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Pain and Negative Thoughts: Exercise

How come negative thoughts can make your pain worse? What can you do to let your thoughts help you? This week I will reflect on the role of thoughts in pain. 

Recognizing Negative Thoughts

Researchers have proven in many cases that negative thoughts make pain problems worse. Everyone suffers from negative thoughts. They often pass by so quickly that they are called 'automatic thoughts'. They come to us and go away again. Because it goes so fast, it can be difficult to see for yourself! 

Thoughts in a schedule

The first step in changing one's mind is to understand what one's thoughts are. Often a tool is used for this, a thought scheme. In this scheme you can fill in what you thought and felt, and what happened next. A short example:

  1. Event: I woke up with back pain
  2. Thought: Not again, this is never about
  3. Feeling: Bleak
  4. Behaviour: Stay in bed
  5. Consequence: I arrived late for work


Fill in this schedule this week, each day. Choose a difficult time during the day, or if you can't think of one, an earlier time. Write it all down here. You will gain more insight, and become more aware of what is going on in you at these times. 

Pain and Negative Thoughts: Exercise