Pain is regulated by our nervous system. Our brain alerts us of the pain we feel and it strives to maintain balance in the body. Stress disrupts the brain’s ability to deal with pain signals. Dr. Steven Stanos, medical director of the Center for Pain Management at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, stated, “The brain is always trying to inhibit pain signals. But if you're stressed, simply put, the brain's ability to filter these pain signals is affected in a bad way and pain can be increased.” Research shows that even the process of thinking about something stressful immediately causes increased tension in the back muscles. This tension aggravates any underlying conditions that you may have.
Mindfulness significantly reduces stress levels, anxiety, and feelings of depression. Researchers conducted a study in which participants were placed in an 8-week mindfulness-based stress reduction group. When participants finished this training, scans revealed that in troubling situations they had less neural activity and responses. This means that there wasn’t a large release of stress hormones, leading researchers to the conclusion that mindfulness teaches strategies that help the brain regulate and react to an emotional situation with less stress, thus helping decrease pain levels.
However, some individuals are turned off at the thought of mindfulness because it doesn't seem like something for them.
But what if I told you, to practice mindfulness, you don't have to chant a mantra or imagine yourself somewhere else.