1. Set the emotional thermostat.
A person in pain often feels fear and anxiety. It’s easy to catch the chaos. You help the most when you keep the calm rather than catch the chaos.
Emotions drive motion. You make the best choices about chronic pain from a calm state.
Fear-based choices are like athletes playing not to loose; calm, considered choices are like athletes playing to win.
Set your emotional thermostat to “calm.”
I was a wet-behind-the-ears medical student new to the hospital wards when I heard the announcement for the code. A patient was having a heart attack. My own heart pounded as I raced up the stairs. By the time I arrived at the cardiac arrest, the room was a sea of white coats.
I stood next to my teaching resident leaning against the wall. He looked at me and asked, “What’s the very first thing you do when you arrive at a code?”
He said, “First, take your own pulse.” His message: Keep the calm.