The National Center for Health Statistics (2006) says chronic pain affects one-fourth of America’s population with millions more suffering from acute pain. If you are reading this, you are most likely one of them. Take a journey with me just for a moment, and imagine the pain in your body right now or the pain that you typically encounter throughout the day. If you had to come up with one word to describe it, what would it be? Perhaps gnawing, throbbing, aching, annoying, or stressful. What is your pain level right now? A zero maybe, or perhaps a seven or even a ten.
The point is that only you who are experiencing the pain can describe it properly. Pain is an individual experience because it is affected by what we believe.
Because perception and tolerance of pain vary widely from person to person, it makes it difficult to define and describe. Essentially, pain is the way your brain interprets information about a particular sensation that your body is experiencing. Information or signals about this painful sensation are sent via nerve pathways to your brain.
The way in which your brain interprets these signals as “pain” or other feelings is affected by what you believe about the pain or other feelings. By changing your thoughts related to your pain, you can change how you respond to your pain, which can change how you feel the pain physically in your body.
Louise Hay wrote a great book called Heal Your Body A-Z where she connects the mental causes for physical illness, disease, and pain and identifies new thought patterns to heal and overcome them. If you have back pain, consider your feelings about your fear around money (lower back), maybe feelings of guilt you harbor (middle back), or perhaps the feeling of lack of emotional support or feeling unloved (upper back).
The same is true for joy and other emotions. When you experience joy or happiness, you can physically feel that in your body. If you are happy long enough, that joy can spread throughout your body. Take note of where you feel different emotions in your body such as joy, happiness, and confidence. Knowing that spot and being able to locate it can help you ease pain, and I’ll show you how in five easy steps.
Step One: BELIEVE- The first step in using your thoughts and your mind to heal is to believe, take a leap of faith. You must believe in the power of the mind to change, the power of our thoughts to heal. If you are what you eat, then you should be what you think. Thought precedes action.
Step Two: BREATHE- The second step is to breathe. Simply focus on breathing and go within. To learn more about breathing to connect the mind-body-spirit, click here: Five Steps to Connecting the Mind-Body-Spirit Through Breath
Breathe in. Breathe out.
Breathe in. Breathe out.
Forget this, and attaining Enlightenment will be the least of your problems.
~Waylon Lewis, 10 Funny Zen Buddhist Jokes, 0 Punchlines at Elephantjournal.com
Step Three: INTENTION- The third step is to take control and set an intention. Here is how it works. Set an intention (to relax or feel at peace in the body, for example). Next, achieve this relaxed state or peace by closing your eyes, breathing deeply, imagining a relaxing scene like the ocean or a waterfall, and imagining and visualizing your intention coming true.
Step Four: INVOKE- The fourth step is to invoke the feelings of joy, happiness, and confidence. Recall where these feelings are in your body and allow them to spread by simply focusing on them and feeling them grow inside of you. Allow these pleasant feelings to spread to the areas in your body that cause you discomfort.
Step Five: AFFIRM- The fifth step is to affirm these new feelings. Make up your own affirmation that speaks to you or try this one, “I lovingly release the past. I am free, they are free, we are free. All is well in my heart.” Allow yourself to come back to the present by gently opening your eyes, feeling refreshed, and mentally alert.
This process is simple and can be done by anyone, even children. Additionally, this can be done with a guide to help give suggestions to achieve your intention or to release blocks or barriers towards achieving your goal.
When you use mindfulness in a relaxed state, all of the senses are activated, and the body responds as though what is being imagined is real. The mind places all the right amounts of feelings about that situation in your memories. That is how new habits are formed like quitting smoking, getting over fears, or reducing pain. This works for pain and any part of the body that needs healing whether mental, emotional, physical, or spiritual.
So if you believe the mind and body are connected, and you believe that what you think, you are, then you can control your pain. You have the power within you to heal and to ease your pain. Everyone has the power within to heal; however, you must be aware of it and be willing to go within to explore that healing power.
National Center for Health Statistics. (2006). Pain management. Retrieved from https://report.nih.gov/nihfactsheets/ViewFactSheet.aspx?csid=57
Hay, L. L. (2011). Heal your body A-Z. Hay House, Inc. Carlsbad, CA.