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How to Lose Your Fear of Pain (Your Resistance to Pain is What HURTS the Most)

When pain shows up – what do you do? 

There are typically two “camps” people fall into when pain comes knocking:

  1. You try to “conquer” it, either by enduring or ignoring it, pushing through and otherwise acting tough and fearless. 
  2. You shrink your world by avoiding activities that trigger the pain, all the while hoping the pain will take care of itself and just disappear if you don’t go looking for it. 

Conquering the pain with the tactics mentioned above and shrinking your world only “work” for so long though. 

When you use the conquer technique, you may end up severely injured because you ignored early warning signs (when you could have easily healed a minor injury and prevented a major one), or you could even develop some an autoimmune condition through these strategies of numbing/enduring pain. 

What happens in the long run is really dependent on your history of trauma, your pain psychology, your mindset, subconscious beliefs and physical health. 

When you shrink your world, you adopt a belief that pain is to be avoided and this can insidiously creep into the rest of your life too. 

I’m speaking from experience here; I shrank my world for 6 years in my late teens and twenties due to my fear of physical and emotional pain. I stopped running first, then stopped hiking, stopped crying or feeling much of anything and became very numb to life. When I finally started feeling again, it was a tsunami of pain because I had a lot of catching up to do. Trust me – it’s better to just feel it in the moment. 

There’s a third option that will not only help you lose your fear of pain, but help you lose the pain far faster than either of the options above. 

When pain shows up, CURIOSITY becomes your superpower. 


Curiosity can “cure” most pain, in the sense that you can discover the root cause, give your body what it needs and move on with your life pretty quickly. 

When your body gives you pain, it’s not for no reason; your body doesn’t hate you, it’s not betraying you or trying to irritate you. 

When your body gives you pain, it has sensed that something is wrong and it’s asking for your attention. The faster you give your attention – hopefully through curiosity – the faster you can get out of pain and feel less of it. 

I’ve discovered from personal experience and working with people in pain since 2008 that pain is only scary when we don’t understand it or know what to do about it. 

Pain stops feeling scary when we understand what it is, why it’s happening and what we can do about it in order to help our body heal. 


Here’s my recommended “formula” for losing your fear of pain:

  1. Be with the pain. This doesn’t “endure it” or strongarm your way through it. Being with your pain means feeling it fully, without resistance. Let it be. Let it talk to you. 
  2. Commit to getting to know yourself and your body. Get to know yourself at every level: mind, body and spirit. Learn about your body. It’s NOT as complicated and foreign as it’s often made out to be by medical experts and western philosophy that tells us our bodies belong in the domain of clinical experts, doctors who spent years learning in higher education. NO – you can get to know your body on your own terms, and fairly quickly if you’re committed. Learn about your subconscious, limiting beliefs, past traumas and your emotional landscape. Get to know yourself so well that nothing you feel on any given day, joyful or painful, scares you – because it’s familiar. 
  3. Confront your fears. WHY is pain scary to you? Are you afraid you’ll lose your health, your ability to perform a sport or your vitality? Are you afraid of your world shrinking, so instead you endure pain determined never to let pain “win?” (Hint: pain always wins in the end..it’s just a matter of time before it catches up to us). Often, our fears are unfounded or totally unconscious. You may not even know why you’re afraid of pain, it’s just an automatic reaction. Maybe you learned to be afraid of pain from your parents, or your culture. 
  4. Repeat steps 1-3. This is a PRACTICE. Losing your fear of pain typically doesn’t happen overnight. It’s not something you just decide one day (though this might work for some very decisive people out there). You train yourself to stop fearing pain by repeating the process above. Eventually (and faster than you think), you’ll realize you’re not afraid of pain anymore. 

Deep in the wilderness of the Teton Mountains, July 7th 2014…this day is forever ingrained in my memory, because that’s the day I realized deep in my bones and my heart that my lifelong fear of pain was GONE. Not just temporarily gone because I wasn’t feeling pain, no; the fear was utterly, totally BANISHED from my being and I knew I’d never feel it again. No pain scared me any longer; not mine or yours or anyone’s. 

I was hiking alone in the wilderness when the realization hit me, and I was so overcome with gratitude that I fell to my knees and cried. True story. I had spent a lifetime filled with pain, intensely afraid that it would swallow me whole and I’d never know joy, or peace or freedom. 

At age 33 I found freedom from the fear of pain, which (in my experience) is more liberating than freedom from pain itself. You can banish pain a lot of different ways, but the fear of it can take root and grow and infest your mindset from the inside out. Ironically – the less you fear pain, the less of it you feel. 

That same year – 2014 – I decided it was time to go online and share everything I’d learned about pain and freedom, and Mobility Mastery was born that fall. 

My mission with Mobility Mastery from the day I started it was to first and foremost help you learn to trust your body and lose your fear of pain. 

I hope this video and blog can help you make headway towards that goal. 

XO

Elisha 

About the Author Elisha Celeste

My name is Elisha and I am a pain advocate. For someone who “gets people out of pain” (and quickly, too) that may sound backwards. Hang with me for a moment. We’ve become extremely pain averse in the modern world and I believe it’s costing us our health and freedom. I believe the fastest path to physical, psychological and emotional freedom (which are ALL connected) happens when we get curious about our pain instead of reactive to it. In other words, when we stop fixating on getting out of pain and instead turn towards it with curiosity, pain can reveal how we’re moving through life and where we are out of integrity with ourselves (physically, mentally, emotionally etc). Then we have a choice: accept the pain of where we are, or choose the pain that comes with growing.

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