Chronic pain affects many disabled people. It can be frustrating if you live with pain that’s hard to control. Physical therapy, painkillers, and lifestyle changes aren’t always enough. If you’re struggling, you may find mindfulness meditation helpful.
Here are benefits of mindfulness for pain relief.
7. Mindfulness Alleviates Stress
It’s hard to live a low-stress life if you’re living with chronic physical pain. Researchers have found that chronic pain and chronic stress go hand in hand.
Living under high levels of stress isn’t healthy. Too much stress can weaken your immune system. It can also cause high blood pressure, fatigue, heart disease, and more. Chronic pain is hard enough, and these issues only make things worse.
The good news is that mindfulness can help. Even doing it briefly can change your psychological and neuroendocrine responses to stress.
6. It Fights Depression
Many people with chronic pain also experience depression. Depression can worsen pain, and pain can worsen depression. The link is so strong that doctors usually check for depression when diagnosing chronic pain.
Medication and talk therapy can help with depression, but they don’t always cure it. Mindfulness can also help.
5. It Encourages Acceptance
Nobody enjoys pain. However, accepting your pain situation can help make your life more peaceful.
Accepting pain doesn’t mean that you like what’s happening. Instead, it means that you accept reality. Research finds that accepting negative experiences without judgment helps the impact fade faster.
Tara Brach, a contemporary Buddhist teacher and psychologist, wrote the book Radical Acceptance to explain how this works. She writes “The boundary to what we can accept is the boundary to our freedom.”
4. Mindfulness Fights the 3 Big Components of Pain
Researchers have found 3 components of pain:
- Physical sensations
- Emotional response to the sensations
- Social effects of the experience
Mindfulness can help you understand the distinctions between them. This can lessen the difficulty related to your pain.
This can help you build a healthy attitude in the face of pain.
3. Research Shows It Works
Researchers have found good results from mindfulness. One especially helpful study traces the neurological workings of pain and how mindfulness fights it.
However, that doesn’t mean that mindfulness cures everything. Researchers are still studying how it works. While it can’t fix everything, we have proof that it helps.
2. It Changes How Your Brain Perceives Pain
Mindfulness alters the brain.
In 2011, researchers studied how people experience pain. People who meditated had more activity in brain regions linked to processing physical pain. They also had less activity in regions related to emotion, appraisal, and memory.
Around 100 million Americans suffer from some type of pain.
1. Mindfulness can be Practiced Anywhere, Anytime
Medication and physical therapy cost money and aren’t always accessible. Mindfulness is always an option.
You can work on mindfulness anywhere. Whether you’re sitting in a work meeting, picking up the kids at school, or relaxing at home, you can work on it.
Every mind is different. Thus, it may take some time to find which approach works best for you. If you’re in pain, it may take some practice to figure out what helps you feel better.
Talk to your doctor about how to treat chronic pain. Mindfulness can become part of your pain management plan. It can’t fix everything, but it just might make a world of difference.