How To Process Pain In A Positive Way

katie pulsifer coaching, processing pain

We all experience pain at regular intervals in our life. And yet, most of us will go to great lengths to never experience painful feelings or understand the options we have in how we process pain.

Often, we turn to food, alcohol, shopping, work or something else to ignore the pain we feel. These temporary distractions only prevent the process that needs to happen to let the pain go, permanently.

Here is what happens:

something happens to trigger pain
a rush of thoughts flood our minds
these thoughts create emotions (vibrations in the body) that can feel unbearable
we make a choice to avoid emotions, resist and react to the emotions or process the emotions

Avoiding the pain

When we avoid the pain, it is like we pretend it isn’t there. Which, is essentially lying to ourselves. This feels better in the moment but never works long term. Because the more we avoid pain, the more we have to keep avoiding it. So, if we make a choice to drink wine instead of feeling the pain, then we teach ourselves to respond to negative emotions with wine – which can lead to drinking when we really don’t want to – which can lead to overdrinking, lethargy, fogginess, weight gain and guilt – which can produce more pain in the long run.

Resisting and reacting to the pain

If we resist the pain, it looks like acting out or fighting against it. This is usually uncontrolled and responses towards something or someone that we may perceive to be “responsible” for our pain. We might yell, over-react and blow something out of proportion. We might slam a door, talk about someone behind their back or give them the silent treatment. These behaviors can provide a temporary relief from the pain, but ultimately the pain takes on more intensity as we fuel it with these negative responses. And when we react from a negative emotion, we always get a negative result – and this can produce more pain down the road.

Processing the pain

When we choose to process pain, it means that we are deciding to feel it. Many of us have a very difficult time doing this. We are reluctant to feel pain on purpose. We have told ourselves that it is a bad thing to do or that it will be too hard. And yet, processing and feeling our pain is always more manageable than we think and it means that we can avoid long-term consequences that come from avoiding, resisting and reacting to it.

I am a firm believer in processing my pain. I have learned how to get very comfortable experiencing painful feelings – allowing them to be with me and knowing that the immediate discomfort that they create is only temporary. I can control when the suffering ends. I have learned how to do the work and it has changed my life.

Here’s what I do and what I teach my clients to do:

  • Allow the painful feelings to be in my body, even when I can’t make sense of them in my mind
    I watch and wait
  • Notice that I may want to distract myself from my feelings with _________ (food, wine, sleep, social media, shopping, etc…)
  • Notice that I may want to act out________ (place blame, speak harshly, be judgmental, be manipulative)
  • Decide that I am processing the pain instead of any of those other things
  • Commit to this decision
  • Go on with my life, bringing the painful feelings with me
  • Keep noticing what wants to distract me from the pain. Tell myself that it is not worth the temporary relief. Tell myself that I am choosing the harder path, but it will be well worth it.
  • Recommit to experiencing the painful feelings as often as necessary
  • Keep going on with life
  • Take notice of the new thoughts that start to emerge – this may take minutes, hours, days or weeks. Let it take as long as it takes
  • Keep the thoughts that help the healing process and ditch the rest
  • Feel more positive when the pain subsides

After you go through the journey of processing pain, there is something that you must do.

Own it. Own your pain. It’s yours.

Remember, this is how it happens.

something happens to trigger pain
a rush of thoughts flood our minds
these thoughts create emotions (vibrations in the body) that can feel unbearable (the painful feelings)
we make a choice to avoid the emotions, resist and react to the emotions or process the emotions

Whenever I am confronted with pain, I tell myself this:

I am responsible for this pain. I have created it with my thoughts. I can use this opportunity to learn so much about myself – if I am willing to process this pain, instead of avoiding, resisting or reacting to it. This is happening for my benefit. If I can create pain with my mind, then I can create the relief with my mind.

If you prefer, we can do this work together – because I know that two minds are better than one. Book a complimentary Breakthrough Session to see how to shift your approach to processing pain so you can feel more positive and empowered moving through it. Let’s take 30 minutes to talk about it. Book your session today!

mental spring cleaning.

Life Coaching, Katie Pulsifer Coaching,

This week marked the first day of Spring and I couldn’t be more ready for a season shift and do a mental spring clean.

I am anxious for the snow to melt and to begin spending more time outside.

There is so much to do, coming out of a dark, cold winter. Lot’s of tidying up, organizing and purging, while preparing for the warmer months ahead.

And lot’s of spring cleaning.

The physical work of cleaning out our homes – shaking off the dust, opening up the windows – letting light and fresh air come inside.

While the earth softens and new growth appears. Raking, pruning and planting outside. A genuine transformation takes place all around us.

And I like to believe that we can use this time to transform too. We can do some necessary and very important spring clean up of our thoughts.

Everything we think is deciding our future.

Right now, all of our thoughts are building, creating and inspiring our future results.

The good thoughts. And the not-so-good thoughts.

Most of us don’t know this.

We think that life just happens to us and we just have to manage our way through it.

Many of us do not know that every outcome we experience starts with a thought.

That is powerful.

Thoughts create results – just as seeds become plants.

We have so much influence over what thoughts we think.

But we forget this.

We believe that we are stuck with the thoughts that we have been thinking for a long time and I want to tell you that this just isn’t true.

We can always change our thoughts.

Thoughts are just sentences running through our minds about what is happening in our lives. They are opinions and impressions and often filled with judgment and negativity, thus producing negative results in our life.

We can plant new thoughts in our minds, just like we plant new seeds in the ground.
We can air out our minds, just like we air out our homes after the long winter.
We can unpack new, inspiring beliefs about ourselves replacing the heavier, protective ones that we have been carrying around for months or years.

It’s time to do some spring cleaning on our minds – especially if you are ready to create new results in your life.

Remember, every outcome begins with a thought.

So what would you like to create this spring?

Are you ready to let go of some old and ‘holding you back’ beliefs?
Are you ready to stop being so hard on yourself?
Are you ready to break a negative habit?
Are you ready to stop being so hard on yourself?
Are you ready to release your past-focused thinking?

Now is the perfect time to awaken change within your mind to allow new results to take shape in your life.

I would argue that mental spring cleaning is just as important as any other work you are planning to do in or outside of your home in the next few weeks and months to get ready for the new season. It is absolutely necessary if you are looking for new outcomes.

And here is some really great news for you…

I would like to offer you a complimentary mental spring cleaning check-up.
All you have to do is schedule a Breakthrough Session with me.  This is a 30-minute complimentary phone call with me to talk about how to clean up your thinking and direct your thoughts towards the future that you want.

It’s easy. You get to spend some time spring cleaning out your thoughts. And together we will discuss how you can become more purposeful and intentioned in directing your new thoughts towards the future you want. And it’s my gift to you. I want you to take as amazing care of your mind as you do your home this spring.

Let’s kick off the new season with renewed focus and energy towards making this an amazing spring. Book your FREE session now.