The barking dog – retreat, ignore or engage?
We’ve all been in a position where you meet a barking dog, perhaps at a friend’s house or walking in your local park. As you come near them they begin to bark loudly and it is clear that this is directed to you! (The helpful owner might say, “oh ignore them they just don’t like men” or something like that!)
You have a few options, retreat, ignore or engage with them.
We can see pain and activity a bit like the barking dog situation. Something unfamiliar or threatening approaches you, and your pain (the barking dog) is set off. Do you retreat, ignore or engage with it?
Retreating might mean you can’t do the activity, go to the place or see the person that you really wanted to.
Ignoring things often leads to you ‘overdoing it’ and ending up in more pain afterwards.
We suggest a more helpful approach to working with, and in pain is similar to the approach you’d take with the barking dog. To engage, slowly at first and respectfully. First offering your smell to them, before trying to stroke, pat or start playing with them. It can take time for that barking dog to become familiar with you and similarly for some pains, it can take time for you to be able to more fully engage with activities that you’d like to.
-Tim Beames and the Noigroup Europe team