A Mindful Approach to Pain and Stress

In 1979, Jon Kabat-Zinn, an MIT-trained scientist, started teaching mindfulness to people suffering from chronic pain, stress and illness. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), is now used in hospitals and clinics worldwide. Jon Kabat-Zinn defined mindfulness, as being present in the moment, with non judgmental awareness. Essentially, to be mindful is to be exactly were we are right now, and not letting our minds drift into the past or future. When we are mindful, we are truly open and non judgmental of what is happening in the here and now. A lot of our distress comes from being less present in the now, letting our mind drift and run with the past (reviewing and rehashing our health concerns and wishing things were different) or running with the future (anticipating and worrying about things that haven’t happened yet, such as our health becoming worse).

When adopting a mindful approach to pain, you learn to be with your body as it is in the moment, and work with the pain. You can do this by directing a new fresh breath to the painful area. Then softening and relaxing as you let go, and release any areas of tension, during a full out breath. Practicing mindful breathing, even for a few minutes, helps cultivate a greater sense of calm and ease in the mind and body. Clinical research has shown that mindfulness can be helpful for not only pain, but also for managing mood, stress and other health issues.

Over time, through regular supported practice you can learn to breath with your body, to breath into stretches and movements and work with the body, as oppose to against it, for better overall health and well-being. Strategies such as mindful breathing, body scans and mindful walking are practical ways that you can empower yourself and use pain management strategies anytime anywhere.

Learning to love and accept the body in the moment, just as it is, and direct a sense of kindness and compassion to the body is a life skill. For people with chronic pain, mindful meditation is an appealing pain management option because it is something you can do for yourself anytime anywhere. Taking a mindfulness class is a critical first step in developing a wellness program that you can use for yourself to maximize your health and well-being. For more information please contact Veronica Takes, Mindfulness Educator and Occupational Therapist, and check out the upcoming Mindfulness Classes this fall on September 24 and October 29, 2016. For more information contact the clinic at 647.352.7742 or email us at info@proactiveph.com

References:

Hanson, R and Mendius, R. (2009). The practical Neuroscience of Budda’s Brain

Kabat-Zinn, Jon (1990). Full Catastrophe Living

Siegel, Daniel (2007). The Mindful Brain

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