Meditation has been around for centuries but as it becomes more mainstream, even more of us are turning to meditation and mindfulness as a way of coping with every day stresses and pressures.
In a world where we are addicted to technology and always being busy, meditation comes as a welcome relief. Most know it as a way to stop, slow down and think, but studies have shown that as well as having heaps of psychological benefits, meditation can also have a physical impact on us, too.
As meditation and mindfulness grows in popularity, we take a look at how meditation can help with physical pain relief.
What is Meditation?
Meditation is a practice where a person gets a sense of perspective and awareness. It’s a technique that encourages the unconscious mind and helps you find a deep concentration, calmness and clarity; it’s the ability to be present and engaged.
How Can Meditation Help with Chronic Pain?
Meditation can help your overall mood and make your pain less noticeable. Because of this, as you continue to meditate, the way you handle your discomfort and tolerate the pain will change. Meditation can also help relax muscles, which can alleviate further discomfort in the joints and muscle groups.
The more you practice, the more you’ll rely on meditation as a coping mechanism for your pain; you’ll also notice improvements in your sleep (which can also help you manage pain), concentration and memory – not directly impacting your pain management, but certainly a bonus. What’s most important to note is that those that participate in regular meditation have cited that they became happier and saw an increase in their quality of life. So it’s worth trying it, if that’s the potential outcome!
It’s thought that meditation specifically helps with pain by increasing the compound nitric oxide from increased relaxation. This is what causes the blood vessels to open up and subsequently encourages blood flow, which therefore reduces blood pressure. In fact, studies have shown that mindfulness can reduce chronic pain by 57%. Studies also found that meditation soothes brain patterns which can impact underlying pain.
A big part of meditation practice is about acknowledging discomfort in the body, be that physical or emotional, and observing the sensations to allow you to breathe through and deal with the uneasiness – and this is what also plays a big part in managing your pain with meditation. You simply learn to breath through it to the point that you no longer notice it. And if you don’t notice it, is it even there?
So, it’s time to get rid of the painkillers and focus on some healthy alternatives to managing your pain that has longevity, rather than long-lasting detriments to your health like pills.
Benefits of Meditation
The benefits of meditation are vast and it can not only calm your mind, ground you, help you deal with day-to-day pressures and alleviate stress, it can also help you identify physical pain and help you manage it.
The main benefits include:
- Reduced stress and anxiety
- Improved cardiovascular health
- Improved immunity
- Improved ageing
- Improved concentration
- Increased happiness
- Improved quality of life
- Increased self-awareness and acceptance
How to Meditate
Meditation is unique to you and is not as easy as it sounds on paper. However, if you’re looking to give it a go, here are some tips to get you started.
- Find a quiet space
- Close your eyes
- Slow, deep breathing
- Notice the sounds around you
- Focus on your breath
- Slow body stretching
- Body scan
If you’re struggling to do this alone, there are loads of guided meditations available online. If you search specifically for pain relief meditation, you can find videos more targeted to your needs.
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