Can the power of the mind be stronger than pain?
It is true that drugs play a key role in the relief from pain, but in cases of chronic pain, taking them may be accompanied by serious side effects.
Fortunately, numerous studies have shown that there are alternative methods to treat pain, which have to do with concentration and the power of the mind.
How the Power of the Mind Relieves Pain, According to Science
1. Thinking about food
We all know what emotional eating is and how enjoying a great meal can lift our mood. It turns out that even thinking about the food you like can do wonders for your body!
Research at the University of Wisconsin showed that when one thinks of their favorite food, the intensity of pain decreases. Chocolate appeared to be the most common favorite food fantasy among the participants.
2. Controlled breathing
Deep diaphragmatic breathing can be very helpful since it stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which works like a sedative. Its effects on relieving mental symptoms such as anxiety and tension have long been known. However, the right breathing technique can have more tangible effects on physical health too.
The Lamaze breathing technique is based on this logic and is recommended to pregnant women to make the childbirth less painful.
3. Distracting your attention
The pain is actually a survival mechanism designed to draw our attention to the problem that causes it. But when the pain is chronic, it is essential to find a way to remove your attention from the pain. This can be achieved with activities that gradually bring relaxation, such as reading a book or watching a movie.
The repetition of a sound, a word, a phrase, or a prayer, even for 30 seconds, was found to reduce the intensity of unpleasant sensations. Researchers from the Massachusetts General Hospital suggest choosing a neutral or pleasant word or phrase, which was proved more effective than the sounds.
Imagine your pain like a big red mass and you are trying to slowly reduce its size or convert it to pink and soft. You can also imagine that you are in a bathtub with lukewarm water and your hands are floating. Imagine what is happening in every part of your body.
If you struggle in the beginning, it makes sense to try a few visualization exercises to improve your ability to visualize things.
6. Pressure Points
Gently press the areas that hurt, especially when it is a headache or muscle pain. The pressure sends messages to the brain that neutralize pain or reduce muscle tension so that it freezes the cause of pain. However, if the massage makes the pain even stronger, choose some other technique of pain relief.
Music affects the human brain in multiple ways. Some of the most notable effects of music include relaxation, anxiety relief, and enhanced brain function.
Research in arthritis patients showed that those who listened to music for an hour a week had decreased levels of pain and distress.
Expressive therapy is gaining more and more scientific weight as a means of relieving the symptoms of mental illness but also combating pain. Research showed that one hour of therapeutic art reduces both mental and physical symptoms in patients with AIDS and cancer.
A pilot survey of UCLA University showed that children and adults who watched funny videos, while their hands were in ice water, had greater resistance to uncomfortable sensations.
As you can see, the power of the mind can do many great things for your body. But the opposite effect is valid too. Negative thoughts and emotions can harm your physical health. For this reason, use the power of your mind wisely!
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