Letting go of pain with mindfulness
Posted on 23rd July 2023 at 16:14
The Buddhist monk Ajahn Chah once said: ‘If you let go a little, you will have a little peace. If you let go a lot, you will have a lot of peace’.
It’s easy to get stuck, when you have pain. Especially when the pain stops you doing what you want to do. It’s natural to want to push away something unpleasant, to hold on to questions like why me, when will this stop, what happens if it gets worse, will I always be like this? But doing so can keep you going round in circles.
Getting unstuck is easier with the mindfulness practice of letting go. You get to see sensations as transient, not permanent, and this has been shown to reduce persistent pain.
No one’s suggesting you have to like pain. However holding tightly to a desire for it to stop can make it worse. When you practice mindfulness, you learn to observe what is happening and let it be. Without needing the sensation to be anything other than what it is. By not resisting, you are not creating more tension and stress – both of which can cause more pain and delay recovery.
Letting go of pain
There are a number of ways you might use the attitude of letting go to help reduce pain.
Letting go encourages you to:
Identify the areas of tension in your body that can accompany pain, and release them
Notice opinions and beliefs that are keeping you stuck, and allow them to be
Set aside judgements about whether your situation is good or bad – and any thoughts that things need to change to a timetable
Drop concerns about how things will be in the future – it hasn’t arrived yet, and is therefore outside your control
Avoid comparisons with others, or a past time, as these, too, are outside your control.
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