When there is a change in the level of danger, versus safety when we are exposed to a particular stimulus. (Paraphrasing from Dr David Butler). Your pain is never just in your head, it’s in your head, your body, your life. Sure the brain is the boss, but it’s much, much bigger than JUST in your head.
Your body can get feedback not just from your brain, but also from your body itself. Your facial expression can influence your experience of anger, happiness, AND pain. Think about someone who really annoyed you the other day – think about what it was that really drove you up the wall; how annoying it was and how much it made you see red. What are you doing with your body right now? Interesting!
Now think about someone who you genuinely hold dear to your heart. It might be a loved one such as your partner, child or grandchild. Think about how much they enrich your life and how much joy they bring to you when you see them. Now notice what your body is doing. Calmer? This is how powerful thought is, but in reflection, how powerful body expression can be. Clench your fists, screw your face up into a snarl, and get tight and tense. How does that make you feel?
What are your thinking about when doing this? There’s probably one or two of you thinking about that same person who made you rage earlier. Conversely, start to shake off that tension, wriggle your arms and your legs, shake it out and be silly. Start to laugh. Smile as big a grin as you can. What are you thinking about now?
This is the power of feedback when it comes to the body and the mind as one and the same. Now stop. Take a step back and think for a minute. Looking back to the last couple of minutes, can you express how you felt over that time? Did you notice your pain? Be completely honest with yourself, sometimes your mind is trying to insert things in that didn’t happen. Isn’t that interesting? And we influenced all of this just with the power of thought, expression and feedback.
Now if we introduce movement to this, we can see just how powerful an effect it can have on your experience of pain.