Can You Decrease Stress and Pain Without Medication?

 Yes, the answer may be guided imagery.  Guided imagery is a type of meditation that some say is like self-hypnosis.  Many research studies have shown that it is an effective tool for reducing pain and or stress.

Stress is a huge problem in our 24/7 world.  Time is a commodity that we do not have enough of.  Rushing from one event to the next commitment without enough time to do it all can elevate our stress level and this in turn may increase our perception of pain.  

The idea in guided imagery is to imagine a place or a feeling in intricate detail - so that your mind is consumed by these thoughts.  For example, in guided imagery you might focus on your pain, thinking of your pain as a color.  Focus your mind on the nature of that color (bright, dull or pulsing).  Use your imagination to  shrink the color (pain) and fade it into the background.  Finally focus your mind on the background which in our imagination may be a tropical waterfall.  Try to feel the warmth of the sun and the cool misting of the waterfall and the intense green of the foliage surrounding you.

If not used to meditation, it might be a good idea to look for a CD of guided imagery.  Then plug in your headphones and allow the guided imagery recording to take your mind to a more calm and relaxed place - without pain!

Information for this article taken from Arthritis Today January/February 2013 magazine, Picture Yourself Peaceful by Esther M. Sternberg