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Mindful : October 2016
minor pains go unnoticed at your peril, as other pains may stick to them, causing an unsavory accumula- tion. Take time to examine and come to terms with even the tiniest pains you encounter. 7 Give joy its due Bravely facing pain—be it in small or large slices—need never be an all-consuming activity. Leading a life grounded in mindfulness involves examining pain when present, as well as making plenty of room for all the things that bring us joy. Whatever they may be for you, you can and should engage them not only when pain is absent, but when it is present, too. 8 Get contemplative Contemplative activities such as yoga, meditation, coloring, or walking in nature can activate joy by themselves, and will also support increased focus when examination of pain is required. Contemplative training also reminds you to ask yourself, “ What do I need most in this moment?” 9 Treat yourself The readiness to rise to the occasion of pain can be bolstered by an estab- lished routine of self-care. Self-nurturing habits like eating well and getting enough sleep can help sustain an attitude of calm, clear attention when the challenging circumstances related to pain set in. → 4 Dig in, and dig deep Pain has a more compli- cated personality than you think—so don’t quit the conversation at the “small talk” phase. Bring an atti- tude of interest, receptivity, and curiosity, which will prepare you to stick around for long enough to get com- fortable with the idea of discomfort. Like all conver- sations, your investigation of pain is likely to contain pauses, even long moments of rest, and will have vari- ous components, all in flux. The more you notice this, the more likely you are to understand pain’s change- able nature. 5 Letitflow Let go of the expectation that pain will pass the way you want it to, and on your timeline. Pain keeps its own counsel; luckily, you are free to do the same. Understand- ing its subtleties, all its fluc- tuating facets, will help you to experience pain less like two rocks smashing against each other, to a rock around which a river easily bends, and finally, to two streams crossing paths and continu- ing on their way. 6 Sweat the small stuff Pain is not only present in big events, like post-knee surgery or at the loss of a loved one. Pain is a real and legitimate presence even in events as small as stubbing your toe or feeling the humiliation of being cut off in traffic. Let these AD October 2016 mindful 35