Recently, I had a week where I needed to be ‘on.’ It was a non-stop 7 days of people-ing, and the drain on my emotional battery was real.
On night six, as I got into bed, I quickly reminded myself that I had one more packed-full day before I could recharge.
My brain didn’t get the message, and I woke in the night with a migraine.
First, I made the conscious decision to support myself with medication, something I only rarely do anymore. This is what author and founder of the Pain Psychology Center Alan Gordon calls an “avoidance behavior.” It means doing whatever you need to do to feel more comfortable, thus lowering the danger signal in the brain.
Next, I had a conversation with my brain.
I let it know how keenly aware I was of teetering on the edge of overwhelm, and acknowledged my weariness. With hands over heart, I breathed into my emotions. I then told my brain I’d chosen these commitments and was capable of handling them. What’s more, I wanted to handle them. I wanted to do every single thing on my list. I told my brain that I no longer needed it to create pain as an alert that I’d overextended myself. Finally, I thanked it for all it’s done for me, and asked if it would kindly stop with the pain.
Later, when the drugs wore off, there was no pain. I’d been able to engage in my day just as I’d planned.
I’ve nurtured a meaningful relationship with my body, brain and nervous system, and these sorts of conversations with myself are commonplace. I experience this relationship as supportive and real. By living my life more consciously, my amygdala gets the message that it can lower its vigilance. This deepening bond with Self is what’s allowed me to get back to doing the things I want to do, like walking and being more present with friends and family. This bond is what I help my clients develop.
Do pain and fatigue keep you from the things you want and need to be doing? Send me an email using the link below, and let’s talk.