Calm Your Pain with JOY!

December, 2016

During one of the big snow storms in the past few weeks I decided to cancel my Calm Your Pain class. It was disappointing as I had planned a theme based on JOY! So I’ve decided to share what we would have been doing for this class.


The Calm Your Pain classes have had various themes so far: Safety, Breathing, Habits, Spaciousness, and Gratitude. I chose JOY for the holiday season partly because I personally enjoy focusing on friendships, special hand-made gifts, uplifting holiday music, decorations, and the many opportunities the holidays offer to refocus our attention on what really matters. I also know that JOY can be difficult to experience when you are having constant pain. Studies have shown the brain exhibits seven times more activity with negative information than with positive so it is very important for people who experience persistent pain to learn to shift their attention to anything that brings joy, pleasure, happiness, a smile, laughter, etc.


The first practice we were going to engage in was singing a Christmas Carol; Jingle Bells. What could be more fun than jingling a bell while singing together and caroling for our other patients and staff? I also picked some up-beat holiday tunes so we could dance and wiggle a bit. I always have a movement or exercise for class participants and I believe finding joyful music and moving to it might be one of the best exercises you can do. Life is busy and stressful. Upbeat and fun music with whatever level of activity or movement is right for you is of great value. One of the most scientifically proven things any of us can do for an array of ailments is to MOVE!


I lead participants through a meditation/visualization during each class and record these for class participants. These are available for purchase on CD or Flash Drive but are not always immediately available, so if you are interested, please call the clinic, or email me:  🙂


I was also going to lead participants through their first writing/journaling activity: To start: have a piece of paper and pen/pencil ready to write. Sit quietly and follow your breaths. Count 5 breaths then start again. Emphasize each exhale and feel yourself being supported by whatever surface you are sitting or lying on. Then focus on the word “JOY”. Let it resonate in your thinking and your body.

  • Pick up your paper and in the middle write the word, “JOY” and circle it.
  • Then around it, write 6-8 words that connect in some way to the word JOY. Such as fun, laughter, happy…
  • Look at all of your new words and pick the one that seems to “call” to you and circle it.
  • Now, write about that word: thoughts, feelings, memories, hopes, dreams, disappointments… Free-write anything and everything that comes to mind anywhere on your paper. Take as much time as you wish.
  • Then just sit and return to your breathing. Feel how having done this activity resonates in your body. Do you feel light, heavy, fluttery, loose, tight…any bodily sensations that arise from this activity are OK and available to be acknowledged and supported with your attention. Hold this with kindness and compassion for as long as feels right.
  • Finish by thanking yourself and your body for giving you any insights about JOY.


You can do this exercise with any word, feeling or emotion that seems to be calling to you. Learning to be with ourselves in a compassionate way may be one of the most valuable things any of us can learn – whether or not we live with persistent pain.


Wishing you JOY for your holidays and every day!

In Health,



Posted in: Allisons' Blog, Calm Your Pain, Classes, PNE-Pain Neuroscience Education

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