The Pain Toolkit Quiz

#7 Learn relaxation skills

Relaxation skills are very important for tense muscles in the body and for unwinding the mind - these could be:

  • Reading a book
  • Listening to some music
  • Gardening
  • Meeting friends for a coffee/tea
  • Going the cinema or a restaurant
  • Belly breathing (your health care professional can show you how)
  • Meditation
  • Dancing
  • Walking

Coping or self managing?

Coping with persistent pain can be like playing a game of snakes and ladders - a game of luck. Being an over achiever you can tend to do more on good days (climb the ladder) and on bad days, do less and return to bed. (This is like sliding down the snake). Self managing is taking positive, planned action which can reduce the ‘luck’ element in pain self management.

What The Experts Say

Pete Says:
Relaxation doesn't still come easy for me and have to work at it. Last year I bought myself a bicycle and found it good way to get out and about and discover more places where I live. I also found it relaxed me and as a bonus helped the osteoarthritis in my knees. View the video here for more about relaxation.
Frances Says:
Finding ways to soothe your body and mind helps change and lessen pain. Of course it can be hard to do. But new research on the mind and how it deals with pain tells us that ways to unwind helps the mind make more opioids. The opioids are chemicals that can shift some of the pain more of the time. Getting angry, frustrated, fearful and worry and stressful times, places, people and activities make your pain systems even more sensitive and so hurt more. Any kind and soothing things you can do helps; it can be knitting, colouring pictures, fishing, listening to music, self hypnosis, or deep breathing in a quiet place. So explore and discover what works for you and the best times to use it.
Bronnie Says:
We all have different activities that make us feel like time flows. Remember the last time you lost sense of how long you'd been doing something? It feels so good! Relaxation can be both physical and mental. Mini breaks to think of something you appreciate can refresh your soul. Being fully aware of your breath can suspend time. Really savouring your cuppa can take you out of your uncomfortable body.
Linda Says:
Like many busy working Mums, I made little time for relaxation when the children were small - I was always busy doing or planning something. Now I make time to do more of the things I enjoy. I've also learned a little Mindfulness which has helped and sometimes I just sit for a few minutes and listen to a relaxation App (Simply Being) on my smartphone.
Mike Says:
Relaxation is a vital part of getting going. Imagine trying to dance whilst holding everything tight. Tension does not lead to happy movements. It's also important to relax your thinking. Here's an excellent video about this.
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