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6 Important Reminders To Help Reduce Pain

6 Important Reminders To Help Reduce Pain

The release of the new painkiller Zohydro has been in the news a lot this year, and for good reason. The United States is responsible for nearly 99% of the world’s hydrocodone consumption and 84% of the world’s oxycodone consumption. We’re a country addicted to pain pills, and it’s time we faced that reality.

As an avid drug experimenter, I’ve known more than my fair share of addicts. I’ve known a lot of good people who went too far in their search to reduce pain and overdosed. Whether physical or mental, pain is very real, and it’s only by confronting it that we’ll ever find relief.

1. “This is only temporary…”

Everything in life is temporary, even life itself. Think of all the things you survived to get here—babies cry for a reason. Our entire lives are essentially defined by how we recover from the trauma of birth. We learn at a very young age that life isn’t fair. We’re helpless and at the mercy of our parents, because they’re bigger than we are.

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Through yoga and meditation, I’ve learned to repeat this mantra anytime things get bad. The past already happened, and the future is yet to be. What matters is right now, so let go of any pain over things that aren’t currently happening in your immediate vicinity.

2. Resistance is futile.

Vince Lombardi said it best—no pain, no gain. Pain is necessary to grow stronger, and resisting it isn’t going to make it go away. In fact, resistance saps your energy, so you’ll feel pain in a weaker state.

Rather than wasting your energy, follow the teachings of Buddha and practice nonresistance. Instead of getting angry, feeling sorry for yourself, or tensing up, accept your pain and begin coping with the reality of it. It’s going to happen one way or another, so you may as well have a sense of humor over it.

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3. It’s OK to cry.

Pain causes tears, especially emotional pain. If you’ve experienced a loss or are otherwise hurting, cry it out. You’re no less of a man for crying, nor are you an overly emotional woman. Tears don’t make you a child, and even if they did, it wouldn’t be a bad thing. Kids are more honest than adults anyway.

4. Everybody hurts

Everyone experiences pain every day, in one form or another. The more successful someone is, the more pain they’ve experienced. Just because someone is smiling on the surface doesn’t mean they have no pain—it means they’ve learned to cope.

Check out organizations like the Wounded Warrior Project, Special Olympics, and the Catholic Church; each of these organizations deals with pain in a different way, but, Catholic Church aside, they smile through it. Nobody makes it through life pain-free, and you’re no exception.

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5. In order to experience joy, you need pain

When experiencing pain, remember it and relish it. If it weren’t for pain, you’d have no pleasure. It’s the downs that make the ups feel good—without them everything’s just flat and blah. When I smile my most genuine smile, it’s never because of all the good things in the world.

My most genuine smile comes from the realization that I’m a survivor. I’ve survived worse than this, and I’ll continue surviving long after today’s pain is gone.

6. Mind over matter

All of these tricks add up to one universal truth. We are the masters of our own destinies and the creators of our own worlds. Joy, pain, wealth, poverty, war, peace, night, day, hot, cold—they all exist simultaneously on this planet. You have the power and freedom to choose your own destiny. Use it.

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Pain pills seem like an easy button, but anyone in rehab can tell you an easy button doesn’t exist. Rather than drowning out your problems, confront and embrace them. You’re not going through anything that millions of people throughout history haven’t overcome. I may not know the exact pain you’re experiencing, but someone does. If they can beat it, so can you.

Featured photo credit: Geralt via pixabay.com

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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