Acute pain is caused by an injury or an illness, and it is the body’s way of telling us something is wrong and we need to change something or get help. Chronic pain is like an echo of that acute pain. There is nothing to be done, no warning signal to follow, it’s simply an experience of pain. That experience can seem to amplify over time, sometimes along with painful memories related to the injury or illness that may have caused the pain in the first place. For many people, trying to ignore the pain sensations only makes the suffering worse, and then anxiety and depression can arise as well, further exacerbating the issue. Mindfulness meditation can help us befriend the pain sensations and teach the brain that it doesn’t need to sound the alarm so hard. With time, we lessen our suffering and, in effect, turn down the “volume” on the pain sensations. Studies have shown mindfulness meditation can be very effective for people experiencing chronic pain. Please note that this meditation requires paying attention to pain sensations. If it is too intense for you to do that right now, it’s completely okay to stop and try it again later or leave it altogether.
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