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Mindful : October 2016
Tara Healey is program director and Jonathan Roberts is operations manager for Mindfulness-Based Learning at Harvard Pilgrim Health Care. Enlisting the support of trusted friends and tell- ing them what you need is another way to feel sup- ported and protected. Make sure to continue these rou- tines as best you can during periods in which pain is particularly troublesome. 10 Breath’s got your back Simple breathing exercises can help curb the anxiety that often accompanies the onset of pain. Try this: Rest attention on the sensations present when you inhale, and when you exhale. Allow your exhala- tions to be slightly longer than your inhalations—this will engage the parasympa- thetic nervous system, pro- voking a calming response. From this vantage point, pain signals can be exam- ined more effectively. 11 Keep it in perspective Pain can seem like a kind of teacher—enabling us to bring an astute sense of knowing to a vital and unavoidable aspect of the human experience—but it should not be considered a greater teacher than pleas- ant or neutral feelings. It’s important to not seek pain out, or to idolize it. Pain is not the great teacher. Life is the great teacher, and pain is just one of its many lessons. ● AD 36 mindful October 2016 how to live a mindful life