Do you feel that you are in a daily battle with your pain?
Is your mind full of thoughts, fears, frustrations or muddle?
Do you feel like you are always rushing?
Do you hate the idea of “accepting your pain” or “coming to terms with it”?
Mindfulness can help you find a calmer way to live life despite having pain.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is merely paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgementally. It is based on meditation practice which helps you
- Allow your mind to settle more in the present moment
- Accept what is here, for better or worse
- Let go of fruitless and exhausting struggles
- Focus your energy on the things that we can change.
Mindfulness doesn’t remove uncomfortable situations from our lives, but to help us relate to them in a different way.
Mindfulness isn’t new
Mindfulness meditation has been used for thousands of years within the Buddhist tradition. The benefits of meditation practice for health and wellbeing have been researched, and now a non-religious version of the mindfulness approach is widely offered by the NHS as part of effective healthcare.
Find out more about Mindfulness.
If you would like to find out more about Mindfulness, there are some very good resources available. Here are a few we recommend:
An introduction to mindfulness (Mindfulnet.org, 3 mins)
‘About mindfulness’ (Dumfries & Galloway’s, 7 mins)
BBC News (David Sillito and Danny Penman, 13 mins)
All it takes is 10 mindful minutes (Andy Puddicombe, 9 mins)
How do you learn to be more Mindful?
Learning to be more mindful requires a little teaching and a lot of practice.
Many people find attending a course helps them to understand mindfulness more and start practising meditation regularly.
You can find courses:
- or look online or ask in the library for help to find local courses in your area eg Let's Talk.
The Gloucestershire Pain Self-Management Service offers an NHS course specifically tailored for people with persistent pain. Two team members are accredited Breathworks teachers. The course involves attending eight weekly half-day sessions in a group, and daily meditation practice at home. It is based on the Breathworks ‘Mindfulness for Health’ book by Burch and Penman which is available from most book retailers or via Gloucestershire County Council libraries. We also have a limited number of copies which can be borrowed whilst attending the course. Please note, the book states that mindfulness often makes pain and stress ‘dissolve’. Although mindfulness can be extremely helpful, most people in our experience have found that it does not necessarily have a dramatic impact on their pain.
People attending the Gloucestershire Pain Self-Management Service course will have been referred to the Gloucestershire Chronic Pain Service by their GP or another Health Care Professional.
Below are some comments by previous attendees on our Mindfulness course:
“Mindfulness has brought me a peace and contentment with my situation that I have not experienced for many years.”
"I was fairly sceptical as to its usefulness for me and my pain and to what level it might help me. After a few weeks and investing the time, I found it truly helpful in changing my attitude to my sensation."
Another book recommended by the Gloucestershire Pain Self-Management Service is ‘Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World’; it is available via Gloucestershire County Council libraries. It includes a CD of meditations and we feel can be especially useful when people have busy, stressful lives.
There are also a number of Mindfulness apps. Headspace offers 10 days for free. https://www.headspace.com/headspace-meditation-app
Try it now
If you'd like to give Mindfulness a try, there are many exercises available on the internet. Here are some Mindfulness exercises that we recommend:
Finding Peace in a Frantic World
Mindfulness - mp3 tracks to play online or download.
Oxford Mindfulness Meditations (also available as a free app on Apple devices – ‘Oxford MBCT’). This is split between practices used during their 8-week course (including body scans which may be a little long for those new to meditation) and meditations to deepen practice after the course has finished.
This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information:
Pain Service Website, Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Webmaster Dr J G de Courcy, Consultant in Pain Medicine and Anaesthesia
Page updated 19/02/2016