Plagued by Persistent Pain or Depression

Or just not following your dreams?


At New Year, we celebrate the chance of new beginnings. Some of us resolve to lose weight or exercise more or drink less and feel pride if we succeed—or beat ourselves up if we don’t. But, either way, there may still be underlying feelings of unease, discomfort, or chronic sadness, which failure feeds and success fails to mask for long. That happens when the bad feeling—which may manifest as physical pain or depression¹—is rooted in carrying on with all the other same old unsatisfying stuff that we were doing before.

If that resonates with you, ask yourself a question. What would I be doing if no obstacles were there? Persistent pain and depression can come from not following your dreams.

In How to Liberate Yourself from Pain,² a book I wrote with Grahame Brown, a leading consultant in musculoskeletal medicine, we described the fascinating case of Elena, who consulted Grahame because of exhausting pain in her neck and arms. She was a successful accountant in a happy marriage and childless by choice, which allowed her and her husband to take several holiday breaks a year and indulge in many luxuries. Despite giving Elena all the help and advice that usually shifted his patients on, nothing had really changed after five sessions.

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