Certified Life Coach Juli Hicks explains the pain of suffering

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By Juli Hicks, Certified Life Coach

Recently, I have dealt with pain in my wrists and shoulders. When I have a flare-up, it is aggravated by something I love…yoga. Yoga is how I reset my mind, soothe my nerves, nourish my body and connect with my community. When I can’t practice, I suffer.

But I have learned that it’s not the actual pain or the fact that I can’t practice that is causing my suffering. It’s the way I’m thinking about it.

I’ve created a “story” about not being able to practice with thoughts like, “If I can’t practice, my health will deteriorate,” and, “If my health deteriorates, I cannot coach other women to greater well-being.”

I let my mind layer a lot of mental suffering on top of the physical pain.

Here is how I gain authority and clean up my thinking:

  1. Accept the experience. Byron Katie said, “You are not suffering because of the thing you are experiencing. You suffer because you think what is happening to you is not supposed to be happening.” I suffer less when I accept what is.
  2. Move from self-criticism to self-compassion. Self-criticism adds to stress and anxiety, which never leads to anything good. Self-compassion does the opposite. It encourages creative solutions.
  3. Download thoughts. I take the dialogue in my head and put it on paper. This allows me to identify thoughts that are working against me.
  4. Choose more productive thoughts. I replace each negative thought with one that leads to a better feeling and positive action. Whenever I get stuck, I draw on the wisdom of tennis great Arthur Ashe: “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”

What’s causing you unnecessary suffering? Call me. Together we can begin changing your story.

Juli Hicks is a certified Life Coach. Contact her or sign up for her Flourishing after 50 program at JuliHicks.com.