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5 Ways Mindfulness Can Help You Manage Your Pain

Mindfulness Can Lessen Pain Using These 5 Techniques

If you are suffering from chronic pain, mindfulness is a valuable complementary therapy to traditional pain management methods, as it is a proven way to reduce pain and improve overall quality of life. Try these simple techniques listed below the next time you have intense pain, and experience for yourself, how they can lessen the pain and improve your life.

If you're an individual who is living with chronic pain, you know first hand how debilitating it can be. Chronic pain can make it hard to focus, sleep, and simply find enjoyment in life. But there is always hope. Mindfulness is a proven way to reduce pain and improve your quality of life and it is available to you anytime, anywhere!

Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention to the present moment without added judgment or commentary. It's a state of being aware of your thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations without getting caught up in them. When one is being mindful, they are not trying to change their experience, they’re just simply observing it.

Although simple in theory, this can be a challenging practice, especially when you're in pain. But it's worth trying it. After all there are no side effects and it does not cost you anything.

According to research, mindfulness can help you to:

  • Reduce the intensity and frequency of pain

  • Improve your mood and sleep

  • Increase your ability to cope with stress

  • Enhance your overall well-being

Here are five simple mindfulness techniques that can help provide relief from pain:

1. Mindful breathing

Mindful breathing is one of the simplest and also the most effective ways to quickly reduce pain. When you focus your attention on your breath, you are bringing your attention into the present moment, and away from your pain. This will not take the pain away completely. However, it will inevitably give you more space from the overwhelming experience of your pain, and likely give you a momentary reprieve from the pain as well. You are not your pain. You are a person with a body, who is experiencing physical pain in that body. This is an important distinction that mindfulness helps us become more aware of.

In order to practice mindful breathing, make yourself as comfortable as possible, either sitting or lying down. Close your eyes or soften the gaze, and begin to take a few deep breaths. Noticing the coolness of the breath as it flows into the nose, the warmth as it flows out, the rising and the falling of your chest and belly, and the expansion and contraction of the back body as your lungs expand with each breath. This beautiful breath, coping mechanism, tool that is with you always. See if you can follow an entire breath from the start of the inhale, all the way through to the exhale. And then one more. Let the thoughts come and go, trying not to follow or engage with them. Try to keep refocusing your attention on your breath again and again.

Continue to breathe mindfully for a few minutes. If your mind wanders, gently bring it back to your breath without any judgment. For some, listening to guided breathing exercises can be helpful.

2. Body scan

The body scan is another incredibly helpful mindfulness tool that can be soothing for pain relief. When a person scans their body using a body scan, it brings their attention to each individual part of the body, from head to toe. Many notice areas of tension or holding that may be adding to their level of pain. Once tension is located, we can imagine breathing into those areas (or surrounding areas) releasing any pain that we are adding, by tensing around the painful area(s).

To practice the body scan technique, find a comfortable position for your body. Close your eyes and bring your attention to all the points of your body resting on the chair, floor, bed etc. Notice any sensations in the body pleasant, unpleasant and neutral. Begin to focus on scanning the body (usually head to toe or toe to head) and move through each part feeling into and mentally relaxing or softening that particular area. If it is too painful in a certain spot to soften or relax, focus on softening the surrounding areas around the pain.

For instance, bring your attention to your feet. Feel into the soles of both feet, the heels, arches, pads, toes. Then, feel the tops of your feet and move up the leg and continue working up the body mentally.

Continue to bring your attention to each part of your body, from your toes to your head or head to toes. Notice any sensations, and breathe into any pain or surrounding areas of pain with self-compassion.

The body scan helps us to refocus our attention on other parts of the body, often giving a little mental space from our pain or momentary reprieve from the pain level. It also helps us to become aware of ways in which we may be contributing to our pain by tensing the body and resisting the painful sensations.

3. Present moment awareness

Present moment awareness also more broadly known as "Mindfulness" is the practice of bringing your attention to the present moment you are actually experiencing without any need for anything to be different than it is. When you're truly experiencing the present moment, you are not thinking about your past or your future. You're just witnessing your moment by moment experience and bodily sensations.

This can be especially challenging, when you're in a lot of pain. But if you are willing to try it within these overwhelming moments, you will find it very useful. There is nothing wrong with the current moment even if it includes pain, this is just your body in this moment. When you focus your attention on the present moment, you're much less likely to get carried away in your thoughts and feelings surrounding your pain. You're also able to find joy in the small things in your life, yes even while you're still in pain.

