Managing Expectations

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  • As I have been reflecting on the impact of mindfulness on my pain management, I’ve come to realize that one of the major changes it has provoked in me has to do with how I approach my life and treatment. Working to live in the present, to accept myself as I am, and to loosen the hold of my vision of how my body should feel and what my life should be like. This is really all about managing expectations.
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    I’ve notice this impact in two different ways. The first has to do with acceptance. Through mindfulness, and mindful therapy in particular, I’ve been focusing a lot on accepting my body’s limitations. I’ve come to appreciate the complicated structures that we are, and wonder at how intricate and involved even simple movements are. I have been trying not to take that for granted. This has cultivated an incredible sense of gratitude over what I can still do, and I have found that I am less frustrated about what I am limited from doing. My expectations over my movement and my body’s capabilities have completely shifted. And in turn I find myself less stressed, which eases a great deal of tension I’m facing. It’s all connected!
     
    The second kind of effect that I’ve noticed is with positivity. At the peak of my stress and pain, I became a bit despondent. “I’ll try this new thing, but nothing has worked so I’m sure this won’t either.” That became the way I entered a new treatment. I have been working to let go of expectations and approach new therapies and exercises with an open mind. I think that I’ve actually been having better results with new things simply because I’m more open to them, and I’ve found that I am not alone. I’ve learned that mindfulness and mindful therapies can stimulate patient expectations that treatment will help, which can correlate with improved responses to treatment. (This is discussed in Day, et al., the article I mention in the topic on Coping.)
     
    Have you found that harboring positive expectations has made an impact in your body’s response to new therapies and pain management techniques? Have you found instead that harboring any expectations at all creates a roadblock to body listening? How have your expectations around various treatments affected your perception of the outcome?
     
    #mindfulexpectations #acceptance #gratitude #positivity

    Rachel Carriere
  • The mind is a powerful thing. I used to have pain all the time and saw many people for it – chiro, physio, and massage. I don’t remember what it was that clicked for me but I had a turning point where I was not down all the time because of the pain, or I was not in pain because I was not down all the time (chicken and egg!). Optimism and positivity have reframed my view and everything seems much more manageable and I am much more laid back about things. Having a sense of humor helps. #posititivity

    I think what made a big difference for me, now that I think about it, was a big attitude shift. Somewhere I stopped blaming everyone else for everything, shed the victim mentality, and took responsibility for my actions and future. Once I realized that I was in control of my own situation, things looked much brighter after that! #acceptance

    AppleStrudel
    • I think it’s been a chicken and egg kind of situation for me too, AppleStrudel! I really credit the attitude shift for feeding my emotional AND physical resilience. Instead of feeling empowered with control over my situation, I realized that I need to accept that I’m not in total control, but I can choose how I react to my situation.
      #choosepositivity #attitudeiseverything #resilience

      Rachel Carriere

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