Rewrite your experience of depression and chronic pain

by | Apr 11, 2013 | Anxiety, Depression and Stress | 0 comments

Chronic pain, physical exhaustion and low mood

Physical exhaustion and low mood, often inseparable from chronic pain, shouldn’t be ignored.  In fact, surveys of fibromyalgia sufferers show that more than 80% experience an almost overwhelming level of fatigue that at times is worse than the pain.

The emotional aspect of physical fatigue is depression.

Of course, fatigue and depression are complex, and self-help guidelines such as these can’t possibly address your unique individual issues.  I also recommend that you consult your personal physician, nutritionist, or mental health professional as appropriate.

I recommend two self-help strategies.  One is a simple method to address distortions of your mood.  The second involves tested sleep strategies to improve the quantity and quality of sleep.

I’ll describe the first of these strategies in this article and the second in a subsequent one.

Rewrite Your Mood

You’ll engage in a daily practice by which you’ll learn to literally rewrite your mood.  It will only take you at most 20 minutes a day, so fix a consistent daily time to practice your mood rewriting.

Write down up to four sentences that describe a negative aspect of your emotional experience.  For instance, if you’re having a really miserable day, you might write: “I have so much pain I can’t stand it”, or “Today I didn’t even feel like getting out of bed in the morning,”  or “There’s no one who even cares how I feel.”

Leave a few blank lines between each statement.  It’s okay if you have only one or two sentences you want to write.  But limit yourself to a maximum of four.

Next to each statement, assign a number from 1 to 10 that measures how strongly you’re feeling that emotion.

Then, below each sentence, write a counter-balancing sentence.  For instance, if you wrote “I have so much pain I can’t stand it,” your counter-balancing sentence could be “I have a lot of pain, but the medication I’m taking does alleviate the pain a little.” Or you could write, “I’m in intense pain today, but tomorrow may not be this bad.”

Your counter-balancing sentence doesn’t have to totally wipe away the negative feeling.  Don’t pretend everything is wonderful if it isn’t.  Just write something that modifies or brings perspective to your situation, even if only a little.

Then save your work.  You’re finished for the day.  You’ll repeat the exercise again the next day.

Too often, negative emotions try to take over your entire being.  As grim as your circumstances might be, there will still be some glimmer of positivity in your situation.  By consistently bringing your awareness to balancing thoughts, you’ll soon find that your negative thoughts hold less sway over your psyche.

Dr. Lavine has been an innovator in the use of movement and touch to promote health since 1981. He practices in New York City and Princeton, NJ.


Deepen Your Body of Knowledge

Exercise treatment for depression

Are antidepressants effective?


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Ask Dr. Lavine about….

the cat-cow stretch can help with low back pain

Five star chiropractor


8 best self-care tips for the health of your spine

To claim your free guide, simply enter your email address below.

You'll also be joining Dr. Lavine's e-mail list for periodic updates filled with useful health information and self-care strategies.

We value your privacy and will never spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Thank you! Please Check your inbox to validate your email

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share this post with your friends!