Meditation is a popular method for relieving stress and pain. Mental processes can modify sensory phenomena, as well as pain. “How does pain meditation help?” This is a common question and this study by Wake Forest University can help to explain it better.
Researchers took 15 healthy volunteers and completed MRI scans of their brains while inducing pain. In the next 4 days, a certified meditation instructor trained the patients in mindfulness meditation. On the 5th day, the researchers re-scanned the patients 2 times ─ once while not meditating, and the second time while meditating, both times with pain being induced. The results showed that there was about a 40% pain reduction during meditation when compared with non-meditation. The study revealed that by triggering and strengthening some areas of the brain used in pain processing, meditation has an effect of aiding in pain relief and pain intensity in patients.
Here are the steps to help you get started in pain relieving meditation:
~ Pain Meditation ─ 10 Steps to Treat Pain ~
Before you begin your meditation there are a couple things to consider:
- The environment: Make sure to find a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted for about 20 minutes. It can be outdoors, in your yard or in your home.
- Be comfortable: Get into a comfortable position for you. It can be sitting on a pillow with your legs crossed and hands resting on your lap, or even in a chair with your feet resting on the floor and hands crossed on your lap.
- Take as long as you need: Each step should take at least 2 minutes, but you can take as long as you want.
- There is no right or wrong way to meditate!
- Keep positive!
- Go through each of the following steps in order.
Step One: Breath Calmly
Breath slowly, in, then out. Observe each breath and let your breathing to become calm, deep, and slow.
Step Two: Practice Passive Awareness:
Use your senses and become aware of everything perceived. Take noticing of one thing at a time. Be sure to notice each sound that you can hear. Notice each breath. Notice the ground beneath you. Lastly, notice your pain. Observe all of this without attempting to change anything.
Step Three: Do A Mental Body Scan:
Start at the tips of your toes, and move your focus up your body, one area at a time, all the way up to your head. Concentrate fully on each area of your body. Notice how your body feels, but don’t try to change anything.
Step Four: Notice and Accept:
How do you feel while you are scanning? Don’t change your thoughts, but accept your thoughts and move on. Let your thoughts flow freely. Meditation is not about quieting your thoughts.
Step Five: Focus on Your Breathing:
Concentrate. Focus on each and every breath as it enters and exits your body.
Step Six: Repeat Meaningful Words:
Use a phrase that is meaningful to you. Repeat the words over and over while solely concentrating on the words. Repeat your words with each breath inhaled, and each breath exhaled. If you lose focus on your words, bring it back.
Step Seven: Notice and Accept:
Again, observe your thoughts, and don’t try to change them. Accept each thought and move on.
Step Eight: Practice Passive Awareness:
Use your senses to perceive your environment. Notice one thing at a time. Don’t change anything you observe.
Step Nine: Breath Calmly:
Breath deeply and slowly, in, then out. Observe every breath. Let your breathing to become calm, deep and slow.
Step Ten: Perform a Brief Stretch and Reflect:
Open your eyes, stretch out your muscles and then reflect on your meditation.
~ What You Should Expect From Pain Meditation, And How To Improve Your Experience ~
During your pain meditation and afterward, you will feel relaxed and calm. Your mood should improve, as well. Your pain will be less noticeable , less upsetting and easier to deal with.
With more practice, you will gain skill and become more comfortable with pain meditation. You will learn to relax and focus more easily. You will learn how to enter that focused state of mind that you are trying to achieve. Then you will notice improved memory, concentration, coping and sleep.
As you improve your skills even further, you will develop the ability to control and direct your pain. Meditation can allow you to experience reduced pain, become happier, and have an overall better well-being.
In conclusion, we hope that these steps for a mindful, pain meditation will help you to reduce your pain and live a happier life with less pain.
Robin and the Zen Team!
*Note: This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any health condition. Therefore, ask your doctor about any health concerns that you might have and seek proper medical treatment.
Photo Sources– Pixabay.com