Mindfulness Meditation: Pain is Real But Suffering From it is a State of Mind

A new study shows that mindfulness meditation can reduce our physical and emotional pain. But what is mindfulness and how do we practice it?


Mindfulness has become such a buzzword, it can be easy to forget just how revolutionary it is. While mindfulness meditation dates back over 2,600 years, it’s only now that we have the technology and scientific process to confirm and explore its benefits.

A new study by Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center shows that 20 minutes of daily mindfulness practice can drastically reduce our perceptions of pain, one of the latest examples extolling its effects.

The study heated participants' skin to about 120 degrees Fahrenheit, and compared groups of mindful practitioners: those doing a placebo meditation, those given a placebo jelly for the discomfort, and a control group.

The group doing the meditation reported 27 percent less intense physical pain than the control group, and 44 percent less emotional pain. The parts of the brain that were activated during the meditation were the sections that denote self-control, while it deactivated the region known as the thalamus, which basically told the pain signals they weren’t as important as they thought they were, causing them to quietly fade away.

Below, Dr. Mark Epstein reveals how mindfulness promotes a way of thinking that separates stimuli from your emotional reaction to them:

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