Finding positivity in pain

Heather GilmoreWhen you live with chronic pain, it can be difficult to stay positive. But positivity is essential to both physical and mental health. In the month of December, U.S. Pain Foundation ambassadors Heather Gilmore and Garin Harris led the Positivity Photo Challenge to help pain warriors cultivate optimism and reframe negative thoughts. Gilmore holds a doctorate in education and wrote her dissertation on online support for patients with her condition, Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy; Harris, who is currently Miss Teen International, champions chronic pain in honor of her mother, who lives with pain.

“I wanted to create a positivity challenge because I am always asked how I am so positive despite the pain that I am in,” says Gilmore. “It’s easier when you’re in pain to look at the negatives rather than the positives. This offered chronic pain warriors a chance to embrace the small things around them.”

The challenges included tasks like posting a happy selfie, sharing pictures of role model and coming up with three solutions to a bad day. The campaign was a reminder to pain warriors of their inner strength and the resources at their disposal. It also came at a perfect time — the holiday season — which can be particularly stressful for individuals dealing with chronic pain.

“Positivity is something I believe everyone should try to have,” says Harris. “In my opinion, we always have something to be thankful for even though times may be tough. I hope Heather, myself and the U.S. Pain Foundation encouraged everyone to start off this new year positively.”

To see photos from the challenge, search social media for the hashtags: #PositivityChallenge, #DrHPositivity, #MissTeenInternationalPositivity, #USPainAmbassadorChallenge, #EndTheYearPositively and #PainCanBePositive.