When was the last time you woke feeling refreshed? How much is pain interrupting your sleep? These questions are not simple. Exhaustion can feel so constant that the way you feel at night may not be much different than day, there may seem to be no natural rhythm or energy to draw upon. Further, you may not fully wake up from sleep, but just the fact that it activates the flight-fight stress response can mean that pain is causing severe disruption to the health or quality of your sleep.

This video reviews both sleep mechanisms and different strategies to work towards a more restful and restorative night of sleep.


Vitality Skills


Let's practice the 3 c's meditation we just discussed in the video. We will practice visualizing and imaging the motor and sensory movements of drawing a circle writing a number (always increasing by 1 each time), then the calm, following by erasing. Imaging this for 2 mins. See if you can keep your focus on all of the sensations and imagined motor movements while watching yourself draw that circle, count, and the word calm over and over.

Set your timer to 2 minutes then begin imagining drawing your circle, counting each time, and re-writing the word calm over and over. When the timer is done notice which number you are on. 

What number did you get to? 

Now add a zero to the end that number is the number is the number you would likely get to after 20 minutes of resting and meditating in bed. 

For example: If you practiced the 3C's meditation for 2 minutes and imagined redrawing the circle each time and at the end of 2 minutes you had gotten to the number 9, then if you add a zero to the end your magic number would be 90. This means that at night you when you practice this meditation if you get to 90 then you've been in bed for about 20 minutes and its time to leave the bed for awhile and then return when you feel drowsy again. 


Since each person's pace of doing the mediation is slightly different everyone will have a different magic number. Its a handy way of helping to put yourself asleep by occupying your whole brain AND keep track of time without watching the clock. 

Now its time to write your own SLEEP RECIPE!


Getting a good night of sleep takes all the right ingredients. Discovering what those are can require planning, tinkering, and sometimes professional help to get it just right.

Sleep Recipe

Making Movement Matter

Don't worry we are not recommending some fad exercise or expensive piece of equipment. Making movement matter is about strategies that using the science of the systems affected by movement to make strategic decisions about movement and movement plans. It is also about learning the strategy of masterful choices in intensity, style, and length of movement.

Making Movement Matter

Reprieve Skills
Retrain Motor Nerves Skills

Keys of Making Movement Matter

  • Movement is to assist the veins and lymphatic system to move the blood, fluid, and cell waste so it doesn't collect in any region. 
  • Movement is to help lubricate joints and keep muscle flexible.
  • Movement is about STARTING LOW and GOING SLOW
  • Movement is about intentionally and gently moving

With these keys in mind complete the following exercise in identifying your Movement Plan.

What types of movement have you tried or considered?

  1. What types of movement have you tried?
  2. Walking
  3. Tai Chi
  4. Yoga for Chronic Pain
  5. Water Movement (swimming/aerobics)
  6. Cycling (recumbent or traditional)
  7. Strength Training
  8. Other:
  9. Specify:

What do you consider to be the most convenient?

What do believe to be the most comfortable?

What form of movement can you add into your regular routine right away?

When do you plan to start?

What obstacles do you expect could thwart you from starting or cause you to stop trying?

How can you plan ahead of time to reduce the impact or prevent these obstacles?


When you stop or your movement plan falls out of your routine, how can you gently remind yourself to re-engage your movement plan?


As people with pain we all know that we can easily overdo it. Trying to keep up with our peers can lead to flare-ups that knock us down for days. How do we manage such a sensitive pain response when our personalities and our sense of self tells us to do something different?


How do you over-do it or under-do it? Was it due to the amount of TIME being active or the amount of EFFORT? Or BOTH?

  1. How much TIME do you need to be active in a day to feel like you aren't getting tight, stiff, and/or de-conditioned?
  2. How much TIME do you believe is too much time being active that will result in increased pain and recovery time?
  3. How much EFFORT do you need to exert in a day to feel like you aren't getting tight, stiff, and/or de-conditioned?
  4. How much EFFORT do you believe is too much, resulting in increased pain and recovery time? How do you measure this? How do you know?


One our favorite resources on the topic of pacing and tempo is the work of Christine Miserandino, called SPOON THEORY. This is from the webiste! Its a great idea for making the intangible concept of energy a tangible object like a spoon.


Nutrition is really about making choices to treat food as fuel. To help us make wiser choices that help produce more energy and set the physical stage for health and healing. As you know pain causes a range of physiolgical changes in the body, including affecting our systemic inflammation. One aspect of nutrition that we can address is just this, inflammation. Reducing foods that worsen pain and/or inflammation and increasing foods that improve pain and/or inflammation. We, at the Mastering Pain Institute, are not overly zealous about any particular diet or way of eating. Like all of the skills and concepts we are very intensely focused on you finding what works best for you.

Given what you know now about the foods that increase and decrease inflammation and your own hypotheses about foods that affect your pain and/or inflammation, what choices do you want to make?

Food as Fuel Plan

Make of list of the foods you want to increase

These are the foods I want to choose more often that make me feel better, improve my energy, help my hair, skin, and insides feel better, and/or reduce inflammation.

Make a list of the foods you want to eat less of

These are the foods I want to choose LESS often as they don't make me feel good, sometimes make me feel bad, seem to cause pain and/or inflammation.

Learn More

These are the foods I want to choose LESS often as they don't make me feel good, sometimes make me feel bad, seem to cause pain and/or inflammation.

Here's a resource for nutrition facts about food! World's Healthiest Foods










Go to Week 8

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