“It is so painful!”

I hear that a lot in my line of work.

Holding a low push up – “It is so painful!”

Hill climbs on the spin bike – “It is so painful!”

Lifting torso higher in an abdominal crunch – “It is so painful!”

Foam rolling the calves – “It is so painful!”

Using bands for posture muscles – “It is so painful!”

Stretching with a strap – “It is so painful!”

Breathing in a power yoga pose – “It is so painful!”

If you say something is painful – you will struggle.

If you think something is painful – you will have a negative mindset.

If you experience something as painful – you will never want to do it again.

If you remember it as painful – you will get rid of it.

When a person’s mind recognizes something as painful the immediate reaction is to go into protective mode. The shoulders hunch. The back rounds. The teeth clench. The hands and feet tighten. The breath shortens. The face scrunches. Everything pretty much begins to fight. What most do to manage is they say, “I just need to suck it up and deal with the pain.” It won’t change their physical reactions. It won’t help the pain. The mindset is, “No pain, no gain”. This teaches the mind and the body that suffering from pain is acceptable. Another scenario is that the mind won’t allow the body to endure the sensation recognized as pain again therefore either avoiding the experience or denying it.

What would happen if instead of “It is so painful” you said – thought – felt – experienced and remembered it as, “It is an intense sensation”?

What we say, think, experience and remember influences our bodies, decides our actions and answers the mind before we can even move through the situation again. The body will respond to an intense sensation in a curious way. It will allow what is happening. The muscles will permit. The breath will flow. The mind will be open to processing it. The entire journey will be completely different. There will be no fight. I have seen it over and over again in my studio.

As soon as a client says the phrase, “It is an intense sensation”, the entire session shifts. It doesn’t matter whether they believe it or not. The words have been said. The ears have heard it. The brain has computed it. The body has digested it. They breathe through it. They focus on letting go. They are patient with the process. They are accepting to the experience. They even smile.

The next time you endure something that you would instantly say, “It is so painful” – try saying, “It is an intense sensation”. I promise you that your experience will be a healthier one. You may even find that you can endure what you’re experiencing in a positive way and with a smile on your face.

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