Dr. Ellen Langer: When we get a diagnosis, we tend to hold it still. Then we assume that it’s going to stay that way or get worse. People hear the word ‘chronic' as ‘uncontrollable' or ‘incurable.' Nothing in and of itself is incurable. All that means is that we haven’t yet found the way to cure it.
So you can start off by saying, “well, the medical world doesn’t have a cure for me, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t come up with one myself.” So how do you do this? The simplest way is to recognize that no matter what the symptom, pain or anything else, the symptom will change over the course of the day. The symptom changes hour to hour, day to day, week to week.
And so what we need to do is tune into those changes and ask, “why now am I in less pain than I was in a moment before?” Then the search begins. As you look to find a reason for this, three things happen. First, in doing the search for, “how is now different than before,” you’re being mindful and mindfulness itself is good for your health. Second, when you can figure out when the pain is better or worse you can actually exert some control over what you’re doing. And third, you’re much more likely to find a cure when you are actually looking for one.
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