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More PsychNotes: Mindfulness and Relaxation Methods

May 4, 2015       
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Mindfulness and Managing Chronic Pain
by Monica A. Frank, PhD

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Mindfulness methods prove to be even more effective in managing chronic pain than cognitive therapy which has previously been shown to aid those with persistent pain. The mechanism of mindfulness that reduces the perception of pain appears to be the refocusing of attention away from the emotional thoughts related to the pain as well as developing a tolerance for discomfort (Davis, et al., 2015).

For instance, mindfulness teaches the individual to focus away from thoughts such as “I can't handle this!” to the present situation or task at hand. Whereas cognitive therapy teaches a person to change the thought such as “I am learning skills to help me handle this.”

Although mindfulness may be a bit more effective than cognitive therapy, many mindfulness programs teach how to use mindfulness in combination with cognitive therapy. For instance, Excel At Life's audios (free to download) teach the steps to learn mindfulness which includes a step on incorporating cognitive reappraisal with the mindful refocusing.

Davis, M.C., Zautra, A.J., Wolf, L.D., Tennen, H., Yeung, E.W. (2015). Mindfulness and Cognitive–Behavioral Interventions for Chronic Pain: Differential Effects on Daily Pain Reactivity and Stress. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 83, 24–35. DOI: 10.1037/a0038200


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Mindfulness and Relaxation Methods

Mindfulness and Managing Chronic Pain
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Kindle Books by
Dr. Monica Frank



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