Becoming Fluent, part I

I love dissecting simple things to see their complexity. But sometimes, I like thinking about complex things as simply as possible. Like what to do when your body hurts.*

Everybody hurts, at some point. Spend enough time doing anything and you'll get hurt doing it, at some point. It is one of the ways our bodies learn, and critical to keeping us safe, because it's the alarm system that let's us know when danger is near.

But it also creates a lot of strife, and keeps a lot of people from engaging with the world in a physical way. Becoming fluent in how you communicate with your body means that you are not just terrorized by the alarm, but also tuned in for the good stuff--strength, pleasure, flow--as well.

In the last couple decades, understanding of pain at the physiological level has led to a huge jump ahead in the world of "pain science". Basically, scientists have found lots of evidence that supports the notion of pain as the result of several factors interacting in the brain, resulting in a "bio-psycho-social model" of pain.*

Of course, this makes a lot of common sense: what physically happens to our body (bio), AND how we think about it (psycho), AND how others treat us (social) will all effect the actual, physical experience of pain.

At the same time, with all of those confounding factors, the potential complexity of pain can be overwhelming. Yes, sometimes there is a clear Cause and Effect (like: trip, fall, fracture wrist); but usually it's way, way more complicated. And it's more complicated mostly because how we THINK about our pain, how we manage the mental-game, actually does have a result on our physical experience.

The problem is that most of us are just not that good at managing our minds, especially when it comes to thinking about our bodies.

So, what CAN we do when our bodies hurt? I have a few ideas ;) that I will be sharing over the next few weeks, so stay tuned. You can bet they have to do with CARs, but also meditation, heavy breathing, big-ass kettlebells, and cold showers...

In the meantime, I'm curious what YOU do when something hurts? When a new pain jumps out at you, or an old pain nags, how do you think about it? How do you manage your pain-experience? How do you help others in pain?

Seriously, hit me back!

*I'm not a doctor (and I don't play one on TV), and none of this is medical advice. If you are in pain, you should be already talking to a medical professional. Then come back and read more soothing thoughts on pain science, movement and self-care :).