When you change your relationship with pain, your pain changes too
Kjersti Ane Østvik
Are you struggling with chronic pain or other persistent physical symptoms? Do you feel stressed or overwhelmed?
Believe me, I know where you're at because I have been there too. I know how lonely, exhausted, sad, desperate, afraid and overwhelmed you can feel in the face of physical pain and the stress that often accompanies it. I also know that you are doing your best and that none of it is in any way caused by you. The pain we feel is real however it shows up and whatever you think about it. Whether there is an obvious physical injury, or something we can't see, the pain we feel is never imagined in any way. Our brain is just doing a very good job protecting us, and sometimes it overprotects by sending pain even if an apparent tissue damage is no longer there. If that is the case, the protection may be about something else in your life that is out of balance.
I hope you can see the hope in this! Your brain is an incredible computer, and to know more about how it works is what can give you a different and easier experience of life. Everything becomes easier to handle when we understand how it works. Pain as well. And although pain is never to be ignored, fearing it, resisting it or being hypervigilant about it, will not change it. Understanding will.
I want to tell you that there is hope despite how hopeless it may look to you now. There is hope of experiencing less pain and stress by seeing something universal about how the human mind works, what pain and stress are and how your brain is always trying to protect you in the best way it knows how.
My reason for wanting to share this with you is because of what has changed in my own life after trying everything I came across to feel less pain and stress. The physical tension was through the roof and I didn't know how to get away from it. I had no trust in my body and tension and pain kept building as I was trying to hold myself together. I felt as if I was breaking apart and it all felt scary and hopeless. Pain and different emotions will show up because it is part of the human experience, but you don't have to be so defined by them when you know how it works.
If you are struggling with pain or stress I hope you find something useful and hopeful here. Life is truly never hopeless despite how it may look or feel. You are truly never broken despite how it may look or feel. I believe there is a part of us that is unbreakable no matter what life throws at us.
you could experience less pain? What would that mean to you?
pain and symptoms are messages to be gently listened to instead of trying to push away? And that being curious about what pain is will make pain feel less solid?
you could stop being so afraid when pain shows up?
Learning how and why our brain sends us pain is useful and can change our relationship with pain. It's like having lived locked inside a tight cage and suddenly realising that the door is open. That is empowering!
Stress is often a part of the mix when we experience chronic conditions, whether it is pain or anything else, and it often makes symptoms worse. I think anyone who has experienced any chronic condition knows this. It's not enough though to know that stress is a contributing factor. When we think stress is coming from outside circumstances we feel out of control and helpless. When we see that the feeling of stress is mentally created by our brains it makes it easier to navigate. We can teach our nervous system to be more at ease with anything that shows up when we know how the system works. Less stress equals less pain and symptoms. It's all part of the same system. When your mind calms down, your body does too. I don't expect you to take my word for it - explore for yourself! Feel what's going on in your body when your mind is racing!
We are made to be in fight or flight mode for only a short period of time. When we are constantly stressed, the whole system takes the punch. Our bodies are always communicating with us and sending us feedback. At first the messages can be subtle, but when we don't listen, our bodies will scream at us to do something differently.
When we learn what causes us to feel stressed, we become empowered and can start living a life with less tension and pain. And this is not to say that people don't have challenging and less than optimal circumstances, they certainly do, but the experience of anything is always projected to us by our brains and never comes directly from anything outside of us.
The true healer is greater understanding
- Angus Ross
All we are is peace, love and wisdom, and the power to create the illusion that we're not. Jack Pransky
What if this is really true? What would be the implications for you if it is? It is worth considering and reflecting on.
My name is Kjersti Ane Østvik and I'm a mum of two, a wife, a cat owner, a reader, a writer, a food lover and a Dr. Amy Johnson Certified Change Coach. I would love to be your companion and guide on your path to discover how pain and stress works. It is lifechanging to discover how many resources we have built-in to our design. What if wellbeing is something that we're all born with as part of the energy of life that we're all made of and connected through? What if it is possible to look beyond our psychology?
After all, are we without natural resources to live life? It's what we're here to do. I think our design comes with some built-in tools to help us navigate.
What do you think?
If you're anything like me, you have already tried every approach there is to experience less pain and stress. And almost everything I've tried has had some impact, but in my experience real and lasting change happens when something fundamental shifts in us, from the inside out. What would it be like to look at yourself from the perspective of health rather than from a perspective of what is seemingly lacking? What if you can experience peace and a sense of balance, despite physical symptoms, diagnoses or pain? Healing may be about more than the pure physical side of things.
What if deep, lasting change does not start with changing your behaviour?
If you’ve tried everything but nothing has led to the sustainable change you want…
it’s time to look in a different direction. Dr. Amy Johnson
Click the button to go a podcast episode where I talk about pain with Dr. Amy Johnson on her podcast Changeable.
It's worth a listen to learn a bit more about pain and symptoms.
This button is linked to the course on chronic pain that we talk about in the podcast.
What is a Certified Change Coach?
I am a graduate of Dr. Amy Johnson's Change Coach Training Program. Her course is based on a new paradigm in health that taps into our natural, innate wellbeing and resilience. A Change Coach goes through extensive training and is taught how to help you break free from your habitual thinking by seeing how all humans work on a universal level.
I would be honoured to explore with you how your mind works to protect you against perceived threats, and how you can see through that and not be taken along for the ride every time your brain tells a story, whether it is about pain, the future, you or anything else. As you begin to gain more clarity you will see a shift in your perspective and discover that you are so much more than your busy mind.
The iceberg analogy
I love Dr. Amy Johnson's iceberg analogy to explain how lasting change can happen by changing your understanding of the mind. If you compare your pain and stress to an iceberg, this approach can help you increase the temperature of the water to begin melting the ice, instead of chipping away at it from the top. Lasting change comes from the inside out by seeing something new and profound that changes how you view yourself. It is going beyond the psychology of your mind.
A change in perspective
Change can start in the safe space of a friendly conversation. Together we'll explore how we all work as human beings and where our experience of life is coming from. What if our experience of life is always presented to us through our thoughts and mental activity? What if what we see is not really what is out there in the world or in our bodies, but a projection of what is there as our brain interprets it for us moment to moment?
What if your persistent pain and physical symptoms are kind messages rather than something to be afraid of? Pain and symptoms that persist aren't always about something physically wrong, but could point you to look somewhere deeper
Please send me a message if you have any questions or reflections you want to share. I would love to hear your story and how you see life. You can also drop me a message if you would like to explore what working with me one-to-one might look like
A testimonial from one of my lovely clients
Coaching with Kjersti was always a beautiful experience for me. Her presence creates a beautiful atmosphere of peace and acceptance that causes your mind to calm down completely and makes you see there are no problems in your life. Her insights into states of anxiety and fear have helped me to see much more for myself and have deepened my sense of peace and trust in life. Kjersti uses her own experiences with chronic pain and anxiety and her knowledge of science and understanding , which is why sessions with her are so powerful and authentic. Her story and coaching gives you hope that nothing in life is lost and change is possible in any circumstance of life. I am very grateful to have met Kjersti.
Jitka Hanzova, Czech Republic
There are more testimonials on the testimonials page
Look deep into nature and you will understand everything better.