To practice present moment awareness, find a comfortable position for you and your body. Notice your surroundings, take in the textures, colors patterns and small details you may have been overlooking prior. Like a scientist never having experienced your environment, become incredibly curious and observant. Next, close your eyes and notice the sounds in the surrounding space, transition to any smells, and lastly feel into the body. Feel the points of your body resting on the floor, chair, bed etc. Notice the air moving against your skin, the clothing resting on your skin. Don't judge anything that you're experiencing, just observe it. Feel your breath moving through your body. The coolness of the breath flowing in, the warmth of the breath flowing out, the rising and falling of the chest and belly. The wave of the breath moving through your entire body.

Continue to stay with your moment by moment experience and come back to this moment each time you become lost in a thought. Listening to a guided mindfulness practice can help you get started!

4. Gratitude

Gratitude is simply the act of truly appreciating all of the things in your life, good and bad. When you're grateful, you focus on the positive aspects of your experiences, even when you're in pain and have a bad experience.

Research shows that practicing gratitude can have a number of incredible benefits, including reducing stress levels, improving mood, and increasing an overall sense of well-being. It has also been shown to be helpful for coping with pain.

In order to practice gratitude, simply try taking a few minutes each day to think about the things you're grateful for that day. It can be anything, big or small. In fact, focusing on the small things that you are grateful for can help you find gratitude even when it is very difficult to see the positive within your painful life experience. 

You can start by being grateful for a bed to sleep in, a roof to sleep under, food in your belly, clean water to drink and bathe in. There are so many small things that we take for granted daily, especially in our modernized world.  

When you focus on the good aspects of even the challenging parts of your life, it helps to distract your mind from your pain. The pain will not go away, but you can refocus your attention and temporarily find relief from the pain. Reframing your perspective to that of gratitude can immensely help you to feel more positive and hopeful about your life circumstances.

5. Self-compassion

Self-compassion refers to being kind and compassionate to yourself, just as you would be to a very close friend or loved one. In fact, even more compassionate than you would a friend or loved one, because you my friend need it! When you feel most depressed, and the most overwhelmed by your pain please be kind and compassionate towards yourself. Rub your arm with the other arm (or imagine if needed) and kindly tell yourself, “It is okay, I am here with you, and anyone would be sad in these circumstances.” Be the kind empathetic friend you need for yourself.

All of these coping techniques can help to lessen pain levels and allow you to refocus your attention on something other than your constant pain. I encourage you to try just one of these techniques the next time that you feel overwhelmed by your own pain!

When Chronic Pain and Illness Take Everything Away

Illness and Chronic Pain Took Everything Away,
Now What?


For those living with chronic pain and illness it can sometimes feel as if everything has been taken away from you. Often it can be a constant struggle just to manage symptoms, maintain relationships, and keep up with daily responsibilities. However, there are ways to find resilience and find joy in your life again.


Here are some tips and strategies for coping with chronic pain and illness:


Acceptance


Chronic pain and illness can have a significant impact on every aspect of your life, including physical, emotional, and social well-being. It can affect your ability to work, participate in activities you enjoy, and maintain relationships with loved ones. It’s important to accept the impact of chronic pain and illness on your life in order to develop effective coping strategies.


Support


Dealing with chronic pain and illness can feel isolating, but it’s important to remember that you are not alone. Seek out support from others in similar circumstances, through patient support groups. Additionally, consider seeking professional help from an individual therapist. They can provide valuable resources on ways to cope well with chronic pain and illness. Remember, seeking support is a sign of strength, not of weakness.


Coping Techniques


Coping with chronic pain and illness can be overwhelming, but developing coping strategies and self-care routines can help you regain a sense of control. This may include practicing mindfulness or meditation, reading a book or taking a course on illness and/or pain, engaging in gentle exercise or stretching, or finding a creative outlet like painting or writing. It’s important to find what works for you and make it a regular part of your routine. Additionally, prioritize self-care activities like getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and taking breaks when needed. Remember, taking care of yourself is essential to managing chronic pain and illness.


Alternative Therapies


While traditional medical treatments can be effective for managing chronic pain and illness, exploring alternative therapies and treatments can also be beneficial. This may include acupuncture, massage therapy, chiropractic care, or herbal remedies. It’s important to do your research and consult with a healthcare professional before trying any new treatments. Additionally, some alternative therapies may not be covered by insurance, so it’s important to consider the financial aspect as well. However, for some individuals, alternative therapies can provide relief and improve overall well-being.


Joy


When chronic pain and illness take everything away, it can be easy to feel like there is no joy or purpose left in life. However, it’s important to actively seek out and cultivate moments of joy and purpose. This may include finding hobbies or activities that bring you pleasure, connecting with friends or loved ones, volunteering, or setting small goals for yourself. By focusing on the things that bring you happiness and fulfillment, you can regain a sense of control and resilience in the face of chronic pain and illness.

