Living with Chronic Pain
How to Find Joy While Living with Chronic Pain
Joy is defined as a feeling of happiness and pleasure; however, individuals living with chronic pain often find it challenging to experience joy. Dealing with chronic pain frequently results in a variety of struggles and frustrations. It may seem unimaginable to be happy unless the pain disappears.
It is possible to feel joyful, despite chronic pain, by consciously practicing. Below are seven ways to find joy while living with chronic pain.
- Separate joy from circumstances. Joy can occur regardless of the situation surrounding a person. It is not dependent on circumstances, but rather on creating and experiencing joyful thoughts, even when struggling. An individual can find joy while still acknowledging and respecting the fact that they are in pain.
- Make the decision to choose joy. Joy is found when consciously looking for it and cultivating it daily. Although this takes practice, joy is a choice individuals make, despite the pain.
- Practice gratitude. Feelings of gratitude are likely to lead to feelings of joy. Keeping a gratitude journal, and writing down three things each day to be grateful for, is a good way to practice gratitude. Examples include being grateful for a friend who ran an errand during a pain flare-up, sunshine that followed a few cloudy days, or a comfortable bed in which to rest.
- Connect with others. Connecting with others is a great way to build happiness. Spending time with family members and friends, or meeting new people, can contribute to joy and help individuals focus on happiness instead of pain.
- Make time for joy-filled activities. When living with chronic pain, it is important to identify and regularly participate in activities that bring joy. For example, listening to favorite music, painting or drawing, spending time in nature, or simply watching the sunrise can bring joy.
- Do something for others. Volunteering, donating to charity, or performing a simple act of kindness can be very uplifting. Offering a genuine smile to a stranger can also increase happiness. Being kind to others reminds individuals that there is still good in the world.
- Cultivate a sense of humor. It is possible to laugh, even when experiencing chronic pain. While it is okay to cry, feel sad, or grieve when needed, be sure to also look for opportunities to laugh when possible. Watching funny movies or television shows, playing silly games with family members or friends, or listening to a podcast from a comedian are examples of cultivating joy by using humor.