Pain: “Eventually It Will Subside”

LWNL peoples I hope life is treating you well and thank you for stopping by!

I love this whole video of Meb Keflezighi: Training for the Marathon. If you fast-forward it to 2:50, that is where the audio of Eric Thomas starts his motivational speech on the topic of overcoming pain to reach success. Emotionally powerful and moving. Not to mention that Meb is an amazing model of what a true sportsman, athlete, family man, and believer ought to be like. SN: If you have not read his book yet “Run To Overcome” you are missing out.

Pain is defined as: 

pain  (pn) n.

1. An unpleasant sensation occurring in varying degrees of severity as a consequence of injury, disease, or emotional disorder. 

2. Suffering or distress.

In one of my last blog posts I quoted Lou Pinella, “You have to learn how to get comfortable with being uncomfortable,” and that is exactly what mindfulness training and mental skills training is about – teaching yourself that your body, mind, and soul can overcome mental barriers of perceived pain (emotional and physical). I intentionally say “perceived pain” because science has taught us that the sensational pain we experience is directly related to our perception (thoughts, feelings, attention) of the pain. Basically, the more attention and focus on the area of pain the higher our perceived pain level. This is exactly why it is of benefit for athletes to incorporate formal mental skills training/conditioning into their physical training.  Applying mindfulness skills with the standard set of mental skills such as imagery, positive self-talk, relaxation, etc. has  increased my tolerance of pain, as well as my sense of control of where I put my focus and attention in training/racing situations. They are by no means a “quick fix” or “magic formula” for managing pain because it takes a good amount of practice but the benefits are far worth it. You get out what you put into it.

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When Eric Thomas says, “Eventually it (the pain) will subside” it does! Anything we give our attention to has power over us, and our bodies, thoughts, and emotions are no different. If we give attention to the painful aspects of sport we will allow it to have power over us. If we give our attention to the painful aspects of life…guess what? It will have power over us. BUT if we give attention to the areas that we are executing well, the things that we are doing right, and our inherent worthiness as a person then those things WILL have power over us.

You do not have to live a life where the negative things have power over you, or one in which painful past performances denominate your ability to enjoy sport and training. All it takes is the willingness, practice, and commitment to face the pain and stop the cycle of avoidance. 

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If you are interested in developing your mental skills and increasing your tolerance for pain feel free to contact me for a free consultation.

Coming Soon: Dr. G and Davis Wheelworks will be teaming up for a one night only training on this topic in April 2013. Details coming soon!

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Dr. Gloria Petruzzelli

Dr. Petruzzelli is sport and performance psychologist and mindfulness meditation teacher located in Sacramento, California and works with elite sport teams and athletes across the country. She is competitive athlete herself and enjoys practicing what she preaches.