15 Inspirational Chronic Illness And Pain Quotes

Chronic Illness And Pain Quotes

Living with chronic illness and pain can be a challenging and lonely experience. It can be extremely difficult to find the strength to keep going, when you feel like you are in a constant battle against your own body. These 15 quotes offer words of encouragement and remind you that you are never truly alone in your struggles.


1) “Life doesn’t get easier or more forgiving, we get stronger and more resilient.” ― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free.


There is a mistaken assumption when we are young that life will become easier as we age, but the alternative is usually the case. Life only becomes more complex as we age. This is especially apparent when facing chronic pain or illness. Life is an ever evolving acceptance of where we are, as we are.


2) “The oak fought the wind and was broken, the willow bent when it must and survived.”
― Robert Jordan, The Fires of Heaven


This quote so eloquently demonstrates in a simple way the need to adapt and adjust to our life and the “weather” we experience. Rigidity and the need for control will only harm us more.


3) “Resilience is accepting your new reality, even if it’s less good than the one you had before. You can fight it, you can do nothing but scream about what you’ve lost, or you can accept that and try to put together something that’s good.”
― Elizabeth Edwards


I love the way this quote shows us that even if we are unaccepting of our reality it will not change it. The sooner that we can come to a place of acceptance, the quicker we can move forward into a more joyful life even alongside illness and pain.


4) “If your heart is broken, make art with the pieces.”
― Shane Koyczan


We are never truly broken and we are so much stronger than we ever imagined. Lean into the unique strength your “brokenness” is gifting you.


5) “Persistence and resilience only come from having been given the chance to work through difficult problems.”
― Gever Tulley


There is so much gained through facing all that you do each and every day. It only makes you better prepared to meet the next challenge.


6) “It’s your reaction to adversity, not adversity itself that determines how your life’s story will develop.”
― Dieter F. Uchtdorf


It is our reaction to everything in our life that defines how our life evolves. We have very little choice over a lot in our lives, but we always have agency to react in a way that is supportive of our goals and life.


7) “I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.”
― Maya Angelou


I completely agree with Maya. No matter our life circumstances, they do not have to define us as a person.


8) “She stood in the storm and when the wind did not blow her way, she adjusted her sails.”
― Elizabeth Edwards


Life is ever-evolving and changing. The quicker we learn to expect difficulties in life, the sooner we can get to refocusing our attention on living our best life.


9) “No matter how bleak or menacing a situation may appear, it does not entirely own us. It can’t take away our freedom to respond, our power to take action.”
― Ryder Carroll


We always have the choice in how we respond and react to the challenges in our lives.


10) “On the other side of a storm is the strength that comes from having navigated through it. Raise your sail and begin.”
― Gregory S. Williams  


It truly is the most difficult times in our lives that give us the greatest strength, not the easy times.


11) “Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.”

― Helen Keller  


The world is full of those that are suffering, but persevering anyway.


12) ”You are not your illness. You have an individual story to tell. You have a name, a history, a personality. Staying yourself is part of the battle." - Julian Seifter


You are more than your condition and have a unique story to tell.


13) ”Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional." - Haruki Murakami


While we may not be able to control the pain we experience, we can choose how we respond to it. Suffering is a choice, and we have the power to choose to focus on the positive aspects of our lives and find joy alongside our pain.


14) ”The strongest people are not those who show strength in front of us but those who win battles we know nothing about." - Unknown


We never truly know what battles someone else may be facing. It's easy to assume that someone who appears strong and put-together on the outside is not struggling, but the reality is that many people are fighting invisible battles every day.


15) ”You are not a burden. You are a human being with challenges that are valid and real." - Unknown


It is okay to ask for help and support when dealing with chronic illness and pain. It's easy to feel like a burden on others when we need extra help or accommodations, but the truth is that we all have challenges and limitations. It's important to remember that our struggles are valid and real, and that we deserve compassion and understanding from ourselves and others.

Why Acceptance is Important in Chronic Pain & Illness

Acceptance When Suffering With Chronic Pain and Illness

Living with chronic pain and illness can be overwhelming, isolating and downright scary at times. But, working towards developing acceptance of your circumstances, and learning to live with it is key to leading a more joyful life. In this blog, we explore ways to accept the reality of chronic illness and pain as well as live a beautiful life alongside it.

