What if I told you that pain is not what you think it is?
What if I told you that pain pathways are malleable?
What if I told you that painful stimuli was not an input TO the brain, but that pain is an output FROM the brain?
What if I explained this while in an ice bath?
Current neurology shows us that our perception of pain comes from our limbic systems.
And… we are prewired to avoid what we perceive as pain.
When we put our hand on a hot stove, for example, the sensory input doesn’t even need to reach our brain before a spinal reflex kicks in and triggers us to pull our hand away.
This is called a reflex arc and can occur at lightning speed with as little as only one synapse at the spinal cord. It doesn’t even need to reach the brain!
While our default reflex is to avoid pain, sometimes it is not in our best interest to do so.
WHAT? Why would we WANT to feel pain?
Ever held a hot plate that had a delicious meal on it?
We are able to tolerate the temporary pain to a point, to pay very close attention and to make a calculated conscious choice about whether to drop the plate or to endure the pain.
The prefrontal cortex allows us to override the spinal reflex to avoid pain!
Pain is not bad… Pain is not good… Pain exists for one reason and one reason only.
The entire purpose of pain is to get our attention.
Want to Modulate Pain?
If you feel pain… whether pain for yourself or pain for others… Whether physical pain, emotional pain, or psychological pain, before simply avoiding it, try paying attention to it with curiosity.
Just because it triggers your limbic system does not mean that it is actually a danger.
Try asking yourself what this pain is telling you. Are these growing pains? Healing pains? Or are they just intense sensations that can be reframed?
If we can change our perception, we can change our experience.
Master your perception… and master your mind.
Would you like to learn more about how we can empower ourselves to reduce pain and to improve our brain function without drugs or surgery? Comment below.