While I am a huge fan of physical exercise as a healing tool, I also deeply believe that our minds are just as powerful as our body when it comes to pain relief. In fact, I believe that the two work together inextricably.
So today I want to share 4 super easy mental tricks you can use to fight pain.
1. Fantasize About Food: This one made me chuckle when I first learned about it but man, it really works! A study out of the University of Wisconsin found that fantasizing about your favorite food can decrease feelings of pain. Pick your absolute favorite guilty pleasure food and imagine it’s smell, taste and texture as fully as you can. P.S. Chocolate was found to be the top choice of research participants. Can’t imagine why!
2. Control Your Breath: Women have been using deep breathing as a pain relief technique during childbirth for decades and it works just as well for chronic pain. Try to take deep slow breaths through your nose that fill up your belly. This helps harness your parasympathetic nervous system and quiet the symptoms of arousal that tend to flair up with pain.
3. Use a Mantra: Repeating a mantra – usually a word or a phrase – can begin to dampen pain sensations in as little as 30 seconds. Focusing on a positive word of phrase has been shown to release your own endorphins. Personally, I used to repeat the phrase “My body is always healing” but I have also had clients who simply repeat the words Peace or Love. Find something that resonates with you and try to repeat it to yourself for at least 30 seconds.
4. Try Visualization: We all have a special place where we feel at peace. Perhaps it’s your favorite vacation spot, a nice warm bath, or even a memory of your grandparent’s house when you were a child. Allow yourself a few moments to be transported to a place in your mind where you feel relaxed and nurtured. Even if you are simply imagining this, your body will respond to this mental shift.
I hope you find these as helpful as I have.