As the big day is upon me, and with it the immense changes it brings, I find myself reflecting on how all of this makes me feel. Indeed, there is some anxiety, some anticipation, some fear, but mostly there is excitement. And joy. Yes, the ever-present emotion is always joy. I feel it radiating through, even during the most overwhelming days of work. I could easily get discouraged at the monumental task of it all. All the little details I have to tend to. All of the significantly important major steps to cover. I’ll admit, some days, when I got swept away in the current of responsibilities and hard work, I procrastinated, I felt like hiding under the blankets and not have to think about anything. But it is my attitude that got me through it. I visualized my perfect practice, drew upon my creativity and inspiration and thought about all the clients I would help, and then joy reappeared. I pushed forward, until, the next thing I knew, the big day was here.
Your outlook on life.
The dialogue in your head.
They all have a substantial impact on so many things in your life. I recently had a technician in my house doing some work. He was installing something new and as he worked, he said, “no matter what I’m doing, I am lucky, I always get it on the first shot”, and “I never get held up by negative circumstances”. He was just happy, roll with the punches and positive. He told me that even if it starts to rain, he goes out to work and the rain stops. The rain stops! Happiness is a habit that we make, and this is a choice that this guy made obviously made every day.
All of this brought me to thinking about the new studies on pain. Many of them demonstrate that happy people were more likely to report lower levels of pain. Happy people reported that pain was less likely to get in the way of their daily lives and they were less likely to feel distressed when they also looked at the impact of happiness on pain intensity.
Positive emotions can help in a faster recovery from cardiovascular stress, better sleep, improved immunity and blood flow, increased longevity and heightens the pain threshold among others.
The most powerful pain relieving chemical that your body itself produces is endorphin. When you are involved in things that make you happy – enjoying yourself, laughing or exercising within your own limits of pain, your nerves produce more endorphins. These help in stopping or blocking the pain and danger signals in a manner that is more powerful than any pain medication or pain producing chemical.
Did you know that your nerve cells and sensors are replaced every three to four days? This gives rise to incredible opportunity for change. Even injured and damaged nerves regenerate and under the influence of positive feelings, calm states and pleasure. The opposite is true as well. If you are under constant stress, paying unnecessary attention to pain or are angry, your nerves regenerate in a heightened state of sensitivity.
So get out there, and do something that gives you joy. Focus on the little joys of everyday and make a habit of it. Express gratitude and smile. I can assure you that over time, you will feel better for it!
If you are experiencing pain that you are having difficulty overcoming, seek out a health care professional that is educated in pain sciences and the biopsychosocial approach. They will be able to help you though the toughest obstacles and offer a little more guidance towards recovery.