Fake it till you Make it

Dr. Marcus’s advice seems to help. Am much more consciously watching my posture, walking without my hands in my pockets and checking my breathing. It really is easier not to feel pain if I can manage to move as if pain-free, even if it is really hurting and dragging to move. This is pure NLP (neuro-linguistic programming), where you are taught to put your body in a resourceful posture, and particularly to breathe as you do when feeling strong and capable.

I used to teach my students a simple exercise to illustrate this. (Resourcefulness exercise.) It is something I have used over and over in my own life.

When I first started public speaking, sometimes it would go well and othertimes I fumbled my words or got lost in my notes. And I never knew which to expect. So one day I purposely remembered three times that my speaking had gone well and I had felt resourceful. I used all my senses to imprint the moment, then when it was really strong, I made an anchor (for how to do this, see NLP Exercise page).

My anchor was to say “thank you” and step forward. I was always introduced and I always thanked and moved forward to the mic. So the anchor was built in to the activity. It was so successful that I only had to start making a speech to become resourceful and the best way of changing a down, negative mood was to rehearse a speech.

When my mother was dying, was a very hard time for me. I was 5,000 miles from home, trying to support my father. I have never felt so icily alone in my life and it took all my strength each day to keep going in the face of each new challenge. So each morning, before I even got out of bed, I made a point of remembering three occasions when I had felt resourceful and competent. I got each impression as vivid as possible and then made a fist and said “strong” to myself. Then as each new crisis broke, I repeated my anchor and the strength and resolve flooded in.

I used the same trick again later when on the receiving end of spite and submarine tactics at work and noticed it was on the days when I did not make my anchor that my fellow worker attacked. It makes sense, after all, bullies don’t bully everyone, they choose their targets. So by deliberately making myself resourceful, I changed the balance and staved off the attacks. In the long run, I couldn’t turn round the underlying enmity, but being resourceful did prevent overt attacks.

So if it works for morale, why not try it for pain? Act as if I am pain-free, move as if I am pain-free and feed that message to my brain, which then, hopefully, will process the pain signals more softly and stop throwing the pain gates wide open.




About UntraveledRoads

Fascinated by life, looking for answers to chronic pain and finding unexpected gifts. Interested in people, ideas, healing and humour. I am very happily married with three children and a kitten. As English born immigrants to Canada, we have family spread overseas, a daughter in South Africa and one in England. We also run a charity in South Africa to educate black, rural South African Women. Our first girl from a rural township has just graduated as an accountant from Johannesburg University and got a good job in a bank.
This entry was posted in back pain, chronic pain, Finding our way, life lessons, therapies and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Fake it till you Make it

  1. Pingback: Good Moves | Pathway through Pain – Journey to Joy

  2. Pingback: Pain Tracking – an encyclopedic guide | Pathway through Pain – Journey to Joy

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