Power Over Pain


Mind over matter? Depends what you mean. There’s evidence that optimistic people enjoy better health and a longer life than pessimists. But what about more immediate problems like the pain you’re experiencing right now? Can you ‘think’ your way out of it?

It seems that some of us can. Recent research has shown that children can ‘imagine away’ pain with the help of a relaxation CD. These children had experienced different kinds of abdominal pain. There was a high rate of success – “73.3% reported that their abdominal pain was reduced by half or more by the end of the treatment course compared with 26.7% in the standard care group.”

The method used is called guided imagery. It’s a big part of Stress Management at the moment and one that I use in my training. It works by the subject imagining things that are designed to distract them from their negative thoughts or lessen those negative thoughts by growing positive ones along side them. Two of my favourite business skill sites mention this technique here and here.

Would you like to experience a bit of guided imagery yourself? Then I can recommend two areas for resources.

The first is a special section of the BBC website called Headroom. It contains many relaxation tracks and meditation tracks both of which use use some form of guided visualisation.

The second source is the all-knowing, all-seeing entity we call YouTube. Here’s some decent stuff on this topic.

There’s much more but this will keep you going, or not going as the case may be.

I’d like to know someone in a serious medical condition who used these techniques and found them helpful. Managing workplace stress is one thing; managing a medical condition might be another.

I wonder if there’s any significance in the fact that it was children who found the technique so useful.

Feel free to comment!

Image credit: An Nguyen Photography.