Living A Less Painful Life

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You are in pain again and you have had enough. No matter what you do, the pain keeps coming back, taking control of your life.

How do you respond? Are you continually trying to stop the pain by fighting it, blocking it, medicating or constantly going to others seeking help from different specialists?

Here are 4 simple ways to ease your body pain. To begin, find somewhere quiet to sit or lay down in the most comfortable position that is possible and follow these 4 steps.

  1. Count for 6—8 seconds as you breath in to ensure the breath is long and deep and then let the exhale fall. Repeat this 10 times focusing on the deep inhale. This helps to calm your brain’s response to the pain and allows the brain’s alert system to begin to ‘reset’ so the body can soften and relax.
  2. Notice where you experience the most pain. Breathe deeply and be curious rather than agitated and gently feel the painful or achy area. Allow whatever thoughts, images, feelings to arise and name them (worry, past memories of pain, fear of future issues etc. ) and let them go rather than be drawn into these worried thoughts. The mind is wired to respond to danger/pain and search for a solution. It starts you thinking of when you felt this before, what happened, what you felt, what you should do next. When the mind has created a story or solution it then allows the body to relax. By bringing your focussed awareness onto the pain, rather than reacting or thinking about it, you start to reduce the intensity of the pain.
  3. How do you experience this sensation or pain? Use your imagination to explore this pain and its qualities. Is it sharp, dull, throbbing, shaky? Does this area feel heavy, tight? What is its texture? Is it rough, smooth, fluid, dry, gel like? Is it light or dark? Does it have a colour? By exploring your pain’s qualities in this way you are rewiring the brain’s old response. Using the brain’s need to focus and search for a solution to help you relax your body, rather than increasing your stress, tension and pain the way it usually does.
  4. Be gentle and compassionate with yourself. Each time you come back to focus on the pain in your body and leave out the old thoughts, you are rewiring the brain, teaching a new and more helpful response towards your body sensations.

By using this mindfulness approach you begin to reset the body’s reaction to the pain. Your feel more relaxed and less anxious. This soothing and melting of stress and tension allows the body’s self repair mechanism to begin to function.

My experience with pain over recent years has taught me to develop a more compassionate relationship with my body and pain. When I use the breath and mindfulness to focus and feel the pain’s qualities, the intensity of the pain reduces. I then feel more in control, calmer and more at ease in my body. Often it was my reaction to the pain than created more stress, tension and anxiety rather than the actual physical pain.

I hope you find this helpful. Let me know if you have any questions or comments.

Anne from Beyond Words Holistic Counselling