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“How are you?”

 •  • by Paul Ingraham
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Weekly nuggets of pain science news and insight, usually 100-300 words, with the occasional longer post. The blog is the “director’s commentary” on the core content of a library of major articles and books about common painful problems and popular treatments. See the blog archives or updates for the whole site.

Adira Bennet for, on answering “How Are You?”

“Every chronic illness fighter has experienced the piercing awkwardness of sharing too much with the wrong person or at the wrong time where your pal is like, ‘Oh… uh… feel better soon. I gotta go.’”

Oh, hells ya.

Tom Bowen of writes (and citing White et al):

I recommend limiting pain talk. We can socialize without talking about pain, or worse complain about it. We are more than our pain. While pain talk can help us validate our pain, it has been shown to worsen pain. Conversely, well talk has been shown to reduce pain intensity.

I completely agree… and limiting pain talk can also be a tricky skill to learn. There’s a big ol’ grey zone between those times when candid conversation with good friends is truly cathartic, therapeutic, and useful… and, at the other extreme, pointless, reckless oversharing with acquaintances at the other extreme. But “limiting” pain talk is probably a wise course to set, and not just to reduce those awkward conversations: it may actually help the pain.

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