Sometimes you may think that you shouldn’t feel the way you do. Feelings are neither good nor bad—they simply are. In the midst of intense negative feelings, whether fear, anger, depression, or whatever form they may take, it can feel as though they will last forever, like they will never end. It promotes emotional balance to maintain an awareness that all feelings are temporary, and that they will always change! Emotional balance is achieved when you allow yourself to feel whatever comes up, and learn to accept your feelings without judging them. Because your feelings are a part of you, accepting them as they are is an important part of accepting yourself as you are. This is also known as self-acceptance. Whatever positive changes you want to make in your life, acceptance of how and where you are at the present moment is one of the keys to moving forward. Accepting your feelings also takes less energy than trying to avoid or suppress them, and helps maintain balance by eliminating the need for them to recur over and over. Genuine acceptance of your feelings gives you the opportunity to shift your energy to thoughts and actions that facilitate the learning, growing, and healing that can fuel the continuing progress of your pain recovery. Our focus here is for you to learn and begin to practice strategies to identify and express emotions in ways that promote balance; deal with distressing, uncomfortable feelings in healthier ways; and strengthen positive feelings to promote growing, healing, and recovery from your chronic pain. For example, by finding enjoyable activities that you can still participate in and setting obtainable goals, you can shift your attention toward increased hopefulness, gratitude, potential solutions, and taking action. Remember, your feelings can’t hurt you, but reacting inappropriately to them can. This blog post is an excerpt from Pain Recovery – How to Find Balance and Reduce Suffering from Chronic Pain by Mel Pohl, MD, FASAM, Frank Szabo, LADC, Daniel Shiode, PhD, Robert Hunter, PhD; Published by Central Recovery Press (CRP).