Dr. Grinstead was kind enough to allow me to post this short article as a guest post, and the copyright belongs to him exclusively. The contents of this post may only be used with his permission, and with appropriate credit and links.
By: Dr. Stephen F. Grinstead, LMFT, ACRPS, CADC-II
To find a balance point you must be able to identify what the extremes are that you need to balance. In the table below you will see each of the target five balance points you need to strive to obtain in your life.
1. Positive Self-Talk
2. Appropriate Emotional Expression
3. Healthy Support Network
5. Effective Pain Management
Most people pay little attention to all the random thoughts that go through their head each day. Unfortunately, this is not the best way to go through life if you want to thrive. I want to have you consider a quote attributed to the Dalai Lama that I’ve posted below.
“Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Choose your words, for they become actions. Understand your actions, for they become habits. Study your habits, for they will become your character. Develop your character, for it becomes your destiny.”
Balance Point One: Positive Self-Talk
The first balance point is positive self-talk. On one end of this continuum is repressed self-talk. When you are at this end of the spectrum you are not listening to your thoughts that eventually create your destiny. When your thoughts can lead you to making poor choices this might not be such a bad thing. However, for the most part it is important to monitor your thinking patterns so you can end up not creating negative consequences for yourself.
Balance Point Two: Appropriate Emotional Expression
A trap I see some people fall into is labeling feelings or emotions as either good or bad. I do not believe in “good” or “bad” emotions. I do believe that emotions can however be comfortable or uncomfortable. Some emotions such as happiness or joy are sought after, while other emotions like fear or loneliness are to be avoided at all costs. This type of paradigm can lead to going to one end or the other of this spectrum.
Balance Point Three: Healthy Support Network
It is crucial to build a chronic pain support network for yourself. This balance point of a healthy support network also has two dangerous extremes—isolation and enabling. Let’s start with the isolation extreme. This is usually fueled with the belief that I have to do it myself. Sometimes this is coming from a power position because of a mistaken belief like “I can’t trust/depend on others.” While for other people the mistaken belief might be “I have to do it myself because I’m no good; or nobody is there for me.” Either way you lose the chance to have someone in your corner when it really counts.
Balance Point Four: Spirituality/Humility
The next balance point of spirituality/humility also has problematic extremes. Here too people can vacillate between the extremes and never stay in the middle. On one end of the spectrum people are at risk for moving into pride and/or arrogance while at the opposite end is shame and guilt. Spirituality is a complex and multidimensional part of the human experience. It involves beliefs, perceptions, thinking, feeling, experiential and behavior aspects.
Balance Point Five: Effective Pain Management
This last balance point of effective pain management is crucial for effective chronic pain management and freedom from suffering. The two extremes here are ignoring pain or suffering. I believe that there are times when ignoring pain—or avoidance by appropriate distraction—can be a good thing. I don’t believe it is ever a good thing to be in suffering from your pain.
Striving for balance in chronic pain management recovery is crucial for freedom from suffering and obtaining a great quality of life. This will help you move beyond surviving with chronic pain to thriving and enjoying life to the fullest.
Dr. Grinstead’s blog: Addiction Free Pain Management Blog
Dr. Grinstead’s company website: CENAPS
Dr. Grinstead’s personal website: Addiction Free Pain Management