Last week, I talked about how practicing mindfulness and meditation can help us become “more present”.
What are some of the other benefits?
One of the most interesting, is reduction in pain.
Pain is an alert that something is wrong. According to a 2015 Wake Forrest Baptist medical study, that having a mindfulness practice can help reduce the severity of pain. (https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/11/151110171600.htm)
Nowadays, when there is pain and you end up in the doctor’s office, you might end up with a prescription to help with the pain. For me, I try to avoid medication as much as possible. If you NEED it, by all means, do what you think is best. However, I hope my own mindfulness practice can help deal with it.
We always associate pain as a bad thing and attached negative feelings towards the pain. Our first thought is “How do I get rid of this pain?!” Pain is something that we want to escape because it is uncomfortable. By associating negativity with pain, it can end up making it more painful! This can end up being a vicious cycle. The more we dwell on it, the worse it gets. According to some of the research, being aware of the pain without judgement (easier said than done!) can help in the recovery.
In a 2011 study by Grant et al, they found that meditators that were in pain, had an increase in activity in brain regions associated with processing sensations of pain and a decrease in activity in brain regions associated with emotion and memory.
In a 2015 study by Zeidan et al confirmed those findings and also showed that mindful meditators actually had a different neural pathway in perceiving and processing pain, therefor feeling better.
Meditation and mindfulness can be another tool in the toolbox. If you are in pain, give a “full body meditation” a try. Meditation is not a “magic pill”, but it might help you find a little relief. (here is a link that you can use to help https://www.mindful.org/a-3-minute-body-scan-meditation-to-cultivate-mindfulness/)
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