When my endometriosis pain flares up, I feel frustrated and upset with myself because I'm not able to do everything I want to do. What can I do?
Endometriosis pain and other symptoms can be upsetting, stirring up negative emotions. One coping technique you can try is positive self-talk.
What is self-talk?
Self-talk is the stream of thoughts that run through your head every day. Some people refer to this as automatic thinking. Your automatic thoughts may be positive or negative. Like stress, negative self-talk can have negative effects on your health. But adopting positive thinking may help ease the emotional and mental effects of endometriosis.
Positive self-talk is based on logic and reason. Negative self-talk may stem from misconceptions and misinformation. Positive self-talk is something you can learn, but it takes some practice.
How to practice positive self-talk
The goal of positive self-talk is to weed out misconceptions and challenge them with rational and positive thoughts. Try this approach:
- Throughout the day, stop and evaluate what you're thinking.
- Find a way to put a positive spin on any negative thoughts.
- Don't tell yourself anything that you wouldn't say to someone else.
If a negative thought enters your mind, evaluate it rationally and respond with affirmations of what's good about yourself. For instance:
|Negative or irrational beliefs
||Positive or rational beliefs
|I have no control over my happiness. Pain controls me.
||I can control my happiness. I can enjoy life regardless of pain.
|I can't handle the pain.
||Maybe a walk will distract me.
|I should be doing more. I've become a burden.
||I'm staying active and doing what I can.
|Pain is my whole life.
||Pain is not my entire life. There's more to me than my pain.
With a bit of patience and some practice, you can get yourself into the habit of positive self-talk — and that might just help make your challenging days with endometriosis a little bit easier.
Jan. 30, 2020
Tatnai Burnett, M.D.
See more Expert Answers
- Donatti L, et al. Patients with endometriosis using positive coping strategies have less depression, stress and pelvic pain. Einstein. 2017;15:65.
- Coping with chronic pain. American Psychological Association. https://www.apa.org/helpcenter/chronic-pain.aspx. Accessed Dec. 3, 2018.