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10 Important Lessons Pain Can Teach You

10 Important Lessons Pain Can Teach You

By Megan Patrick, SparkPeople Editor

When you experience pain, whether from an injury or a chronic condition, it's normal to ask "why me?," especially if you've been working hard to make healthy lifestyle changes.

It can feel totally unfair when the running program you started a few weeks ago has led to a pulled muscle or, even worse, when you receive a diagnosis of a difficult condition like fibromyalgia or arthritis. But in order to heal or learn to manage the pain, you have to let go of the anger and find a way to see pain in a more positive light. Here are 10 important lessons your body can teach you if you listen carefully to your pain.
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Don't Compare Yourself to Other People

It's so easy to fall into the trap of comparing yourself to other people in your life. It's hard not to feel jealous of the young woman in your yoga class who can touch her toes effortlessly, or your teenage daughter who can slouch lazily on the sofa for hours and never feel stiff and sore when she gets up again. But comparing yourself to others, especially in an exercise class, is a recipe for disaster.

Fitness is not a competition with the people around you--only with yourself. Your body is unique and the minute you push it too hard to live up to an artificial standard is the minute you end up with a painful injury. If you're using exercise to alleviate the pain of a chronic condition like arthritis, this lesson is even more important for you. Pushing yourself too hard will do more harm than good and will likely derail all your positive efforts.