It is very interesting how the perception of meditation have been changed over the last few decades. There was a time when people the that meditation is cult thing or even a weird thing. Many people used to believe that only monks and some other people who believe in some woo-woo self-help tips do it. In fact, many people don’t even know what meditation was back then. Today, meditation is like the new cool kid in town. Everyone wants to find out more about it. There are mobile apps related to meditation that has raise millions of investors’ money. When things get popular, there is that halo effect that only get multiplied by the media. At the end of the day, if I tell you that all meditation does it that it can help your mind get more clear, the story is boring and nobody wants to read it. It is almost natural and unavoidable that meditation is advertised as something bigger or more magical than it actually is. Today, I want to focus on the common question of whether mediation can help reduce or even remove body pain.
Meditation Can Only Help A Little Bit in a Specific Type of Body Pain
Let me simply cut to the chase. If you ask whether meditation can reduce body pain, the answer is no 90% of the cases. There is just one very specific type of body pain that can be reduced by meditation and that is body soreness that is caused by stress. Let me talk more about stress a little later in this piece of writing.
There are Many Caused for Body Pain
Before we explore on whether meditation can reduce body pain, the most important thing that we should understand is that there are just so many caused for body pain. It can be as simple as over-using some muscle and over extending some muscle while working or exercising. It can also be as complex as body pain that is a syndrome of some illness. To reduce or remove the pain, you simply have to fix the root cause. And to say that meditation can you fix all these root causes are simply ridiculous. When you are feeling body pain that seems to last for more than a few days, it is recommended for you to see the doctor. Although, statistically speaking, the chance of having a serious health issue isn’t high, you can’t really afford it when the worst possible outcome happens, so it’s better to be way too safe than to be a little risky.
Stress Can Cause Shoulder & Neck Soreness
There is one type of body pain that can be caused by stress. You may be able to relate to it if you have a rather busy full-time job. Scientific studies have shown again and again that there is correlation between stress level and body soreness. In fact, you don’t even need to read all those studies to know it because it is too noticeable. Do you remember that when you have a stressful and busy day, you have your shoulders, neck or even back feeling very sore. That is the pain that is caused by stress either directly or indirectly. By indirectly, I mean that your stress cause you to sit in a bad position to further worsen the tightness of your shoulders and neck.
How & Why Meditation Can Reduce Stress
Many of you may know or can feel that meditation can help you reduce stress. Let’s talk a detailed look at how it does that. Let’s look at stress. What causes it? It is usually caused when we encountered difficulties, but you look at things more deeply, it is the big difference between what we expect and what is real that causes stress. For example, if we expect to have a smooth and easy meeting and it turns out to be an intense and finger-pointing meeting, we will have stress. If we have a serious plane delayed and we can’t continue our trip as planned, there is the stress. One very important skill to handle stress or to reduce stress is to see the problem no bigger than it is and understand that you can’t control what you can’t control. For example, if the plane is delayed and you are going to miss your next important meeting, instead of letting the stress kick in and start blaming the airline company, just calm down and realize that a plane delayed isn’t going to do any serious damage. Can you simply explain that to your client and have the meeting rescheduled or even have video conference call using your mobile phone? I bet you can. So, now you can see that the best way to reduce stress is to see things calmly with a very clear mind. And since meditation is a great tool to clear your mind, it is very logical and reasonable to say that meditation can help reduce stress, and therefore, also reduce stress-caused body pain.
Other Indirect Ways that Meditation May Help Dealing with Body Pain
Although I have talked about how we shouldn’t over-estimate the power of meditation as its main purpose is to make our mind clear. Yet, having our mind cleared does give us some indirect benefits and some of them may be related to reducing body pain, in indirect ways. For example, for some people, their doctors may suggest that they do need some exercise to reduce their back pain as their job requires then to sit for too many hours each day. Now, for someone who don’t do exercise to start developing the habit of exercising is difficult. Yet, with a clear mind that allows us to see our goal and problem clearly, we should be able to think more rationally. Instead of being lazy and ignoring the doctors’ comment on exercising more, we, with our clear minds thanks to meditation, would be able think clearly that having a 45 minute walk today can help improve our health while eating on the sofa and watching TV would give us no health improvement and it indeed doesn’t give us any entertainment that can really last. I hope you can see how meditation can help make our mind clear and how a clear mind can help us make better decisions.