Allow Your Feelings

Acknowledge the emotions you feel in response to your illness. It's okay to feel sad, overwhelmed, resentful or grieved - accept your feelings and give them space to exist. At the same time, remember that these feelings are transient; they change and pass over time allowing more positive coping strategies to come through. So, try not to ruminate on these negative feelings too long if they do not pass right away.

Connect with Others Who Can Relate

Finding people with whom you can relate to is a key part of accepting and living with chronic illness and pain. Connecting with others who understand what it’s like can help make managing your illness easier, as you’re no longer handling it solo. Look for online support groups specifically addressing similar challenges you have or that cater to managing chronic illness and pain. It's important to find people who are sympathetic and will not invalidate your experiences or opinions.

Setting Healthy Boundaries Where Possible

Of course, it's also important to make any necessary changes in your life. Adjusting to living with chronic illness and pain begins by making lifestyle modifications that improve your overall health and well-being. This may include eating a healthier diet, exercising more or less, limiting stressors, or even trying alternative forms of help like acupuncture, meditation, yoga, Reiki or herbal supplements. With diligence and effort, you can work to cope better, and find a sense of normalcy again.

Identify New Goals and/or Purpose in Life

Acceptance of chronic illness and pain includes looking for new ways to find joy and fulfillment. It's important to identify new hobbies, activities, and goals that you can pursue in order to get more out of life. This could be taking classes on a subject you've always been interested in, giving back to your community through volunteerism, starting a side business, or simply finding time everyday to relax, and reconnect with yourself, while doing something that brings you joy. Finding meaning and purpose in life despite chronic illness and pain can be a difficult, but ultimately a worthwhile, transformative journey.

Reach Out for Professional Help When Needed

Finding acceptance in regards to chronic illness and pain can be difficult, and feeling discouraged is completely normal!  Please never hesitate to reach out and talk with a mental health professional if needed. Seeking help from a qualified psychologist or other mental health professional can provide good guidance in order to work through intrusive thoughts or feelings that can arise from having a long-term illness and pain. Seeking advice is not a sign of weakness, it’s just taking the important step of being proactive about your own personal well-being.

Yoga For Back Pain: 5 Movements To Reduce Discomfort

Five Yoga Postures For Back Pain

Yoga can be an effective form of back pain management, providing an array of stretches and poses that can provide both physical and mental relief from soreness and discomfort. Check out this guide to learn five yoga postures that could help reduce your back pain and improve your day-to-day quality of life. Long slow extended exhales will help you to gain the most relief from the stretches. Most importantly, consistency is key! The more frequently that you do these stretches the better your pain relief will be. Join us live for Yoga online! Check our current event schedule for classes!

Cat-Cow Pose

The Cat-Cow pose is a gentle, easy stretch that is great at helping to release tension in the spine and lower back area of the body. To begin, kneel on the ground into table top positon, in which your hands are planted directly below your shoulders and your knees are bent parallel to your hips with the shins on the mat. As you exhale, gently begin to round your spine and tuck your chin and tailbone into cat pose. Then, reversing the spinal bend as you inhale start to arch your spine, round your tailbone out/up, bringing the head/gaze upwards into a full cow pose. Repeat several times for relaxing relief.

Child's Pose

Child's Pose is a resting yoga pose that helps to lengthen the spine and stretch the lower back while calming the mind. To do it, start in an all-fours (table top) position, then widen the knees and slowly sit your hips back onto your heels. Extend your arms along the ground in front of you, alongside your body or in prayer hands above your head. Draw your forehead toward your mat and stay there, breathing deeply into any areas of discomfort. Use pillows under your bottom and/or under your head if desired for a more supported, restorative version.

Seated Forward Fold

Seated forward fold is a great pose for relieving tension in your shoulders, neck and entire back body. To perform this movement, sit with both legs extended out in front of you. Inhale as you sit up tall from the crown of the head and then begin to reach your arms up to the sky (shoulders down away from your ears), then exhale as you hinge at the hips over your legs. Keep your spine as straight as possible, chest facing forward and rest your head and neck wherever they reach. Feel free to bring in pilllows for support to increase the comfort. Also, remember that bending the knees will lessen the intensity if it becomes painful. Next, focus on mentally sofening the muscles around any areas of discomfort or tension as you move deeper into the pose. Hold the pose for a few breaths before releasing it and slowly walking your upper body back body upright.

Standing Forward fold

Standing forward fold is another pose with many potential benefits for those suffering from back pain. To get into this position, start from a standing posture and slowly hnge at hips over your legs, bending your legs and bringing your belly to meet your thighs. Allow the arms, neck and head to hang heavy and shake the head gently from side to side. To deepen the stretch, grab opposite elbows and hang freely over your legs, and rock gently from side to side. As with the seated forward fold, focus on relaxing into any tight or sore areas of your body as you soften into the pose. Gently hold it for a few breaths before returning upright very mindfully rolling up one vertibrae at a time.

