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Mindfulness offers a way to notice the story you tell yourself about your chronic pain so that you can learn to reduce your suffering.
Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founder of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), has said that suffering is not caused by the sheer existence of chronic pain—only by our internal stories about the pain.
It’s as if there are two layers to chronic pain: the actual sensation of the pain itself, and the tension around it that leads to greater suffering. The aim of MBSR is to learn how to go beyond the old pain story into a state of mindfulness—simply noticing and naming what is occurring in the moment.
You can begin implementing mindfulness in your own life just by taking a few moments to get to know your chronic pain sensations. What does it feel like? Let go of the “story” about suffering, just for now, and simply describe the sensations you feel.
Over time, you can begin to change your relationship with the experience of chronic pain.