For example, deep abdominal breathing helps reduce physical stress and negative thoughts—and increases your inner ability to self-manage pain. Visualization allows you to remove yourself mentally from a stressful moment and lower your anxiety, heart rate and blood pressure. With biofeedback, you work with a trained therapist to understand your SOS before they cause injury to the body. Music therapy can be done anyplace, anytime, as you relax and reduce muscle tension.
Each of these relaxation strategies helps to ward off and even control painful flare-ups that can be triggered by stress. If practiced regularly, your body will learn to elicit the relaxation response, which can help to relieve the added anxiety that often accompanies ongoing pain. Many people find that it is only after several weeks of daily, consistent practice that they can maintain the relaxed feeling beyond the practice session itself, so don’t give up before you reap the benefits.
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