Pain is an inevitable sense of despair and confusion. It often masks itself behind humour, silence or sophisticated deception of optimism. Why do we mask our pain? Are we afraid vulnerability portrays weakness? Or, have we not learnt the art of expressing grief?

The challenge of overcoming pain is to make use of the sorrow, create meaning from the memories that are preventing our happiness: be productive in your pain. Productivity is passion, use the source of the struggle to find a positive outcome. Distraction doesn’t equate to productivity, it only masks it temporarily .

The question is, how do we turn sorrow into solutions? Consider the 5 steps below as a starting point.

1. Vent your negativity

Take 5 minutes to write all the words that come to mind when you think of the issue you’re facing. Write words, concepts, quotes, keywords, and sentences. If sketching is your way to express yourself, draw your sorrow into a language that you can make sense of. Once you’ve completed this, keep it in a safe place, without reviewing it. Consider this as your way of venting and letting go of negative thoughts.

2. Express and Embrace your positivity

Take a few days to consider the positive aspects of your personality and experiences you’ve had. Take 10 minutes to write all the keywords that make you feel good about yourself. Remember the positive comments people have said about you, and the impact you’ve made to their lives. Focus on what your greatest strengths are as a person, and how you feel when you know you’ve made others happy.

3. Positive Daily Reminders: 30 day cleansing

Everyday a positive memory occurs, however we are so busy denying ourselves happiness, that we forget a small sense of happiness can be the biggest difference to your day.Use the positive note as the start of your ‘daily reminder’ to yourself. Keep the note somewhere visible, each day add a positive comment to your positive board for 30 days.

4. Reflection

Look back at the first venting note you wrote, and the 30 daily notes you have written. Take time to reflect, and consider how you now feel looking back at the last 30 days. Write a paragraph to yourself about how you feel,anything you have noticed and learnt within the time.

5. Action plan

Put action into your reflection. Write 3 ways in which you are going to improve the way you view your pain. Be practical and productive. Think of turning the pain into an external feeling, an emotion you can handle and recover from. Your action plan can have a time limit, or a daily ritual. Be specific in what you’d like to change, and how you are going to make these changes.

‘Misery loves company’ – be your own comfort, be your own happiness, remind yourself everyday that YOU matter. Your self-worth isn’t dependent on others view of you: it’s dependant on how you view yourself.