individual needs, movement and exercise, healthy touch and energy work, and body awareness and posture. Emotional pain can lead to emotional freedom through the use of Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), coaching, counseling, and supportive friendships.
Mental stress and lack of focus can give way to calm mental clarity through practices of mindfulness, meditation, inner listening, and the conscious pursuit of a creative life.
Financial abundance can be ours when we let go of our fears, our envy, and our need to salve our wounds and self-esteem with comfort purchases. Both individuals and governments are addicted to living beyond our means. The basic tenets of lifelong financial growth and health are well known—and unfortunately seldom followed. It is time to change that. Finally, we live in a world where millions feel alone, neglected, unloved, and even unlovable. Yet, there IS a source of infinite, unconditional Love.
A spiritual connection to this source of love and forgiveness is available to each of us. From this source flows all that is good. Its intelligence guides us from within, and it speaks to our heart about what is true, right, and just. The practices of meditation, prayer, and journaling—and many others—can help anyone to connect to the spirit within. When that happens, our lives are transformed entirely.