Help Yourself First

In order to use doctors and by extension the entire health care system including private insurers, you need to be able control yourself. If you have little or no control over yourself how can you possibly expect to influence others?

But controlling yourself is hard when you’re always in pain, nobody seems to understand you and you feel all alone. I’ve already discussed anger and acceptance, but the first is hard to manage and the second difficult to do. In order to improve your ability to take charge of your situation and yourself you must learn to take care of yourself.

This means committing yourself to working on those things that can help you feel better. Good nutrition and sleep hygiene are obvious things to work on. So is staying as physically active as you possibly can without increasing your pain. From the perspective of learning to control yourself, cultivating calmness through the use of meditation/relaxation techniques is perhaps the most important practice. The emphasis is on practice.

Practice takes time and commitment. Some time must be set aside daily. Throughout the day you need to be aware of rising distress or painful postures in order to relax yourself consciously or correct your posture. You may fail on many occasions so remember that you are developing a skill. Playing the piano, ballroom dancing and staying calm all take time to become good at.

Please, please remember that you have to make the time. As long as your pain and distress control you, your ability to carry on your normal responsibilities will be limited. No matter what your duties are to your family or work, you will perform them better if you take the time to help yourself. Therefore it is not selfish to take time to exercise and meditate daily. It is worth the effort to practice relaxation and good posture while going about your day. Learning to persevere in your personal practice will improve your patience with yourself and by extension, those around you. Improvements in self control will improve your judgment and increase your ability act rationally – a must when learning to manage your pain.

Helping yourself first really means making yourself better able to do what you need and want to do. If you really want to help others, take care of yourself.

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