How Meditation Can Help
Fortunately, meditation is an accessible, easy and free way to help reduce stress and manage pain. Meditation and relaxation therapies can be a great way of breaking the cycle of focusing on your pain.
A theory supported by a recent study on meditation explains that by activating and reinforcing certain areas of the brain used in pain processing, meditation can reduce pain intensity in patients.
Studies conducted within the past 10 years have shown that meditation may be able to change the four areas of the brain involved in pain processing or emotional and behavioral regulation. Meditation also increases activity in the pain and emotion regulating areas of the brain and can help control emotional reactions to pain.
Pain is a terrible sensation but meditation helps to reassert the notion that pain does not deserve such a strong emotional reaction and helps you gain some control over it. It is thought meditation can decrease pain by simply lowering your stress level.
How Do I Meditate?
So how exactly do you meditate? Although there really is no right or wrong way to meditate, these are some general guidelines:
- Focus: It's important to focus on the task at hand while meditating. In this age of smartphones and tablets, it can be difficult to tune oneself into focusing one on single task for a prolonged period of time. However, during meditation attaining focus can help to shift your mind from the negative thoughts and stress that pain can cause onto a simple and relaxing task.
- Breathing: Breathing ties into the previous tip of focusing; paying attention to your breath is a very effective way to ensure you're focus is on the present moment. Simply focusing on putting effort into breathing in and out in a smooth and controlled manner helps.
- Find the right environment: Obviously it might be difficult to meditate at a rock concert or sports game. Finding the right environment where you can relax and focus on meditating is essential to achieving optimal levels of stress relief and relaxation. Everyone is different, but a quiet, dark, and cool room can help your body and mind relax and focus on meditation.
- Control your thoughts and emotions: It is normal to have various interrupting thoughts and emotions when trying to meditate. However, be cognizant of them and try to flush them out of your mind while steering your thoughts back to the single task at hand during meditation.
Chronic pain and arthritis can be a long, difficult battle, and for most people that fight involves both their bodies and minds. The pain of arthritis can lead to increased stress for a number of reasons; fortunately, meditation can help to reduce the burden of stress you experience with arthritis.
Although meditating might not be for everyone, and is certainly not a magical cure for arthritis, it is a relatively safe and healthy option to alleviate some of the pain and stress you experience due to the condition.
Pain is a very complex sensation that can be difficult to control, but controlling your emotions will help in dealing with the pain. Rather than letting chronic pain take over your emotional state, use meditation to relax and focus on the good things that life does have to offer.