The idea of being able to reduce pain with your mind was not something that came to me until last year when I was pregnant. Faced with my second childbirth experience, I was super keen to repeat my first childbirth experience which was pain-free. Worried that it might have been a fluke I didn’t want to leave anything to chance, so I decided to do a bit of digging into pain, and what I found out was pretty interesting. But essentially it’s this…
Pain is a construct of the mind
For me this was great news as I know that we can ALWAYS change our mind! And that means…
We can reduce pain with the mind
No two people have the same experience of pain. Why do some people experience pain, while someone else going through the same thing don’t? Well, the answer lies in how they FEEL about the pain. If you’re fearful or anxious about the pain, you’re more likely to experience it, or make it worse. So basically anxiety or fear of pain makes pain worse! This idea is backed up by some research into pain carried out at Stanford a few years back.
So, when I learned this, I knew what I needed to do to help me reduce pain in childbirth… clear my fear of pain!
But that’s not all. From all the reading that I did about pain, particularly in childbirth (but I’ll cover that in another podcast. or 2!), then I realised I had a bit more work to do.
I came up with 4 things that I believe I needed to do to reduce my experience of pain, and which having now come out the other end, I completely stand by.
So here are the 4 things you can do to reduce your experience of pain
1. Don’t anticipate the pain
Imagining that you will experience pain, makes it more likely to happen. You’re basically conditioning your body into a response. If you want to reduce pain, then simply don’t imagine that you will experience pain.
2. Visualise a pain-free experience
Let your body know that this will be a pain free experience and your body is more likely to co-operate and reduce pain that you experience. This won’t always be possible as we don’t always know when we’re going to be hurt, but use it when you can. Childbirth is a great one to use this for.
3. Clear your fear of pain
If you use Head Trash Clearance you can do this in about 20 minutes. You can reduce your experience of pain by working on things like
- fear of pain
4. Seek out evidence of positive pain-free experiences
By finding evidence that a pain-free experience can be possible you can support your belief that it’s possible to reduce pain, as well as super-charge your visualisation work. Google, YouTube are great places to start, as are your friends and colleagues.