I’ve started an online course in coursera: A Beginner’s Guide to Irrationality by Dan Ariely. I’m a huge admirer of his works and his ideas in attempting to make sense of how our irrational minds work. Being rational about the irrational. (I hope I can complete his course as I’m busy with the book project, but my key intention is to understand new ideas)
On the topic of pain tolerance, his video describe those who have sustained major injuries have higher intrinsic pain threshold levels and pain tolerance levels compared to control groups (people who have not sustained any major injuries and hence experienced pain in a similar scale. Why? He posits that the group that sustained major injuries sees pain as a concept of positive recovery, whereas those of the control group sees pain as a concept of avoidance.
This is essentially an issue of mindset. And this takes me to TSW and post-TSW pain tolerance. Personally, I feel a very big change in terms of relating to pain or discomfort. Now that I’m able to get back into fitness, run, play soccer, I am actually happy that I am able to feel tired, breathless, sore muscles etc. These used to be discomforting to me. A significant mindset change for me was that whenever I feel tired or uncomfortable from exhausting activities (especially soccer, I’m extremely out of fitness), I think about the times when I was TOTALLY debilitated. And how lucky I am to be able to run and play. Same for shopping with the gf, I used to dread the long waiting and walking around the malls (#miserable men) but now I am just happy that I’m able to walk around peacefully. In terms of pain/discomfort tolerance and threshold, I’d say mine has increased post TSW.
I think traumatic events often changes the way people think dramatically, for better or worse. It is crucially important to maintain a positive mindset even in times of trouble.