Spinal Twist

Spinal twists are an effective yoga movement for back pain relief as it gently stretches the entire spine. To get into this position begin by laying flat on your back, tucking your knees in towards your body and gently rocking side to side to massage the back. Choose one side to allow your bent knees to drop over to, keeping the shoulders weighted equally on the floor or mat. Bring in a pillow under your knees for extra support or allow gravity to gently stretch your spine and hips. Stay for at least 1 minute breathing into the twisted spine, and then slowly make your way back to center, knees to chest once more. Maybe noticing one side of the spine is looser than the other? And once you are ready exhale and drop the knees to the opposite side again holding for the same amount of time (at least 1 minute). Then gently come back to center and extend the legs out straight once more. Allow the spine to settle before getting back up to standing. Roll to one side in a fetal position and gently use your upper body to help yourself upright.

Chronic Pain Relief Meditation

Soothe Chronic Pain With Meditation

Living with chronic pain can be difficult, but learning to manage it through mindfulness, visualization and relaxation techniques can help reduce the severity of your pain. Discover how meditation can be used as a powerful tool for relieving pain and improving quality of life.

Understand the Mind-Body Connection.

Meditation can be particularly effective for chronic pain relief because it helps us create an awareness of the mind-body connection. By connecting our minds and bodies, we are able to focus on the body’s natural healing processes and recognize physical sensations as signals. With regular practice, meditation helps us become more mindful of our bodies and our pain, allowing us to move through it with ease and grace.

Take Time to Practice Meditation Techniques.

When it comes to using meditation techniques for chronic pain relief, consistency is key! To get the most out of your practice, you’ll want to commit to meditating every day. Start small – even with just a few minutes a day you can feel the difference. During that time, focus on mindful breathing , progressive muscle relaxation, body scanning and visualization. Each technique has its own unique benefits and can help you find some much-needed relief from your chronic pain.

Implement a Self-Care Routine that Incorporates Regular physical activity and Stress Reduction Strategies.

In addition to practicing regular meditation, implementing a self-care routine that includes regular physical activity (whatever that looks like for you) and stress reduction strategies can also be helpful in managing chronic pain. Movement helps your body release endorphins, which can improve mood, decrease stress levels and reduce the intensity of aches and pains. Stress reduction activities like yoga , tai chi, massage therapy and aromatherapy can also help to reduce pain levels. So make sure to incorporate these activities into your self-care routine for some all-over pain relief! Having a daily practice such as the 10 day course, "Living a Beautiful Life Alongside Illness, Pain and Disability".

Implement Guided Meditation Sessions Led by Professionals to Further Improve Your Experience with Pain Management Through Meditation.

Having guidance from a professional can be helpful for those who are new to meditation and don’t know where to start. Led by experienced professionals, guided patient support/meditation sessions can help you reduce stress, ease anxiety, and manage chronic pain through specific relaxation techniques. We offer a patient support group that provides additional support and connection with others facing similar pain. Our weekly sessions are even designed with pain management at their core - helping you attain the deep relaxation and mental clarity needed for truly better coping over time.

Address Any Emotional or Psychological Issues That May be Contributing to Your Chronic Pain Symptoms.

A powerful technique to reduce chronic pain is practicing self-acceptance - accepting that pain is present and working through it, rather than trying to resist or escape it. While this can be difficult for many, meditation can help you practice acceptance and develop greater insight into your thoughts and emotions, giving you more control over your responses to pain. For example, rather than blaming yourself for physical pain or feeling guilty about not “getting better” fast enough, self-compassion can help bring a healthier attitude towards the experience. With mindfulness techniques such as breath awareness and visualization, you can observe any negative thoughts associated with pain while developing positive intentions for healing and overall wellbeing.

The Power of Meditation For Pain Relief

The practice of meditation for pain relief is growing in popularity. By focusing on the breath and engaging in mindful practices, you can effectively relax tight muscles and reduce stress, helping to alleviate your physical pain. Learn how meditation can help reduce your suffering and improve  your overall well-being.

Understand the Benefits of Meditation and Pain Relief


Meditation has long been known to be beneficial for both the mind and body, especially when it comes to managing pain. Studies have shown that regular meditation practice can increase overall relaxation, reduce stress levels, and boost mood. Additionally, meditation may even help reduce inflammation and potentially aid in the body’s natural healing process.

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