NHS Lothian

Managing chronic pain

Helpful resources

1 min read

When you’re living with chronic pain, managing your thoughts can be tricky, so here are some techniques you may want to try:

Keeping a diary: When you’re in pain and feeling stressed, write down the thoughts you’re having at that point in a diary. Later, when you’re feeling calmer, read back over the diary. Ask yourself, did those thoughts help your pain or make it feel worse? Were those thoughts realistic or was stress clouding your ability to think clearly? What alternative thoughts might have made the situation easier to manage?

Grounding: Another way you can help wind down your pain system is to ground yourself into the present moment. Being present gives your brain a chance to take a break from your thoughts and worries. There are different ways to do this. For example, you could sit and slowly notice five things you can see, four things you can hear, three things you can touch, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste. Listening to audio tracks of birdsong or relaxing music can also help to ground you.

Distraction: Take your mind away from your thoughts by focusing on another task. Arts and crafts, reading, and listening to music can all distract your mind from difficult thoughts. This won’t get rid of your pain, but it may reduce your stress levels which in turn could wind down your pain.


There are lots of other things that will help you manage the impact of chronic pain, so we’ve put together some helpful resources for you here to have a look at:


Retrain Pain website

Pain Concern website

Airing Pain Podcast

Pain Toolkit – a self management tool

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