The way that you think and feel about your symptoms can affect the amount of pain you experience. Distracting yourself from these feelings can help to reduce tension, worry and pain. Visualising a pleasant image or experience can help you to do this.
- Lie down or sit comfortably in a chair with your eyes closed. You might wish to try some breathing exercises or the progressive muscle relaxation exercises for a few minutes to relax before you move on to the next stage.
(Click here to view further information about relaxation techniques)
- Think of a relaxing scene, for example lying on a beach, walking through the woods or in the mountains, somewhere that you would feel calm and peaceful.
- Concentrate on what that place might feel like, what would you see, hear, smell or taste and how you would feel inside. You may imagine sitting down or going for a stroll.
Use this exercise to make you feel calm and relaxed, and then hold on to the feeling while lying quietly for a while.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy – Challenging unhelpful thoughts and positive thinking:
There are many things in life which we can’t control like, for example the weather, but did you know that we can control the way that our thoughts affect us? By doing this, it can help us to feel more positive and more in control of our lives. It is possible to change unhelpful thoughts and negative thinking styles and let more positive thoughts take their place, using a talking therapy called Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). If you would like to find out more about CBT, please speak to your GP. They will often refer you to someone who specialises in this area, often within the NHS.
Meditation and Mindfulness:
Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years, and is a popular with people from all across the world. It has been proven to help reduce blood pressure, reduce pain and depression. There are many different types of meditation and many involve focusing the mind, so that the brain becomes calmer.
Mindfulness is a type of meditation that involves paying attention to what is happening in the moment, in a non-judgmental way. For example, if you are in pain, it is normal to focus on how this makes you feel, for example you could be feeling frustrated or helpless. Focusing on these feelings exacerbates them and makes you feel worse.
When practicing mindfulness, you focus on simply being aware of any pain, tension and your environment – without any associated interpretation of how that makes you feel. This has been shown to positively influence how your brain processes pain and can help you to manage your symptoms better.