Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Fear/Tension/Pain Cycle

Last night we went to our first child birth class.

At one point, we were talking about the pain of labor, and a lot of people expressed their fears of labor. So the instructor showed us this cool little diagram:

As she explained how fear of something increases body tension, which in turn increases pain, I was like WHOA. Obviously this pertains to labor, but holy cow does this apply to other fears and pains in my life.

I have a lot of fears. I discussed this with my counselor yesterday, and while he agreed that I have a lot of fears, he helped me realize that most of my fears are not irrational. They are based on previous experience. That's not really the point. The point is that I do let my fears rule me from time to time. And most of my fears are actually of my perception of future pain.

Apparently by allowing myself to fret in fear, I allow the pain to be worse than it might actually be.

I wrote a post about some of my fears back in September. In fact, I've written a few posts about fears, and you can read them here (at least the ones I tagged with fear).

As I read back over my posts about certain fears and reflect back on those situations, I can see how allowing my fears to take over has caused deeper pain in the end. And it truly is because the psychological fears have a physical effect on me that causes both deeper physical and emotional pain.

As I talked to my counselor yesterday and realized I don't actually let myself be ruled by fears, I discovered the progress I'm making. I am halted by fears, certainly, but I don't remember the last time I was actually dictated by my fears. I'm learning how to cope with the fears better, which has allowed me to have much better resiliency and less pain as a result of certain challenges I'm facing. It's amazing.

I thought this diagram was a perfectly simple explanation of this process I've been discovering about fear. It really helped me to see it spelled out like this, and I hope it can help someone else as well.

My birth instructor last night said, "Remember, fear increases pain. Knowledge decreases pain."

May we all gain the knowledge we need to make it through these battles we are fighting:

Knowledge of our Savior.
Knowledge of the addiction.
Knowledge of our divinity.
Knowledge of our worth.
Knowledge of our beauty.
Knowledge of what it means to love.
Knowledge of true friendship.
Knowledge of the truth.

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