Do Little, Often

Principle 2: Applying gradual exposure for lasting change.

The "do little, often" approach is a crucial aspect of pacing. It encourages you to gradually expose yourself to pain triggers in small, manageable doses, which helps retrain your brain to interpret these experiences as non-threatening. This method can ultimately change the way your brain perceives and processes pain. Here are some insights and examples to help you understand and apply the "do little, often" principle:

The science of gradual exposure

When you repeatedly expose yourself to pain triggers in a controlled manner, you're essentially rewiring your brain's pain-processing pathways. This process, known as neuroplasticity, allows your brain to adapt and form new connections, eventually reducing your sensitivity to pain.

Start small

Begin by identifying a pain trigger, such as physical activity, and start with a small, manageable dose. For instance, if walking is difficult, try walking to the end of your driveway and back. As you gradually increase the distance over time, your brain will learn that this activity is safe, and you'll gain confidence in your ability to move without pain.

Monitor your progress

Keep track of your progress by recording the duration, intensity, or distance of your activities. This practice will help you notice improvements and motivate you to continue pushing your limits, within the safe boundaries of pacing.

Incorporate a variety of activities

To maximize the benefits of the "do little, often" approach, consider incorporating various activities that challenge your pain triggers. This could include gentle stretching, light strength training, or even deep breathing exercises. By addressing multiple triggers, you can foster greater resilience and pain management skills.

Be patient and consistent

Remember that changing your brain's perception of pain takes time and consistent effort. Be patient with yourself, and don't expect immediate results. Stay committed to the "do little, often" principle, and you'll gradually notice improvements in your pain tolerance and overall quality of life.