Papercut and colored pencil art by Sheryl Aronson X 5

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Mindfulness Solution to Pain

Several times I have written about mindfulness and how it can be used to help reduce pain. Mindfulness involves a level of awareness of ones surroundings that is uncommon in our busy lives. While driving, we plan what we will say at the meeting when we get to work. At work, we think about what our child said this morning and what we will make for dinner tonight. We live our lives in the past and future, inattentive to what is occurring in the present moment.

Mindfulness involves noticing the feelings, sensations, sounds, etc. surrounding us in the present moment, and accepting them as is, without judgment. The dog barking next door is neither bad nor good, it just is. The same goes for the pain you are experiencing, though it may take some practice to be able to accept this. Part of learning to be mindful is learning to meditate, where you focus on one area, such as your breathing. I have tried to meditate off and on, but I have never gotten into a habit of meditating regularly, which is the only way to gain real benefits from it.

I found a book at the library that I hope will be helpful in this area. It is The Mindfulness Solution to Pain, by Dr. Jackie Gardner-Nix. I have read the first three chapters. They talk about understanding pain, what mindfulness is, and basic meditation. One thing that caught my attention was the similarities between the words medication and meditation. Medication has a ‘c’, for chemicals, and meditation has a ‘t’ for thought. Both have their place in controlling pain.

This book suggests stopping reading after the third chapter, and practicing daily meditation for a couple of weeks before moving on. Since this is a library book, I am not going to do that, but I am going to try to start meditating daily. I did it for 10 minutes today.  That's a good start.


  1. A lovely post - and very helpful as I'm considering buying this book for my partner.

  2. Thank you. It is a very good book, though I have to admit that I never did develop the habit of meditating. I am more mindful in general, which helps me remain calm in rough situations. I recommend both you and your partner read the book.