Written By Sally Phillips
Living with pain on a daily basis can be intolerable, severely diminishing one’s quality of life. As many as 25.3 million Americans suffer from pain on a daily basis according to the Nation Health Interview Survey (NHIS). Living with pain is not only physically debilitating but can also result in tremendous mental anguish if it cannot be controlled. When experiencing pain, most people reach for conventional drugs to help ease their suffering. While synthetic drugs may be able to provide some reprieve, it can also trigger a number of highly undesirable side effects such as headaches, nausea, dizziness, stomach cramps, elevated blood pressure, anxiety and even depression. Luckily there is a much more natural approach that can be taken in terms of pain management: mindfulness
Mindfulness can alter your psychological perception of pain
Of all the mindfulness practices that address pain, the most widely researched is Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction which was pioneered by none other than Professor Emeritus of Medicine, Jon Kabat-Zinn. Although the practice was not solely created with the purpose of reducing pain, Kabat-Zinn found that patients with significant pain can reduce their suffering by uncoupling their mental response to pain from the physical sensations of it. Most mindfulness practices focus on reducing the psychological suffering associated with pain rather than attempting to lessen the pain itself. Your mindfulness can improve your ability to cope with pain to such an extent that the physical sensation does feel lessened as well. Apart from easing pain, mindfulness can also be employed to prevent further illness and injury, safeguarding the mindful individual against toxic attacks on the body and mind.
Managing your own pain with mindfulness
There are a number of meditations you can employ to help reduce your pain, you simply need to find which one works best for you. Walking meditation can be very effective in term of pain relief. While walking, preferably in nature if possible, you need to focus your full attention on the movement of your legs or feet. Be aware of how your body propels itself forward, focus on the sensation of the grass or sand under your feet. As you become more in tune with all your emotions you will feel the pain moving to the back of your mind instead of overwhelming your every thought. Mindfulness meditation is undeniably one of the best techniques for anyone suffering from pain as it provides you with complete acceptance of your condition. Mindfulness meditation can be engaged in at will, countless times a day to refresh the mind and pacify any negativity in the body.
When experiencing pain remember that although you may not have any control over the sensation, you can control how you react to it. Simple mindfulness techniques can help release the hold pain has over your life, allowing you to live a happier, more fulfilling life. Be aware of your present moment and be sure that the choices you make are to the benefit of yourself and the greater universe.