Mindfulness is moment-by-moment awareness of thoughts, emotions, and sensations without judgement. The focus of attention is often on breathing, but it can also be on other present moment events, such as sounds or other body sensations. Mindfulness practices can take the form of meditations such as the body scan or it can be an informal practice throughout the day, where you notice details of the present moment and your sensations, thoughts and feelings. When taking a shower, pay attention to the temperature and sensation of the water on your skin, and enjoy the present moment. If your mind is anticipating the future, or ruminating on the past, interrupt this for a brief moment to fully experience the shower. It can be as simple as this. Each time you interrupt your automatic brain processes, you are retraining your brain to experience more of the present moment. The body scan meditation is very effective in reducing pain, but if you have chronic pain, you might prefer to start with shorter meditations first.
These are two books that are recommended to help you get started with mindfulness for pain.
At Peace with Pain
(Adapted from Altman,D. (2014). “The Mindfulness Toolbox: 50 Practical Tips, Tools & Handouts for Anxiety, Depression, Stress & Pain”. PESI Publishing and Media: Eau Claire, WI. Pg 186-7).
“With this meditation, may I find peace of mind with my pain through the love, support and comfort of others”.
Recall those persons who it feels good to be around,
Mentally say the following words to yourself:
“May I rest in the very compassion, love and support that these individuals hold for me”.
“May I rest with an abiding peace with my situation, knowing that I am always supported by my benefactors”.
Think about and feel a sense of unity with yourself and your benefactors.
Feel the warm compassionate gaze and loving support of benefactors from your past, present, and even those who you may encounter later today or tomorrow.
Lastly, send these benefactors a blessing that reflects your gratitude and appreciation.