ABSTRACT
Brain science has discovered the root of chronic pain – IN THE BRAIN! How we frame situations is responsible for emotional health. Everyone determines whether they are happy or miserable! Provides examples of how framing destroys happiness, and how to re-frame destructive language to that which creates happiness and joy.
ARTICLE

There is a single word you can – and probably do – use to make yourself miserable. This word makes one unhappy with a life, a spouse, a job, a daily routine – in fact, with everything it touches. If you are determined to be miserable all the days of your life, sprinkle this word liberally in all your thoughts, plans, and reactions!

The powerful word to destroy your happiness? SHOULD.

In 12-step programs, use of this word is called “Should-y thinking”. Should is an instant short hand to reject everything in life, to judge life lacking and insufficient. The following chart gives some examples of how it does its dark magic:

Event Should Destruction Thoughts or Words
Spend a warm, balmy day
at the beach The sun should be out (alternative. There should be more cloud cover). I should have chosen a different day.

Your team comes in
second in the playoffs They should have won.

Your spouse makes a
special effort to help
you with a chore S/he should always do that anyway.

You get extra-special
great service from a vendor It should always be like that! I’m the customer!

A bad back, shoulder, or
knee flares into pain My body should support what I want to do!

A much-loved person dies. I should have had their love all my life.

SHOULD works to instantly rob every victory of sweetness, to sour every moment. Entire books have been written on the power of gratitude, but they could all be summed up as “Stop SHOULDING on yourself”!

One woman was determined to change her spoken words to support a joy-filled life. She adopted “Cancel” as the cue that should-y thinking was present. If an inadvertent SHOULD slithered into her speech, she would instantly exclaim “Cancel! Cancel!” And express her gratitude for some aspect of the situation.
See how this approach can change a day, an experience, a life:

Event Should Destruction
Thoughts or Words Gratitude statement

Spend a warm,
balmy day at
the beach The sun should be out
(alternative. There
should be more cloud cover).
I should have chosen a
different day. I’m happy to live
where I can visit the beach.

Your team comes
in second in the
playoffs They should have won I’m so happy we made the playoffs.

Your spouse makes
a big effort to
help you with a
chore S/he should always do
that anyway Thank you for helping! It made
this job much easier.

You get extra-
special great
service from a
vendor It should always be like
that! I’m the customer! Thank you for your help!
(followed by a call to the manager).

A bad back,
shoulder, or knee
flares into pain My body should support
what I want to do! I can find another way to accomplish this.

A much-loved
person dies. I should have had their
love all my life. I’m so grateful I had their love as long as I did.

Should-y thinking has great power to destroy. Look back on every moment of disappointment, despair, pain and anger – and find the “should-y” thinking at the root. Pollyanna had a point – her elimination of “should” made a life of joy and grace possible.

Current research on chronic pain shows that pain originates in the brain, and must be controlled from there if there is to be relief. Therefore, the current treatment is to teach that “what you resist persists” and that pain can be reduced and borne only by rejecting should-y thinking, and learning to work with the pain, rather than engaging in a constant war with the body and brain! All those old sayings in 12-step programs are now being proved by scientific brain scans and experimentation!

Science now says you can put the opioids down and go back to the mindfulness meditation classes -- and be happy!

Source material:

Seven Things You Should Know About Pain Science by Todd Hargrove https://www.bettermovement.org/blog/2010/seven-things-you-should-kn...

Translational Pain Research: From Mouse to Man. Kruger L, Light AR, editors. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press/Taylor & Francis; 2010.

BIO
Tess Pender is an ordained Interfaith Minister, active in 12-step programs for over thirty years. Her spiritual practice began with Native American Sweat Lodges, and continued with a series of Vision Quests. She led a Teen Spiritual Education Program, and regularly teaches classes on accessing intuition. She practices Earth-Centered Spirituality. She can be reached on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Rev-Tess-Interfaith-Minister-1333335763419...

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Comment by Kathy Custren on April 25, 2017 at 5:03pm

Hi, Tess - lots of good stuff here; it's being forwarded for inclusion in an upcoming edition with our thanks ~ Blessings!

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