How To Meditate When You Are In Pain (8 Simple Steps)

How To Meditate When You Are In Pain (8 Simple Steps)

I still remember the most painful 20 days of my life.

I was coming back home in the evening and stumbled on the stairs of the subway. I was badly in pain, I still remember I just could not stand on my feet. It was a bad fall, my left foot ankle had twisted and I started limping. The pain was unbearable, as I just could not place my left foot firmly on the ground.

A fellow pedestrian was kind enough to escort me to a nearby clinic. The doctor examined my foot and said there is a hairline fracture and advised me rest for the next few weeks. I reached home that evening with a plaster on my left foot, I could barely put my left foot on the ground and the pain was excruciating.

I could not sleep that night properly and the next morning was worse, I was tired, exhausted and just could not get off my bed. The slightest movement I made and my left foot will scream in pain. It was horrible and I was literally feeling helpless staring at the wall. This was not all, just to make matters worse by the end of the second day I was having high fever.

  • Have you been through such a phase ?
  • Have you experienced such physical pain ?
  • Have you wondered, how to deal with physical pain ?
  • Is there an effective way to deal with physical pain ?

I learnt a valuable lesson in these 20 days and found an effective way to combat physical pain. Perhaps you have heard about it ? Meditation

It may sound strange to you, however meditation actually changes the way the mind perceives pain so that it is more bearable. It is a natural and effective way to ease physical pain.

To learn how to set up a daily meditation practice effortlessly, I highly recommend you check out >>> Master Your Mind Beginner’s Meditation Course

What is your emotional response to physical pain ?

Emotional Response To Pain

Living with pain is not only a physical pain but also an emotional strain as well. Feelings of frustration, anger and even depression can deeply impact the quality of our lives.

I remember when I was battling with the pain in my left foot this was my thought process for the few days (my emotional response to pain);

  • When will I be able to walk properly ?
  • What if my leg does not recover fast ?
  • Will I become bedridden ?
  • This pain is unbearable
  • Am I becoming a burden to my loved ones ?

If you notice my thoughts, you can sense that like any person; I want to get rid of my pain, I want to run away from it, I did not like my pain. Just like any person I am looking for a faster cure and forget it – The problem lies here.

It is ironical – If you are constantly trying to fight and struggle with your pain or if you are trying to ignore it, then you are creating within yourself a state of ‘resistance to what is’ and that means more emotional stress.

However, If you can be calm and create an emotional state of acceptance towards your physical pain then you are most likely to experience less emotional stress. Here is a secret – Less emotional stress leads to faster recovery from physical pain.

I have personally found this technique of creating a state of acceptance incredibly effective and works wonders when it comes to reduction in physical pain.

So how does one create a state of acceptance especially when one is going through physical pain, it will require some practice. I will share with you a simple meditation practice for the same.

8 Step Meditation Practice To Reduce Pain

Meditation Practice

  • Preparation – First step involves setting yourself for the practice. Choose a quiet, comfortable place to sit on a chair or on a yoga mat on the floor. (If you are unable to sit on a chair then you can even choose to do this meditation practice by lying down on your back).
  • Posture – Make sure you sit with a straight back. Place your hands on your lap facing downwards. Make sure your body is not stiff. Loosen your shoulders or jaw.
  • Relax your body – Close your eyes and take at least 5 deep breaths and completely relax your body.
  • Focus on your breathing – Simply breathe and focus your attention on every inhalation and exhalation. You can even use the count method to ensure your focus remains on breathing. As you exhale every time count 1, then 2, then 3 till 5, thereafter repeat the cycle.
  • Observe your thoughts, don’t indulge – It is natural for the mind to think and you will notice thoughts jumping in your mind when you sit for your meditation practice. The key is to refrain from getting entangled with the thoughts. Do not get judgmental or critical about the thoughts, simply watch them and let them go. Bring back your attention back to your breath every time the mind wanders.
  • Notice your pain – After you have focused on breathing for a few minutes, start noticing your pain. Identify the area of the body wherein you are experience pain. Here again, just observe the pain, do not get entangled with the pain by creating thoughts of anger, irritation or frustration.
  • Accept your pain – As you identify your pain, acknowledge the pain in your mind’s eye. Be kind and gentle towards your pain. Treat your pain as you treat someone you love. Send love to your pain. Never hate or resist your pain. When you channel the sensations of love, kindness towards pain, you will slowly notice the pain lessening.
  • End your practice – After you have focused on your breath and pain for as long as you want, end the meditation. Slowly become aware of your surroundings. Open your eyes slowly, take a few deep breaths and proceed with your day.

