Train Your Mind to Ease Your Pain

Pain is a fact of life, but it doesn't have to rule you. Reshape your relationship with pain with these 11 strategies.

Illustrations by Colleen MacIsaac

Pain. Even hearing (or reading) the word can elicit a wince from just about anyone who has ever experienced it—and that would be everyone.

Pain presents itself in myriad forms and textures—acute and chronic, intense and mild. It affects us physically and emotionally—sometimes both at once. Experiencing it is an unavoidable reality of being human. And yet we spend a significant portion of our lives trying to avoid it.

What might happen, then, if we were to stop trying to resist pain? Consider these tips for managing whatever pains you, now or in the future.

1. Trust your body

Feeling pain doesn’t mean your body has failed. In fact, it signals a body doing its job by letting you know something’s up. By heeding its wise (if blunt) counsel, you can effectively identify and deal with the cause.

2. Resist resistance

For most of us, the natural response to pain signals is resistance—to push them away or deny that they even exist. Yet ignoring pain only serves to add an extra layer of angst to an already unpleasant situation. Not only do you still have the pain to deal with, but now you have to keep up the ruse that the…

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  • Mindful Staff
  • July 13, 2023


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About the author

Tara Healey

Tara Healey is the program director for Mindfulness-Based Learning at Harvard Pilgrim Health Care.

About the author

Jonathan Roberts

Jonathan Roberts is operations manager for Mindfulness-Based Learning at Harvard Pilgrim Health Care.