NLP pain relief – using imagery to reduce your perception of pain

I’ve had back problems for many years and self-hypnosis has been an important part of my healing journey.

Today I’d like to share a really effective NLP technique I regularly use to relieve discomfort.

Focusing your attention on the pain you feel and experience often causes stress, tension and worry increasing the tension in the muscles and driving the cycle of pain onwards. This NLP technique shifts your attention to focus on pleasant experiences, helping both the mind and body to relax. Re-creating comfortable and enjoyable experiences in your mind naturally stimulates the release of neuro-transmitters (like serotonin) that make us feel good & promote feelings of happiness and well-being.

Before beginning this exercise have a think about which sensory memories evoke the most powerful memories for you…. everyone is different….for some people the experience of relaxing on a beach is remembered primarily due to the felt experience – the warmth of the sun on your skin, the relaxing feelings; others remember this as a visual experience – watching the waves breaking on the sand, the blue sky etc; auditory people remember the sound of the waves, seagulls, and so on first. Having an awareness of your preferred sense helps in the following exercise as you can then focus in on that sense first, followed by the others. Your preferred sense is like a pathway leading to full sensory memory of the experience.

Before beginning any techniques for pain management it is vital to see your doctor first for a diagnosis and appropriate medical treatment. Pain is after all a warning system and it is not advised to alter your perception of pain until your GP has ruled out serious disease or illness.

Read through each step below before beginning…

Sit in a comfortable posture

    • …in a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed; let your arms and legs rest in a natural, relaxed position. Take a few deep breaths and close your eyes. As you focus your attention on your breathing – tell yourself and imagine with each breath you are becoming more and more relaxed.

Imagine yourself at a time and place when you felt comfortable and physically relaxed

    • …imagine yourself at a time and place when you felt comfortable and physically relaxed – I like to focus on a relaxing holiday by a beach, having a massage or relaxing in hot healing springs…but this is your experience…feel free to choose whatever appeals to you. It can be a recent time when you felt more comfortable, or before the onset of pain. Remind yourself, repeat to yourself and imagine how much more comfortable and relaxed you feel in this environment. It’s important that you choose somewhere that is safe, comfortable and relaxing – somewhere you can leave the rest of the world behind for a little while. Imagine and recreate in your mind that experience – see what you would see as if you were there – seeing through your own eyes the sights, colours, shades of light and so on. Notice what you can hear – the sounds related to that experience. Notice the feelings – external feelings – perhaps the warmth of the sun on your skin, or a cool breeze; and internal feelings – the bodily sensations and emotions you experience. Maybe you can even imagine the smells and tastes associated with this experience. Take some time to build, recreate and re-experience this time and place fully and vividly in your imagination. Tell yourself and imagine that every sight, sound and emotion is relaxing you more and more, taking you deeper and deeper into the experience – allowing you to feel more and more comfortable and relaxed.

Then intensify the experience

    • …focus on the colours, make them more vivid, intense and real; turn up the volume on the sounds – make them louder, more distinct; and intensify the feelings … make it as vivid as you can and really enjoy this experience fully.

Intensify the experience once again

    • …and enjoy it for as long as you wish.

Say to yourself that the more you practice this technique…

    • …the more you benefit from it. If you’re likely to find motivation and lack of time an issue, say to yourself that you feel more and more motivated each time you practice, always finding adequate time for this.

Finally take a few deep breaths

    • …and open your eyes. Take your time to re-orient yourself to your surroundings.

Next week I’ll explain how to anchor this experience for even more powerful results that you can access any time you wish to. Although I’ve explained how to use this technique to alter perception of pain it has many very useful applications, for example to overcome anxiety and stress, insomnia and for enhancing self-confidence.

As with all self-hypnosis/NLP techniques for pain management persistent practice is important. If you’ve suffered from chronic pain for a long period of time it’d be unreasonable to expect instant results but persistent effort will ultimately pay off. Above all….enjoy practicing! If you have any comments or queries please feel free to contact me below.

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