If you’ve been online recently, you’ve seen a new wave of positive thinking. It doesn’t sound too bad, right? But there is a point where being continuously told to put a positive spin on all your experiences can become toxic. A person telling you to just “think positive” and “change your attitude” doesn’t help the way they think it does. All pain is real, even if it comes from the brain. The truth lies in reinterpreting the brain’s signals to the body and no longer associating them with fear, which changes the way you experience the sensation of pain.
Your Brain on Positive Thinking
When you’re in pain, thinking positive can feel almost impossible. And many people living with pain feel like this is unattainable and give up trying. But why is it so important to try to focus on the positive? The answer is simple: what it does for your brain.
It’s possible to find relief from pain when you release the fear that’s associated with it and learn how to make the pain more manageable. Even though chronic pain can be addressed through therapy, this does not mean that the pain is made up. In fact, we know the pain is real; otherwise, you wouldn’t be seeking help. What we are saying is that pain is the result of a well-worn neural pathway in your brain.
Dopamine, Serotonin, Endorphins – Oh My
Every thought you have releases some type of chemical. Negative thoughts cause the brain to release stress hormones, like cortisol and adrenaline. Positive thoughts, on the other hand, create feelings of well-being and the brain produces serotonin and dopamine, for example.
Smiling increases dopamine and serotonin. Laughing leads to an increase in endorphins. Endorphins release signals of safety and calm. When you have been dealing with chronic pain, you need serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins.
Laughing and being silly allows you to better cope with stress, promotes resilience in the brain, and reduces chronic pain. If you have been suffering, you have probably lost the connection to fun, joy, and silliness. When it comes to pain, it’s essential to start to engage in things that bring you joy. Your brain needs it. Do not limit emotions.
Rewiring your Brain
The good news is that there is a treatment for chronic pain that can help people feel better. You can learn how to rewire your brain’s responses to the sensations in your body so that they are no longer perceived as dangerous. In our practice, we use a new technique called pain reprocessing therapy or PRT. PRT has been clinically proven to be effective and in a randomized controlled trial, 98% of participants had at least some improvement.
People don’t have to suffer through chronic pain anymore. The PRT approach to pain management therapy can help reframe how people experience discomfort and allow them to find relief.