What To Do If You're Not Ready To Change
In my journey of chronic pain, the one change that made the most difference was the one thing I didn't want to change. That change was adopting a gluten free diet.
This might not seem like a very big deal now, but this was six years ago, and the gluten-free lifestyle was still pretty new. Most people had never heard of "Paleo" before either, so adopting this way of eating was a chore, to say the least.
There were lots of reasons why I didn't want to go gluten free, mainly because it was going to require an enormous amount of sacrifice and adjustment on my part and that of my family. But at that point in my life, I was willing to try anything to get out of pain.
I did end up changing my life in some pretty major ways, but I had to ask myself some tough questions along the way. It can be difficult to get motivated, and even more difficult still to maintain that motivation through the ups and downs of lifestyle changes.
If you are still on the fence about how much effort you want to invest in changing your lifestyle to reduce your headaches, then here are a few questions to consider about the journey ahead. I recommend devoting some quality time to thinking about these questions at length. Block out some time to sit and journal, talk with a spouse or friend, or do some artwork. If you do, you will be much better prepared and ready for whatever you decide.
- What would it cost me to change? Think about it. If you had to do something crazy like giving up gluten or becoming a yoga fanatic, what would it really cost you? What would you have to give up? You may not entirely know what these lifestyle changes might entail, but what are you afraid to give up? What are the components of your current life that you'd rather not alter? Give yourself permission to be as honest and transparent as you need to be.
- What would it cost me to stay the same? This one also requires some courageous honesty. If you don't make any changes, then what will your current lifestyle require of you? What do you have to give up everyday by being in pain? The cost of change is great, but sometimes the cost of staying the same is even greater.
- What am I afraid of? Go ahead and indulge your anxiety on this one. My greatest fear was that I would try a bunch of disruptive lifestyle changes and still be hopelessly in pain at the end of it all. I had to acknowledge this fear before I could move passed it. So be transparent about your fears. They exist to protect and guide you, so let them go ahead and do their job for a few minutes. Then you can decide what to do about them.
- What would my life look like if headaches didn't dominate my existence? The reality is that everyone gets headaches from time to time, and they'll probably never go away completely. Yet there's a big difference between everyday and once in a while, and that difference is a life. What would that life look like for you? What would you like to do with all that energy and freedom? How bad do you want it?
- What might my pain be trying to tell me? This is something we'll address in greater detail later, but I want you to give this some thought. Pain is your body's way of communicating with you. It is your body giving you a head's up that something is wrong. You may not know the answer to this question yet, but give it a try. What might your body be trying to tell you by way of headaches?
The good news is that there is a world of possibility out there once you are open to change. It is a difficult journey, but your willingness and openness are half the battle. You still may not be ready, but in the meantime, you can still learn and explore. The more knowledge you acquire, the more prepared you will be when you find yourself ready for change.