How your mind affects the pain that you are feeling and what you can do to change it permanently…(part 1)
This is the first time I have written about how the mind affects our perception of pain and how that directly affects your experience of pain. I wanted to share this deep in depth knowledge with you because I know that once you understand how it all works you will have a fighting chance of taking control of your pain, for what may be, the very first time for you.
The mind is an incredibly powerful and beautiful thing. The mind controls our physical actions, our thoughts, feelings, experiences, and emotions. Your mind creates all that you see and all that you understand.
The potential of your mind is limitless. There is nothing that the mind cannot comprehend. You have the ability to experience, comprehend and interpret all of the living and non living in this world. Yet more often than not, the majority of life’s experiences pass us by because we choose not to see them. You control your mind. You decide what you will experience and what you will ignore. This is known as the conscious mind and it is what allows us to make decisions in our lives. The conscious mind sorts, interprets, rationalises and processes all the information it receives and the end result of this processing is the opinion that you form about your life experiences and this includes your perception of pain.
Your pain is unique to you and you alone
Every single human being perceives pain in a different way. There are no 2 experiences of pain that are alike. Your mind’s ideas, understanding and perception of your pain directly affects how you feel pain physically. Other people’s experiences of pain can also influence your perception about pain. By far the biggest influencing factor in your awareness of pain is fear. These are just a few examples of how your mind effects how your body feels and responds to pain, or more importantly the ‘idea’ of pain:
How do you know if what you are feeling is really painful
So if each individual has a totally unique experience of pain, how then do you and your doctors, therapist etc measure your pain? Who decides what is a high or low pain threshold?
There are a vast array of pain measurement systems used by the medical profession in order for them to gauge a person’s level of pain. Some of them are very simplistic and simply ask you to give your pain a score from 0 to 10, 0 being no pain at all and 10 being the worst pain imaginable. This simple test is probably the most widely used pain scoring measurement. But, you cry, if 10 is the worst pain imaginable and everyone experiences a different feeling of pain then how will the person measuring my pain know just how extreme my worst imaginable pain is? Well that’s just it, they can’t. Even the most complex of pain measurement systems which take environmental, social, and physical factors into consideration will still not be able to measure how painful your pain is to you. Nothing can measure that, apart from one thing. YOU. You are the only measurement of your pain. If it feels painful to you then it is painful. Your most extreme pain may only seem mild to someone else if they were able to feel your experience but they can’t so what feels extreme to you is extreme and no one can truthfully, scientifically or medically tell you different.
In the medical world it is known as;
“Pain is what the patient says it is.”
This statement shows you very clearly that no one else can tell you if you have a high or low pain threshold. But this doesn’t stop healthcare professionals from trying to ‘pigeon hole’ you into a category of pain based on their experience of people with similar complaints.
Here is a typical scenario that occurs when a healthcare professional assesses someone’s pain levels;
This is by no means an accurate representation of you or your tolerance to pain. You are simply being judged by another person’s perception of what pain is and should be, as determined by their mind.
Once you are given a ‘label’ by your doctor it directly effects how you see yourself in your mind
Labelling and healthcare professional’s opinions of your pain will directly influence your minds perception of your pain and can in many circumstances, alter your mind’s perception of your pain.
Let me explain;
If you are told by your GP that you are feeling more pain than normal for your condition and therefore you must have a low pain threshold, your mind will process this information and change the way in which it interprets your pain. As a direct consequence of this your mind can actually manifest more pain than you felt before.
You will by now have gathered that your mind is the one defining influence of how you feel pain.
You, through your consciousness, control your mind so it stands to reason that you have an element of control over the pain you are feeling. I’m sure that if you have pain it won’t feel like you have any influence at all over the pain you are living with, but let me give you just a few examples of how people can directly and ‘consciously’ influence their mind to either reduce or enhance their pain;
I’m not suggesting that you run and join a religious cult or anything like that
It may sound like I’m suggesting that all you have to do to get rid of your pain is tell yourself (your mind) that you can’t feel any pain, but of course it is far from being that simple.
You can affirm “there is no pain, there is no pain, and there is no pain……” till you are blue in the face and it won’t do you any good. Why? Because all you’ve got to do is concentrate on the pain in your knee or back or wherever and you realise you are in pain. You don’t even have to focus on your knee, back etc, you know you have pain, and this is where the problem lies.
In order for the conscious mind ‘control’ to work you have to totally and utterly, without even one tiny doubt, believe that this actually is the case. In other words, when you say to yourself “there is no pain” you have to believe those words and have the utmost conviction that they are true, even whilst you are in pain at the time of saying them. This is a gargantuan task in itself and for the vast majority of people it is unattainable and impossible.
The religious sects who practice the walking on red hot coals have been trained from birth to not believe what the eye sees but to only believe in the truth that the mind is told, this enables them to look at the world and its environment in a totally alien way to you or I. In fact for these people nothing is impossible; if they can conceive that it is possible in their ‘minds eye’. And that is how so many unexplainable phenomena occur in the world.
If at this point you are losing hope then don’t, the answer to your pain is just around the corner
Now does this mean that all the time you have been reading I have been “leading you up the garden path” and raising your hopes of a pain free existence only to cruelly dash those hopes away by saying “sorry there is no help or hope for you”? No it doesn’t mean that and as an ex chronic pain sufferer myself there really would be no reason to, or way, that I would ever do that.
What I am saying is that the mind is so full of absolute potential and is so powerful that it is capable of incredibly, amazing, wondrous, unimaginable things. And if you harness just a little bit of it in the right way it can make a ‘whole lot of difference’ to the way in which your pain controls your life.
It is a widely known fact that human beings only use 10% of their brain. What is less known is that you have on average 60,000 thoughts a day, everyday? 90% of those thoughts are negative. That means that 90% of the 10% of your brain that you do use is devoted to thinking about ‘bad’ or ‘not nice’ things.
Let me explain this a little bit more….
The media is full of negative images and stories. Each day we pick up our newspaper or turn on the TV or Radio news and listen to the atrocities that occur each day, the USA hurricane, terrorist attacks, a family dying in a house fire, another famine crisis in Africa. How can you not be affected by all this ‘bad news?’ It gets you down and is interpreted in your mind as a negative thought. You can’t be blamed for this, it is not easy to look at the world we live in today and not be disheartened by the events we hear about and witness.
Human nature is to always look for a negative before a positive. For example when you buy something and get it home, you unwrap it and the first thing that comes to mind about it is that it isn’t quite what you expected it to be. Maybe it’s smaller than you thought or the colour isn’t quite right. Automatically you are conditioned, through history and social upbringing to see the ‘faults’ before you recognize the positive attributes of the item. Of course there must be many positives to whatever it was you bought or you wouldn’t have bought it in the first place, but for a short period of time you can’t see them because all you see are the negatives.
Now the negative aspects will diminish as you start to use the item and remember all the things you liked about it when you saw it in the shop, OR you might find that it doesn’t live up to expectations because the negative aspects prey too heavily on your mind until you return it to the shop as unsuitable.
There is nothing wrong with this behaviour. It is perfectly natural. It quite clearly demonstrates how focused we are on the negatives in life. We are so easily swayed away from seeing the good in almost everything around us and that most certainly is our ‘human nature.’
If I equate this ‘90% negative thoughts’ into the context of pain, you will see how it is possible for you to exert some control over your pain.
magnet therapy is a natural alternative pain relief treatment for fibromyalgia, gout, arthritis, sciatica and many other chronic painful conditions.