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Pain (PDQ®): Supportive care - Patient Information [NCI] - Physical, Integrative, Behavioral, and Psychosocial Interventions

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Exercise 3. Peaceful past experiences *

  • Something may have happened to you a while ago that brought you peace or comfort. You may be able to draw on that experience to bring you peace or comfort now. Think about these questions:
    • Can you remember any situation, even when you were a child, when you felt calm, peaceful, secure, hopeful, or comfortable?
    • Have you ever daydreamed about something peaceful? What were you thinking?
    • Do you get a dreamy feeling when you listen to music? Do you have any favorite music?
    • Do you have any favorite poetry that you find uplifting or reassuring?
    • Have you ever been active religiously? Do you have favorite readings, hymns, or prayers? Even if you haven't heard or thought of them for many years, childhood religious experiences may still be very soothing.

Additional points: Some of the things that may comfort you, such as your favorite music or a prayer, can probably be recorded for you. Then you can listen to the tape whenever you wish. Or, if your memory is strong, you may simply close your eyes and recall the events or words.

Exercise 4. Active listening to recorded music *

  1. Obtain the following:
    • A cassette player or tape recorder. (Small, battery-operated ones are more convenient.)
    • Earphones or a headset. (Helps focus the attention better than a speaker a few feet away, and avoids disturbing others.)
    • A cassette of music you like. (Most people prefer fast, lively music, but some select relaxing music. Other options are comedy routines, sporting events, old radio shows, or stories.)
  2. Mark time to the music; for example, tap out the rhythm with your finger or nod your head. This helps you concentrate on the music rather than on your discomfort.
  3. Keep your eyes open and focus on a fixed spot or object. If you wish to close your eyes, picture something about the music.
  4. Listen to the music at a comfortable volume. If the discomfort increases, try increasing the volume; decrease the volume when the discomfort decreases.
  5. If this is not effective enough, try adding or changing one or more of the following: massage your body in rhythm to the music; try other music; or mark time to the music in more than one manner, such as tapping your foot and finger at the same time.
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