The Body’s own Pharmacy
You can use your attention to open the body’s own ‘pharmacy’ and deal with everyday pain. Your attention is used to discover the world – the world around you – and the feelings inside yourself, for example pain. The attention works like the spotlight on a stage, focusing on what is important (read more: The attention – the spotlight of the brain).
Pain attracts attention
There will be a spotlight on the pain – if the pain is severe, that spotlight will be high focus. Other thoughts and emotions sort of disappear. They are outside the spotlight (your attention), causing only the pain to be experienced. Just like on stage, when there is a strong spotlight on a small area, anything else seams to disappear into the darkness.
Pain must attract attention. Pain is an important signal that may require examination by a doctor in order to not overlook a disease. Pain can also be a sign of overload that requieres changes in everyday life. Furthermore, at times it can be something very simple such as a headache due to lack of water and fresh air.
Train your attention and pain control
In the same way as the light operator controls the spotlight on the stage, you can train controlling your attention. When moving your focus of attention, you will experience what´s happening besides the pain. The amazing thing is that once you learn to control your attention, the body’s own pharmacy literally switches on by itself and the pain diminishes because endorphins and other pain killers are produced. Pictures from advanced brain scans show that the activity in the pain areas of the brain diminish when you learn to trigger the body’s own pharmacy:
When you are in pain there is activity in areas in the top and middle parts of the brain.
When the body’s own pharmacy is working the activity in the pain areas diminish.
You can try the following three methods, using your thoughts and your attention to boost the body’s pharmacy. Choose the method that suits you best. It might not work 100% the first time you try. It is like learning to ride a bike; you get better through practicing.
- Use your imagination to create a refuge (a Place-of-Dreams) inside yourself where you find peace and quiet and where everything is good. It should be a place that you arrange exactly the way you want. A place where you allow yourself to feel completely well in every way and where you have all options available, because you use your imagination. When you move into your place-of-dreams, your body’s pharmacy starts to work all by itself and makes you will feel better. If the pain grabs your attention again, start over and move into the place-of-dreams once more.
- Move your attention to your breathing, and breathe calmly. Notice how the air goes in and out of your nose and how your body moves while breathing. It is the only thing you should focus on. When you continue to keep your attention on your breathing, your body´s pharmacy starts working by itself and you will feel better. While doing this, you may find that the pain again will try to grab your attention again. Quietly and calmly focus your attention on the breathing again and notice the air in your nose and the breathing movements of your body.
- Imagine that you give the pain a color and a shape – thus turning the pain into a sort of fantasy object. Play with changing that pain-object’s color, shape and size and move it around in such ways that you are able to change the pain in a way that it becomes weaker and weaker. You can also focus on making the pain-object ‘colder’ or ‘warmer’, or putting it aside at a place entirely outside your body in order to diminish the pain. Experiment and use what works best for you.
Pain and tension
Most everyday pain is caused by tension in the body (read more: Examples of How we get Trapped by the Brain’s Alarm Centre). Obviously it is a good idea to unravel the reasons behind these tensions as far as possible. Exercise and fresh air may also help. You can also try to ‘move the blood’ – here.