The Zone, Vol 45: Processing the Pain

by The ParaDocs

February 8, 2021

The Zone Weekly with paraDocs

How do we process the pain resulting from living through lockdowns and loss?

In Volume 45 of this guest series, psychotherapist Dr. Francis L. Battisti and nutritionist Dr. Helen Battisti address how reflecting on yesterday will help us prepare for tomorrow.

For over 10 years, they have worked closely with us on aging concerns and have presented many webinars and in-person workshops. Their newsletter, The Zone, is a weekly mental health and nutrition tip sheet during times of change.

As our neighborhoods, communities, states, country and the world continue to re-open, all of us will be responding to this in different ways.  Much like the difference between the Morning Glory, that opens during the day with the sun, and the Evening Primrose, which only blooms at night, while both are beautiful flowers, they possess different adaptive methods to navigate their environment.

For the past 12 months, the world has been in somewhat of a holding pattern.  So much of our time has been focused on waiting and watching.  Now, the next 12 months will be spent planning, preparing, and moving in potentially different ways. 

We have all experienced varying levels of pain and discomfort throughout this past year.  Some of these feelings are uncomfortable and we may find ourselves not wanting to experience them.  However, to arrive at our tomorrows with a sense of contentment, gratitude, and happiness, it is helpful to feel the pain and discomfort and to process them.  Pain teaches us what is of value and meaning to us.

An example of this processing can be found in the pain associated with loss.  If you have ever had to move and leave friends and familiar places behind, you probably experienced this.  When you arrived in your new home you may have experienced the pain of loneliness which can either paralyze you or motivate you to go and make new friends and become familiar with your new locale.  If it motivates you, suddenly you realize that rather than having one group of friends, you now have two.  If it paralyzes you, finding a trusted listener can be helpful to begin processing your feelings.

Key Takeaways
  • The world continues its opening.
  • We will each adapt to the next normal differently.
  • It is OK to experience pain and loss.
Best Practices
  • Continue to practice self-care in order to be ready for whatever comes your way.
  • As you experience pain and discomfort, monitor your mental health, and seek professional assistance, when necessary.
  • Believing that, “the good old days weren’t always good and tomorrow ain’t as bad as it seems.” ~ Billy Joel
Things to Limit
  • Nurturing the weeds rather than the flowers.
  • Sitting on the couch too long.
  • “Looking so long at closed doors and not seeing the ones which have been opened for us.” ~ Helen Keller

In summary, 2021 will be different in many ways from anything we have experienced before.  Much like the flowers of nature, we will adapt to our new environments in different ways.  By respecting these differences, we can allow our pain and discomfort to be the fertilizer for our growth.

Quote of the Week

“Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.”
African Proverb

About the author 

The ParaDocs

The paraDocs are Dr. Francis L. Battisti, PhD, Psychotherapist, Distinguished Psychology Professor and former Executive V.P. and Chief Academic Officer and, Dr. Helen E. Battisti, PhD, Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist. The purpose of The Zone is to provide a weekly mental-health and nutrition tip-sheet during times of change.

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