This meditation practice can be done for 15 minutes daily. If you have the time do it twice a day. As stated above with regular practice you will most likely see results.

Final Thoughts:

With meditation you can learn to be aware of your pain, instead of ignoring the pain. By acknowledging your pain, we accept the pain without evaluating it or trying to change ‘what is’ – This leads to less resistance.

Doing this practice regularly will help in mitigating the power pain has over you and giving you control over your life and the moment. Let me know in comments if this practice has helped you.

To learn how to set up a daily meditation practice effortlessly, I highly recommend you check out >>> Master Your Mind Beginner’s Meditation Course

This Post Has 16 Comments

  1. Tom Priesmeyer

    Hi Satish,

    I have had severe pain a few times in my life. Both were back pain issues. The first was a car accident where I was rear ended. The pain in my neck and back was excruciating. I went to the doctor and they prescribed pain pills. These did help the pain, but I could not work when I took them. I finally received permanent results when I saw a chiropractor. I never considered meditation for pain before. I prefer a natural means to wellness, so this idea appeals to me. I now know that it is a viable alternative, and I will certainly keep it in mind for myself, and for others. Thank you for sharing this important info. Tom

    1. Satish

      Hi Tom,

      I appreciate your comments. I strongly believe that one should not refrain from taking medical advice, in fact with the development in medical science one should always consult the doctors and take proper treatment. Meditation is a tool which helps in managing our mind to be precise our thoughts when we are undergoing the pain or treatment. It is natural for any human being (who is not well or undergoing treatment) to ruminate and worry excessively. There is a constant battle to fight and struggle with your pain in your mind. One needs to understand all this mental agony that you are creating within yourself a state of ‘resistance to what is’. Instead, if you acknowledge the pain in your mind’s eye. Be kind and gentle towards your pain. Treat your pain as you treat someone you love. As you do this you will slowly notice the pain lessening and you feeling better ~ Stay Blessed 🙂

  2. Gordon

    Hello Satish,

    I had to work through pain a few times, but the worst was when I rolled my ankle so bad that it swelled basically to the size of a softball. This was in the military during a training exercise and if I couldnt complete the training I could not deploy. Trying to keep up with the other people while training was extremely stressful not only on my body but my mind.

    A few days later when I got back to our sleeping area, my ankle hurt so bad that I could not stand or walk on it. I completed my training, but had a 4-6 week recovery time. Trying to do anything was a extremely stressful task as it hurt to do just about anything except lay down.

    I agree with your comment above that you should never not seek medical treatment or deny advice as this can help you not only emotionally and mentally but also alleviate any permanent physical damage as well!

    1. Satish

      Hi Gordon,

      The same thing happened with me as well, I stumbled on the stairs and twisted my left ankle. I immediately sought for medical attention and was at home for atleast 2 weeks. It was during this time, while I was undergoing the medication I realized apart from the pain in the foot, there is mental pain as well, which was purely created by the thoughts in my mind. Mediatation helped me in managing my mind, which eventually helped in fastening the healing process ~ Stay Blessed 🙂

  3. Devara Garrison

    Hi Satish,

    Fortunately, I’ve never experienced broken bones although I have had a lot of neck and back pain. I’ve ripped a muscle in my lower back and had whiplash years ago. I still experience pain from those injuries.The pain is much worse during the colder temperatures!Sometimes it gets so bad that I have trouble sitting down.

    The only thing I’ve found to really help is to use my inversion table. Hanging upside down for 5 or 6 minutes has done wonders for my pain. I used to visit the chiropractor often, but no longer need to. I’ve never thought about meditation helping with pain. I love the sounds of being able to conquer pain naturally.

