September is Pain Awareness Month
Science backs up listening as a way to calm the areas of your mind connected to your pain experience.
Health and wellness coaching revolves around a basic premise—that YOU are the expert in your life, and the coach is there to partner with you to as you realize your health and wellness goals. Listening and authentic communication are some of the cornerstones on which coaching is built.
You can read other blog posts related to listening on our site!
As I was reflecting on my journey from industrial athletic trainer to health coach, my mind brought me back to conversations with the employees I worked with in that setting. Initially, talk with them would focus on what they were experiencing at work. Typically, this revolved around specific discomforts. Inevitably, during follow up sessions, these discussions flowed into family, hobbies, traveling, or any other host of topics. I remember distinct instances when employees were complete with their time with me...they turned around, looked me in the eyes, and told me that they really appreciated being listened to that day.
These times were memorable to me because the employees came in with such discomfort. After they talked through what was important to them and they did their work with me, they felt so much better. They reported feeling much better than what I would have expected. I inherently knew there was an intersection of honest listening, being heard, and healing.
It turns out that modern MRI research backs this up! Research has shown that the same part of the brain that 'lights up' when we experience physical pain lights up the same way when we experience rejection. Both physical and emotional strain can affect the pain experience! I can now see how my act of listening and really caring about the employee's whole experience truly lead to them feeling better, beyond what I would have expected otherwise.
Other research shows that when genuine mirroring of another person takes place and the person in stress feels this genuine connection, Oxycontin is produced! This is a hormone that promotes bonding, connection, and it also blocks cortisol--our stress hormone. This is amazingly powerful stuff, and we all have this inherent wisdom and healing mechanisms inside of us!
Listening is such a powerful tool for understanding, healing and connection.
Have you ever listened to another person and experienced the difference you made to them?Have you ever reached out to others when you were in pain and felt this positive difference?