Approximately 50 million American adults experience chronic pain, according to a 2016 report from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. An article in The Journal of Pain estimates this cause and effect costs the US government up to $635 billion each year in expenses, such as medical charges and patients’ inability to work.
While we cannot always eradicate pain, practicing mindfulness can help us change our relationship to it.
While we cannot always eradicate pain, practicing mindfulness can help us change our relationship to it. In this video, clinical psychologist Elisha Goldstein demonstrates a practice to welcome pain from his book, The Now Effect.
Explore This Guided Meditation for Pain
“We spend much of life resisting and fighting with our pain and this is often the cause of further suffering,” says Goldstein. “In this practice we begin to sample a radically different approach that evidence shows cultivates greater healing and makes us more present, focused, and effective to pay attention to what matters.”
Follow along with the video, or the text below:
- Begin by closing the eyes, or if the eyes are open, keep a gentle gaze.
- Visualize a difficult experience you’ve recently had, something that’s happened recently.
- Begin to get a sense of how you feel in this moment, as you consider the details of the moment that caused you pain.
- Then, hold the feeling within a sense of welcome, as it is both physically and emotionally. The feeling will naturally come and go, but in this moment it’s here. Resisting will only let it persist.
- And bring a beginner’s mind to the sense of noticing these feelings, as if for the very first time with fresh eyes.
- As you end, recognize the choice of relating to your pain different. It is an active choice, and an act of self-love.