    I will try practicing the 8 steps you have mentioned here the next time I am hurting from my old injuries. Maybe if I can learn how to “Accept my pain” and send love to those areas in a mental state, it can help me as it has you. Thanks for these tips! I will surely put it to the test soon.

    Best wishes,
    Devara

    1. Satish

      Hi Devara,

      Thank you for sharing your experience, I am happy to know that your pain has mellowed down. The inversion therapy approach uses gravity and your own body weight to help stretch and elongate the spine, alleviating pressure of compressed discs, I am glad this is working for you. I have always recommended everyone to take the right medication, take advantage of the modern treatments and match this with a regular meditation practice to nurture our thoughts. Accepting “what is” is the first step towards healing and one can master the art of acceptance by practicing meditation regularly ~ Stay Blessed 🙂

  4. Steve

    Hi Satish,

    Working through pain is not an easy thing to do. I have dealt with back problems for many years and I have developed a pretty high pain tolerance. One of the things that stuck with me from your post is breathing. I don’t know what it is, but focusing on breathing is not only difficult, but it makes a huge difference. I think for me, it’s just slowing down and focusing my effort on one thing. So breathing alone definitely helps me relax when I am in pain. I am definitely going to work on some of the other techniques you mentioned. Thanks for sharing your expertise, I am sure a lot of people can relate.

    1. Satish

      Hi Steve,

      Paying attention to your breathing is one of the fastest ways to become calm, centered, and energized. The key is to breathe fully, deeply, and slowly. As you inhale, let your stomach expand and fill your lungs with air. Do the same as you exhale. Your stomach goes in first, and then your lungs contract as you let the air out. When you feel stressed during the day, stop everything and breathe deeply. You will compose yourself, bring in vital energy, and get off the “fast track,” if only for a few priceless moments ~ Stay Blessed 🙂

  5. Sophie

    Hello Satish,

    Thank you very much for this valuable article! I do meditate and find it very good to calm my mind, however, I’ve never thought meditation could help with pain as well! All you are saying here makes sense and resonates with me. I especially love the part “Treat your pain as you treat someone you love.” I believe love and gratitude have big power so I will keep your technique in mind for the time when I need it.

    1. Satish

      Hi Sophie,

      Thank you for your comment and I am glad you found the post resonating with you. Continue with your meditation practice and stay blessed 🙂

  6. Lori Marick

    Hi Satish,

    I never though about meditation to helping with pain. I think I will give it a try. Thanks for the good read

    1. Satish

      Hi Lori,

      Appreciate your time and comment. Wishing you all the best with your meditation practice ~ Stay Blessed 🙂

  7. Steven

    Hi Satish,

    Thanks for a great article.

    I have had intense and painful injuries in my life. One of the worst was when I had severely broken ribs. I could not sleep, and my body was experiencing a lot of stress as was my mind. Because my body was feeling so traumatized, I actually developed shingles at this time. Luckily, sensing something more was happening to my body I went to the doctor right away before the shingles got really bad.

    I wish during these painful times of my life I knew how to meditate. I will try this technique and begin to practice. Especially if there is a time when I’m experiencing such pain again.

    1. Satish

      Hi Steven,

      Thanks for sharing your experience, I am glad you are fine and all is well with your health. I suggest you begin your meditation practice don’t wait to experience pain. Make a daily habit and incorporate meditation as a part of your daily routine ~ Stay Blessed 🙂

  8. Shirley

    Hi Satish,

    I enjoyed reading and learning from this post. I wish I had known how to do this back in 2014 when I was suffering severe pain due to diabetic feet and leg ulcers and neuropathy pain. It was the worse pain I have ever experienced and the fear of potential amputation of my feet or legs made it even worse. It was 8 months before I recovered from the feet and leg infections and there were many nights I was praying for pain relieve and asking God to “heal me or take me home”. I was even suicidal some nights. I’m so glad that’s over and hope to never go through that again, but I am bookmarking your post and will read it again just in case. – Shirley

    1. Satish

      Hi Shirley,

      Thanks for sharing your experience, you have been through a difficult phase. I am glad it is over and you have come out strong. Thank you for your comment and wishing you good health in coming years ~ Stay Blessed 🙂

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