As opposed to medications being the only remedies for controlling pain, it turns out that pain can be controlled by the mind as well. This is especially good news for those who experience chronic pain and desire an organic solution to it. The natural reaction to this is to ask, how? Thankfully, here are six ways to prove controlling pain with your mind is possible.
Deep breathing has proven to be integral to all the other techniques of using the mind to control pain. The first step to deep breathing is to breathe in deeply, hold one’s breath for a few seconds longer than usual and exhale. This has been characterized as breathing in peace and breathing out tension. There are several apps that use images and sounds to help users maintain their breathing rhythms, which is the first step towards allowing the mind to help control pain.
Controlling the Relaxation Response
After someone closes their eyes and relaxes their muscles, they can concentrate on deep breathing. When thoughts break through, they can say “refresh,” allowing them to return to the breathing pattern. Doing this for 10 to 20 minutes and sitting quietly can help feelings of pain to lessen.
Meditation with Guided Imagery
As with the first two methods of using the mind to control pain, this one begins with deep breathing. Listening to music and imagining a restful environment can also help. When the mind wanders, a person can bring it back to focus by, again, saying “refresh” as an anchor word. This has been proven to lessen pain.
Mindfulness is about someone picking an activity they enjoy, which can be walking in nature, poetry, cooking, gardening, etc. Through mindfulness, the person notices every detail of the activity they are taking part in and becomes fully immersed in it. They notice how their senses and emotions respond. It is recommended to practice bringing mindfulness to all aspects of everyday life as it helps with diverting the mind’s attention away from physical pain.
Yoga and Tai Chi
Such mind-body exercises tie together breath control, stretches, and meditation with the strengthening of muscles. There are videos and apps to help people get started with these techniques. This helps to ease physical pain through making the mind calm.
Positive thinking is a way of allowing the mind find happiness in all the things that are going well, as opposed to focusing on physical pain. Some therapists recommend keeping journals in which a person can detail the things they are thankful for on a particular day. Such an exercise can help the mind to be more positive and appreciative, lessening the severity of pain.
For people who suffer from chronic illnesses that cause them a lot of pain or those who have a headache or a migraine from time to time, these simple but effective exercises can be helpful in lessening the effects of physical pain.