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It's Not What You Think But Also How You Think That Affects Chronic Pain

We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. Joseph Campbell
Many studies have shown that thinking influences the experience of pain. It's not that the pain is “all in the head” but that certain kinds of thoughts will make the existing pain worse. In fact, two primary styles of thinking tend to increase the level of pain for those with chronic pain:

1) Catastrophizing. Thinking that focuses on how awful the pain is or how much it has ruined your life is shown to make pain worse.

2) Control. Feelings of helplessness and thoughts how not being able to control the pain or to be able to escape it worsens pain.

Research in recent years shows, however, that it is not just what you are thinking but how you process the thoughts that can affect the level of pain you experience. Read more...

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  • 50 RULES OF LIFE
    Rule 18: Perspective--Choose to See the Whole Elephant

    partial picture of elephant "Perspective: Choose to see the whole elephant"
    The inability to change perspective is a frequent cause of conflict. People become so focused on the rightness of their view of the world that they cannot see the value of other views. Yet, most people are often just looking at a narrow slice of a very complex picture.

    Perspective is shaped by our expectations and the details we notice. Learning to let go of expectations can help expand our knowledge of the world and our ability to understand others. By doing so, we become more open to ideas and differences which is likely to reduce conflict.

    A fable from India illustrates how perspective can be accurate, but inaccurate, at the same time depending upon the specifics observed.Read more...

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  • April 3, 2017

    New article! Understanding the Act “As If” Concept for Anxiety Treatment

    "I have often been afraid, but...I would act as though I was not afraid, and gradually my fear disappeared. Theodore Roosevelt
    Question: I've been reading your articles for some time and while I've made some progress in becoming less anxious, I still have trouble behaving the way I want to when I feel anxious. I think this is referred to as “Act as if” in CBT.

    I think the main reason or issue behind it is that I see emotions as a true reflection of myself, at least in that particular moment. My question is, would you mind making a comment on “Act as if”' without relating it to “Fake it til you make it”? Since being real towards myself is quite important to me, I personally can't stand “Fake it til you make it” approach.*

    Excellent question because it reflects how Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is commonly misunderstood when simplified versions of CBT become maxims such as “Fake it til you make it.”

    What is the difference between “act 'as if'” and “fake it til you make it”?

    First, let's review what acting “as if” means for learning to manage anxiety. This reader is referring to the “50 Tools for Panic and Anxiety”: Read more...

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    The Best Anxiety Disorder iPhone and Android Apps Free Android App: Self-Help Methods to Learn to Control Panic and Anxiety

    Contains:

    ***Articles about panic/anxiety and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
    ***Cognitive Thought Diary to learn to challenge fearful thinking
    ***Emotion Training Audio to learn to access calming states
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    Use Panic Assistance audio to coach you when you experience a panic attack and to help you learn to tolerate and control the anxiety symptoms.

    Install

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    Meadow Relaxation

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    Meadow Relaxation

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    Mountain Cabin Relaxation

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    Mountain Cabin Relaxation

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    Sunrise On the Beach Mindfulness

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    Sunrise On the Beach Mindfulness

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    Tropical Garden Mindfulness

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    Tropical Garden Mindfulness

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    Riding a Horse Across the Plains Relaxation

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    Riding a Horse Across the Plains Relaxation

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    Magical Forest For Children

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    Magical Forest For Children

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    The Great Desert Mindfulness

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    The Great Desert Mindfulness

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    Cityscape Mindfulness

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    Cityscape Mindfulness

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    Day On the Farm Mindfulness

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    Day On the Farm Mindfulness

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    Rainbow Relaxation

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    Rainbow Relaxation

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    Hot Springs Relaxation

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