Most of us believe that we have no control over pain/discomfort in our body. If we feel pain we might use painkilling medicine or some type of ice or heat or other analgesic topical treatment. But most of us would not consider using our mind to control pain.
I’d like to share with you something I have learned that is very cool. You CAN in fact use your mind to reduce and in some cases eliminate pain, discomfort, and other body annoyances.
Let’s see how this works.
The Foundation of Efficacy : Belief
The first step in being able to use this natural tool of your mind for pain relief it is to believe that it’s possible. To give you evidence of this I present the classical birthing Lamaze method or the Calmbirth method, both of which leverage the relaxation response for reducing stress and pain. Countless women have employed this natural method to bring pain relief during one of the most painful experiences: childbirth. I’ve heard there have been some women who had such strong focus of mind they were able to deliver pain-free. That’s really pushing this concept to the max!
A second piece of evidence, although anecdotal, is my own personal experience of learning how to reduce pain using my mind. I have accidentally learned this through my meditation practice. This was never the goal of my meditation, but in the course of learning how to meditate more effectively I began to notice that I had more control over my mind and consequently more control over my body.
I noticed that my body was very sensitive to my thoughts and state of mind. I noticed that when I was able to calm my mind and direct my energy, I was able to affect my body in positive ways.
I have two recent examples where I used this very affectively. The first was with menstrual cramps. I was able to direct my energy to the area of pain and because of my meditation experience I was able to talk to that part of my body and ask it to relax. When I did this my pain went away. This type of pain for me used to take three Advil pills to make it go away.
A second example was a patch of itchy skin. I could not pinpoint the physical cause. The itchiness was intermittent but very irritating. I started to notice that when I was mentally irritated that patch of skin became irritated and itchy. The more irritated I was the itchier my skin was. I tried different kinds of creams and some of them worked temporarily, but then I decided to try using my mind. I calmed my mind, sent my energy to that area and asked my body to be calm. And it worked!
Importance of State of Mind
In using your mind to reduce pain your state of mind is very important. If you are irritated, frustrated, angry, exhausted, fearful, doubtful, resentful, guilt-ridden etc. this will impact how successful this method will be for you. To be most effective you will want to cultivate a peaceful state of mind. (Mindfulness meditation is perfect for this.)
You will want to be well rested and nourished. If your body is depleted in anyway whether it’s from lack of sleep, dehydration, or lack of nutrition it will be most useful to take care of that first. If your circumstances are such that you can’t get yourself rested or rejuvenated you can still use these methods. However at your next opportunity be sure to get yourself rejuvenated.
Getting at Root Causes
When you have pain, that is your body communicating with you. It is telling you that something needs to change.
If you were banging your head against the wall and you felt pain the message from your body is to stop banging your head against the wall. In that case if you listen to your body the pain will stop.
Sometimes we know the cause of the pain. Menstrual cramps is a good example. A sports injury is another good example. Another example could be gas pain from something you ate. These are examples of physical causes.
Other times we have pain and we’re not really sure what the cause is. The cause could be physical or it could be mental or very often it could be both.
In any of these cases what should you do? You’ll want to employ both logic and intuition to cover all your bases. Logic can tell you about some of the likely physical and mental causes. Intuition can tell you about causes that you may have a blind spot to in your conscious awareness.
So, for instance, recently I had a shoulder injury. It came from shoveling snow, but it was taking a long time to heal so I felt that there was something else going on. I did a meditation and asked my guides/angels/ God/Universe (whatever you like to call it) what was the cause of my shoulder pain and what did I need to relieve it?
I sat very quietly and just waited for thoughts to come into my mind. I relaxed my mind tried not to think of an answer but just waited for answers to pop into my mind. The message that I received was that I have been approaching my life in too much of a task oriented way and not with enough joy. I was too concerned with time limitations and my level of productivity. The prescription was very simple: have some fun! Have a lot of fun! I’ve been working on this and my shoulder is getting better. I’ll keep you posted.
