But Not Nearly Often Enough
If you're skeptical about your ability to use your own subconscious to ease pain, consider this: you already do it. But you do it by accident, so you don't notice. Here's how to do it on purpose and get better results.
Let's say you had a bad night and awoke with more pain than usual. You're resigned to having a bad day, but suddenly find your daughter on your doorstep asking if you would mind watching your four-year-old grandson for a few hours. He's the light of your life, and that morning as you play with him the time just flies by. You hardly think of your pain.
What you've just demonstrated is something that all of us who suffer from chronic discomfort have experienced at one time or another: the power of the mind to interrupt the pain cycle. This seems to occur on an accidental basis when four common types of events occur:
? Positive Feelings. The story about the grandson is a good example. When something better than expected occurs, the subconscious tends to release dopamine, a brain chemical that produces feelings of well-being. Even though the amount of pain may be no different, you usually notice it less.
? Distractions. When you're intensely engaged in an activity you love you tend to feel less pain. During this kind of a distraction you're probably triggering the subconscious to positively influence at least two pain relief factors-the production of beneficial brain chemicals, and the generation of upbeat emotions.
? Relaxation. Anytime you can relax you're likely to feel less pain. You've probably experienced this after a hot bath, an hour of your favorite music, or a massage from a therapist who knows how to avoid your sore spots. Heat, music and touch signal the subconscious to relax the musculoskeletal system, which eases pain.
? Acceptance. You may have noticed that the more you resist your pain the more it hurts you. If you've ever been able to just let it be, and not fight it, it probably backed off a little. In that moment you inadvertently gave your subconscious the message that the pain was within your tolerance level, and it may have complied.
These factors could be operating whether you have back pain or pain in the neck or other extremities, arthritis pain, fibromyalgia pain, or even neuropathic pain (nerve pain).
The Role of Visualization
Many of the occasions on which you've reduced pain due to positive feelings, distractions, relaxation or acceptance have probably been accidents. But they prove that the mind-body connection works, not just for other people but for you yourself.
Through visualization statements you may be able to build on these experiences to make them regular events.
Visualization statements represent the specific language that your subconscious wants you to read back to it to help ease your pain. They're simple and are targeted directly at the main factors that could bring you relief.
You can obtain these statements by learning how to communicate directly with your own subconscious mind. The process is straightforward and can be done at home by working with a facilitator over the telephone. You you need no special skills and no previous experience in working with the subconscious.
? You can directly visualize an increase in dopamine, and can indirectly do so by reading visualization statements designed to produce feelings of well-being.
? You can visualize an increase in your love for different activities, thereby helping to make them valid distractions from your pain.
? You can visualize the relaxation of your muscles and an increase in the flexibility of your tendons and ligaments, helping to remove pain from within.
? You can visualize the acceptance of your pain, assisting your subconscious to move it into your range of tolerance.
Programming the Subconscious
The subconscious is quite powerful. When programmed through the very visualizations that it suggests, it may be able to turn episodes of accidental pain relief into events over which you have a degree of control.
Ben Plumb is CEO and President of The Visualization Group, Inc. The company's service is delivered by people like himself who personally suffered from years of chronic pain, and used the visualization method described in this article to obtain relief when nothing else worked.