MINDFULNESS 101: AWARENESS FOR CHRONIC PAIN RELIEF

Jun 29, 2020

Mindfulness is a common buzzword these days.

You may have heard it mentioned alongside terms like meditation and self-care. This is because mindfulness is a self-care practice that can be used during stress management techniques such as meditation.

But what is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the act of controlling your attention to focus on everything happening in the current moment.

This tool can be used for several minutes to find temporary solace from symptoms of depression, anxiety, and pain. Here is a quick run-down of what you need to know about using mindfulness for chronic pain relief:

Start by setting up your environment.

Once you become more skilled in the art of mindfulness, you may be able to practice this anywhere. Find a quiet place (like a bedroom or basement) where you can be at ease. Have your favorite blanket, soft chair, or exercise mat. You may want to dim the lights.

Position your body so you are relaxed and not in severe pain, but will still remain awake. This may be laying down on a mat, sitting in a chair, leaning against the wall, or sitting with your legs crossed and shoulders tall. Take advantage of any accents or postures that will allow you to feel moderately comfortable.

Recognize all that is around you.

Some people say closing your eyes allows more attention to other sensations that we often disregard, while meditating with eyes open encourages more discipline by focusing on everything rather than just sight. This ultimately is left to personal preference, and you will decide this as your practice deepens.

The best way to start is by focusing on how you feel and what is around you, such as:

  • Sounds (white noise from an air conditioner, birds chirping, faint voices from the TV upstairs)
  • Sensations (clothes on your body, pain in a certain joint, tension or stiffness in your back, warmth from your blanket, cold from the ice pack nearby, comfort or discomfort from your body position)
  • Aromas (the new lotion you are using, your familiar shampoo, fabric softener on the blanket, the casserole in the oven, a candle you are burning, essential oils from the diffuser)
  • Tastes (mintiness from your toothpaste, fruit from your gum, lingering grit from oral medication)
  • Sights (outline of objects in the dark, curtains moving with the breeze, cars driving by)

As with anything, the ability to practice mindfulness only improves with time and dedication. The use of mindfulness for chronic pain relief encourages individuals to recognize all that is around them in lieu of recurring or distressing thoughts about pain and their bodies.

This not only serves to ground individuals and give them a sense of calm, but prompts them to make this a habit whenever uncomfortable symptoms (and thoughts) arise.

While mindfulness is a valuable resource, this technique is best used in conjunction with a plan for chronic pain relief.

To gain structure for your body and mind, it is important to seek support for your chronic pain.

Feel free to join our challenge or schedule a free chat with a Pain Mentor today!

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