The funny thing about that message was I looked up shoulder issues in Louise Hayes book called You Can Heal Your Life and in her list of body ailments under “shoulder” was the description:
“shoulders represent our ability to carry our experiences in life joyously. We make life a burden by our attitude. ”
Louise Hayes affirmation for this affliction is “I choose to allow all my experiences to be joyous and loving.”
How’s that for accurate intuition? And that’s one of my main things I have to work on in life – slowing down and enJOYing life!
Why This Method is Better Than Popping a Pill
When you use your mind to reduce or eliminate pain you are communicating with your body and sending it healing energy. So unlike a pill that covers up your symptoms this method is designed to actually change the conditions in your body so that the pain is diminished or eliminated
Follow these steps to reduce or eliminate pain in your body using your mind:
- Take care of the body first. If you need to and if you have the time, attend to any aspect of your physical body that may be depleted such as sleep hydration, nutrition, or detoxification. If you don’t have the time in the moment to address these areas you can still go forward with the next steps but at your earliest convenience attend to these other needs to rejuvenate your body. Pain is much more likely when you are depleted.
- Relax your mind. It’s not necessary but preferable if you can sit in a quiet place with your eyes closed, but if you can’t, this can be done anytime anywhere. Use these affirmations to calm and settle your mind:
- “My mind is calm and relaxed.”
- “My mind is filled with peace and love.”
- Believe. State this affirmation to yourself:
- “My mind is strong. I can reduce my pain using my mind.”
- Ask yourself “what is bothering me?” If you can, write it down. Sometimes to get at what is really bothering you you must ask the question multiple times to get at the true root cause. (the cause behind the cause behind the cause…)Once you determine the Root Cause, create a statement that affirms that you trust yourself and the universe- that all will work out for your highest good and that you are safe and loved.
- I am always OK. I am right where I am supposed to be. The Universe is guiding me and supporting me to my highest good at all times. I trust that all is ok.
- Send loving calming healing energy to the source of pain. This is the weirdest step because it’s difficult to put into words exactly how to do it. What I will tell you is if you just put your focus and intention to do this you will be doing it right. If you’re able to have your eyes closed it’s easiest to do but you can do it with your eyes open. Simply imagine sending this healing energy to the part of your body where it is needed. Imagine that part of your body melting into relaxation and calm. On the flipside, sometimes pain relief can come from removing energy and bringing it elsewhere in your body such as your heart or third eye (mind) in order to give relief to the pain. Play with both types of energy movement.
- Talk to that area of your body with the same type of love that you would give to an infant. Tell that part of your body how much you love and appreciate it. Tell that part of your body that it is OK to relax and be calm. Tell that part of your body that you are safe and that it is OK to relax. Tell that part of your body that you will be patient with it as it heals, and that you will protect it like you would a precious child.
- Repeat steps five and six while maintaining a calm state of mind. If you feel yourself becoming frustrated or irritated or upset do your best to calm your mind again.
Be patient with yourself. When you are first starting your mind may wander, fears and doubts may creep in, but just keep practicing and you will strengthen your skills. Recognize and celebrate small successes.
If you need to use other pain methods after you’ve tried this that’s OK. Don’t give up on the method. Practice will really improve your mental focus skills.
Over time you will likely find additional uses for this mental technology for positively impacting your body and your life. Have fun with that!
Strengthen Your Skills
If you would like to get better at this, establishing a daily meditation practice is a great way to strengthen your mind. For at least a portion of your meditation each day focus your mind on some physical aspect of your body.
You could focus on your heart rate- trying to slow it down. You could bring your attention to raising your body temperature or lowering it. You could focus your mind on discomforts you have, either physical or mental ,and calming those down.
Assume a state of confidence at all times. If doubt, fear or worry creep in, simply say, “no” or “not now” or “calm” or “focus” or “relax.” Calm confidence will grow as your practice. It’s a neat skill to grow.
The more you practice this the better you will get. I can attest to that from my experience.
(P.S. I had indigestion last night from a very rich meal that I’m not used to. When I mentioned this to my son, he said “mom, why don’t you try using your mind to move the food along.” So I did and very quickly I felt no more indigestion. It’s not scientific proof, but it works for me and you’ve got nothing to lose by trying it first before medical interventions.)
Here’s to your health!
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