4 Ways to Stay Motivated Through Physical Pain

June 4, 2015

4 Ways to Stay Motivated Through Physical PainA few years ago, I tracked my headaches for 30 days in a row. They’d start mid-morning and by evening I’d often cry myself to sleep. Worried I might have something seriously wrong with me, my family told me to see a doctor.

There was nothing wrong, thank God, but the headaches continued. It was only after I quit that job that I realized my headaches had become waaaaay less frequent.

Being a massage therapist, I’m aware that our emotions can often manifest in our bodies as physical pain. Here are a few of the possible emotional diagnoses for headaches:

If your head hurts on top, at the forehead, or feels like it could burst – You ask a lot of yourself and accuse yourself of not being this or that. You accumulate a lot internally and fear other people’s judgment. You are afraid of leading the way. You try too hard to understand everything.*

Headaches prevent us from thinking clearly and distance us from who we want to be. They remind us to let go of our mental activity, to stop wanting to understand everything, and just be ourselves.*

*paraphrased from Your Body is Telling you: Love Yourself


Lately I’ve woken with a constant dull pressure, like someone has stuffed bricks in my shoulders and smashed my neck’s vertebra while I slept.

We all know that when we don’t feel physically well, we don’t function at our highest level of brilliance. If our pain is chronic and drags on, it can take a toll on our emotional state, and wear us down.

This morning as I was feeling irritated and sorry for myself, I read an article about how to-do lists are often selfish. This reminded me of someone I know, who suffers migraines daily. They can’t be treated because the person’s brain was damaged from a past abuse. This smart individual lives with migraines every single day, that won’t go away, yet has a ridiculously busy schedule, continuously moving forward.

We all have things we could dwell on or point to as the reasons/excuses why we weren’t able to do x, y, or z. And yet, many of history’s greatest people have come from adversity. Instead of accepting adversity as their limits, they used their circumstances to move forward and to push themselves above their pasts.

People everywhere experience suffering, but the great people are the ones who don’t allow themselves to be held down. They are the ones who see their future clearer than they see their past. They are the ones who rise above poverty, disorder, abuse, circumstance, or pain, and continue to move forward. They don’t let these things stop them from doing amazing things in the world.

If the person with daily migraines can wake up and face life with gusto, then I can too. I’m not different or special because I’ve had some form of suffering. I can either use it as an excuse or I can be kind to myself and use it to move me forward, anyway.

If you suffer from acute or chronic pain, you’re not alone. But let’s not allow it to steal the things you want from life, or the ways you desire to make the world better. Here are 4 things you can do:

1. Find a mentor

Find someone you admire, whether a live person or someone from history. Learn their story and what they overcame. Then remind yourself, “If they can do it, so can I.”

Check out these examples of great people in history who’ve overcome something.

2. Do what you can

Lavish yourself with love and attend to your needs, but pull yourself out of the pity party. Find one small thing daily you can do to move forward toward your goals and dreams.

3. Do it anyway

There will always be reasons not to do something. There are valid excuses. Lovingly guide yourself forward with the reminder of why your goal or dream is important to you.

For example: I write because I’m curious about the world and fascinated with the experience of things. I like to unravel disorder and what makes us tick. I enjoy sharing my musings with others because it reminds me of who I want to be, and sparks new thoughts for other curious people.

4. Move your body

If possible, get up and move. It’s been proven that taking walks outdoors is more effective in treating mild to moderate depression than medicine.

Moving our bodies releases endorphins, the body’s feel-good chemical, and combats stagnation of the blood and our energy flow. Plus, deep breaths of fresh air can actually cure headaches. See: Breathe Deep and Relieve Your Headache.

Moving the body also allows our thoughts to move, which often results in a more positive outlook on life.

You can do it. Keep that forward locomotion. Choochoo.

People are great not because of their circumstances, but in spite of them.

With Love,
Z 🙂

4 Ways to Stay Motivated Through Physical Pain


Also by Z: 5 Ways to Overcome Clutter and Feel Empowered

2 Things to Trust When Life Isn’t Going Well

Related: On Dealing with Physical Injury and Recovery

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Photo: Mislav Marohnić via Flickr; japp1967 via Flickr

Z Zoccolante is an author, actress, and fairytale dreamer. As a coach, she specializes in uncluttering and defragging the mind. Her debut memoir will one day help others, who are trying to recover from eating disorders, attain happiness and freedom. Originally from Hawai’i, she now lives in LA. Visit her blog at zzoccolante.com.


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