Alleviating Physical Pain with the Mind: 5 Ways to Ease Pain Using the Mind-body Connection

“Manifestation” is a new lingo that’s defined as bringing something tangible into your life through attraction and belief. This may sound completely spiritual and unsubstantiated- conservativist, hold your pitchforks- but the mind is much more powerful than we realize.

Mind-body therapies aim to alter our awareness and perception of pain, allowing us to cope with any long-lasting agony by reframing our mindset. Here are five mind-body therapies to attempt.

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioural therapy is essentially talking the pain away. For instance, when you feel an incoming pain, instead of thinking ‘oh god, it’s happening again’, tell yourself that this isn’t the first time you have experienced this. Instead, conjure positive thoughts, such as the soothing imagery of your favourite location and how calm you would be if you were there.

As simple as this sounds, CBT “has been demonstrated to be as effective as, or more effective than, other forms of psychological therapy or psychiatric medications,” American Psychological Association, Div. 12 (Society of Clinical Psychology)

Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR)

Similar to CBT, MBSR takes a page from mindfulness mediation and yoga to develop acceptance of instantaneous experiences which includes pain.

Breathing, Meditation and Relaxation

When we’re in pain, we tend to take short breaths subconsciously. In contrast, drawing deep and long breaths soothes the mind and allows a smooth transition to a relaxation stage. This counters the stress that we feel when we are in pain, thus, alleviating the agony.

In the same vein, meditation and relaxation activate our relaxation response which allows us to cope with the pain better.

There are many methods of meditation, such as mindfulness meditation which end goal is a state of zen or transcendental meditation which focuses on the repetition of a word, phrase or sound to silence your mind.

Simply relaxing throughout the day is also a possible route to lessen the pain. One of the methods is progressive muscle relaxation, an easy exercise that involves tightening and loosening your muscle groups for 20 seconds. During this process, focus on the release of tension and its sensation to reduce the pain.

Essentially, these pain-coping techniques revolve around equipping a positive mindset and achieving a zen state. As ridiculous as it sounds, especially for those with a heavy reliance on medication, findings have proven the effectiveness of mind-body therapies.

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