We all suffer from pain and stress. If you think about it, stress means tension and discomfort. This too can be applied to pain. We are not so aware of our mental/emotional pains but are more cognizant of physical pains. There are many remedies for physical pains. Our first solution is to pop a panadol or any over-the-counter painkiller. Sometimes, these painkillers are not enough to manage our pain. Or, sometimes we may not really need painkillers in the first place. Sometimes, fearing the pain while we do not have it can lead to painkiller addiction. How about other forms of pain management. How can we manage pain with mindfulness?
Pain relief medication
There are physical pains of different intensity. We all need medical care depending on the type of pain we experience. Medicine can definitely help with managing pain. But sometimes we fear the pain arising in the future that it can cause pain to appear physically.
While painkillers help us relieve pain and are mostly harmless, some kinds of painkillers such as opioids can carry the risk of addiction. Others may suffer allergic reactions to these medicines.
Some of us may suffer from chronic pain and chronic pain can be the brain being addicted to pain itself. Scientists have found that a drop in our neurotransmitter dopamine can cause brain addiction to pain. This indicates that pain is not solely dependent on our senses but it can be emotional as well.
Physical pain management with mindfulness
Besides painkiller medication, we can also use mindfulness to manage pain. How can we do that? Pain, as established by scientists, can also be affected by the brain and emotions. Mindfulness can be a tool for working with pain because it is actually the science of the mind.
When you experience pain in any part of the body, you can choose to observe the pain as opposed to becoming absorbed in your narrative about the pain. Usually, when we feel pain, we worry about how bad it is going to get or we lament about when we can get rid of it. Not wanting pain itself increases our emotional stress towards it.
Instead of resisting the pain, we could learn to send love to the pain. By loving and being gentle with the pain, it can help to reduce the tension around it. If you know how to meditate, you can calm your mind by placing your attention on your entire breath body.
Then gently bring your attention to the pain area and loosen the tension around the boundary of the pain. If you are able, you can also gently breathe into the pain to open up the tensed part of the body.
We hope these tips work for you the next time you encounter pain. The best way to learn to train yourself to work with pain with mindfulness is to experiment with these techniques when you experience pain while sitting in meditation or when you have mild headaches. So, when the bigger pain comes, you will know how to work with it.