The first step to overcoming limiting beliefs or expectations related to pain is to become aware of them – to notice them. This guided exercise aims to help you deepen your understanding of the expectations you hold about your own pain.
With that in mind, we invite you to consider the following questions to help you identify when you expect pain to occur or worsen:
Reflect on these questions and note any patterns or triggers. Recognize that your brain learns through association, linking triggers with automatic responses to serve your needs. Pain works similarly: when the brain associates a stimulus with pain (or the expectation of pain), it perceives that stimulus as unsafe and increases pain in response.
Next, consider the following questions to help you identify where you expect pain to occur:
Many people experience pain in areas they injured long ago – not because the area is still physically weak or damaged, but because the brain has learned to be extra protective of these parts of the body. Our expectations and beliefs reinforce this over-protectiveness, encouraging the brain to remain on guard.
Over the coming days, we encourage you to reflect on the questions from Parts 1 and 2:
There's no need to pass judgment on any answers that arise. This exercise is simply about increasing awareness. Pay attention to when expectations arise and any thoughts, emotions, or pain that accompany them.