If you have ever heard the phrase, “Mind over matter,” it refers to the ability of the mind to control pain and other responses to internal or external stimuli. Countless studies have shown the benefits of meditation, for example, in relieving pain. Pain may not always be, “All in the mind,” but there are ways to train your brain away from pain.
Knowledge is power
Many studies have shown that people who understand their condition tend to have a milder pain response than those who don’t. A better-informed patient is probably more likely to know what to expect and stress less over it as compared with someone who might not understand their condition very well and worry about every ache and pain.
There are different forms of meditation, but all of them have some benefit in controlling pain through the body, mind and spirit connection. To meditate means to think. In some cases, the person might focus on their thoughts. As they do so, they will not be able to focus on the physical pain.
Long deep breathing meditation
This also shifts the focus away from the pain. It has the added benefits of increasing the oxygen in the bloodstream and relaxing a person. Less stress and tension will usually mean less pain and stiffness in the body.
In this form of meditation, a person pictures something in their mind that will relax and calm them. In the case of people with chronic pain, they can picture a life without pain.
Mindfulness can be about focusing on the thoughts in your mind at a particular moment, such as, “ouch, pain,” and through understanding and analysis, stop the thought from taking hold. For example, if you stub your toe, dwelling on it can often make it hurt more. Accepting that it happened will often mean you forget all about the pain within a few minutes. Mindfulness is also called “living in the moment meditation” because it encourages you to focus on what you are doing at that particular point in time. It could be walking, washing dishes or listening to music. Paying attention to what each of your 5 senses registers can be very pleasurable and this focus will free you from pain, at least for a short time.
Golden light meditation
This is useful for particular pains. Focus the mind on a particular area, such as your sprained ankle. Imagine it is being bathed in a golden, healing light. By paying attention to it, we can often understand and accept the pain, and move on from it.
Black smoke, white light meditation
This is a helpful breathing meditation and visualization. Imagine your pain is being exhaled out of your body every time you breathe out. Imagine healing white light is entering your body every time you breathe in, relieving your aches and pains as it cleanses and purifies.
Yoga nidra meditation
Yoga nidra means “sleep of the yogis” and is an easy meditation you do lying down. It is basically a body scan in which you check in with every part of your body, up and down, front and back. If you find any pain, you can visualize it being eased through the golden or the white light.