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Physical & Emotional Pain


1.   Take several slow, deep breaths. Once you are relaxed, focus on the area you feel pain.


2.   Visualize a line drawing itself around this area of physical discomfort or where in your body you feel emotion/s affecting you. Notice the form or shape of this outline. If pain is in the whole body, choose one area of your body or imagine drawing a line around your whole body.


3.   Ask yourself, “What color is this discomfort?” The intensity of the color may represent the intensity of the physical and emotional pain you are feeling at this moment.


4.   Think of a time you felt comfortable, relaxed, and happy.


5.   Give this memory and feeling a color.


6.   If the color does not feel soothing, gently exhale out this color and inhale one color at a time until one feels soothing to you. It may not be one color, but a mixture of colors.


7.   Visualize and imagine feeling this soothing color filling, calming, and transforming this area. The color of pain fades and is replaced by your soothing color.

8.   Be patient. Give yourself time. Note any sensations or changes that you feel physically and emotionally.

This exercise teaches how to use the power of the mind–imagination–to change the intensity of physical and emotional pain. Light blue, lavender, white, or light green often represent calming, healing colors. What is your healing color?




1.  Take five deep, long breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth.

2.  Visualize a healing image, such as a cool, soothing stream or a warm, soothing sun.

3.  Make your image real: What colors do you see? What do you hear? Smell?

4.  Hold the intention that you want to cleanse your body of pain, emotional distress, etc.

5.   Visualize the water or sun’s rays gently flowing down through the top of your head, down through your body, down and out of your fingertips and toes. Feel the cool blue of the water or the warm yellow-orange of the sun’s rays flowing down and out.

6.   Visualize pain leaving, flowing out with the stream or sun. Do not force this; just observe what happens. Allow your imagination to create what it needs without mental interference.

7.  Notice what the pain does. Does the discomfort eventually flow out of you? Does it dissolve? What happens? Ask your body what it wants and needs to feel good.

8.  As you end the visualization, have the flow from the water or sun slow down until the last bit of it flows out of your fingertips, toes, and feet.

This exercise uses imagery to change the intensity of physical and/or emotional pain, helping us to feel more in control and less a victim of pain.




1.  Take five deep, long breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth.

2.  Look at your one of your hands and imagine it getting colder and colder. Imagine that it is in a freezer or snow, or whatever helps you to feel your hand grow colder.

3. When you feel ready, place your hand on the area you feel pain and imagine and feel that the cold of your hand is cooler your skin, the inflammation, and pain. 

4.  This is more than picturing your hand cold. it is about pretending to feel that it is cold.

This technique a client taught me. It surprised me how simple yet effective it was to temporarily reduce physical pain. It shows the power of the mind and body.


1. Place both hands over your heart.

2. Take a deep breath and exhale.

3. While sending love and kindness to yourself, use calming words such as, “I know you are going through a lot. I am here for you, Darling.”

4. Stay here for at least 1 minute feeling the self-compassion you are giving yourself.

5. If you have trouble sending yourself love, imagine someone you love dearly and feel your love for that person. That send that love to yourself.

A quick technique when you feel anxiety and distress. After I taught one of my clients this technique (which I learned in a mindfulness self-compassion class), she named it Heart Hugging. What a perfect name for this quick self-compassion exercise as you “hug” and warm your heart.

1.     Invite yourself to relax into your body.

2.     Notice an area you feel physical discomfort or weakness on one side or part of the body, such as your left wrist, upper back, or right leg.

3.     Now focus on that area on the opposite side of your body–the painless, uninjured side. If you can, look at it or look at it in the mirror. For an area of your back, focus on another, non-painful area of your back.

4.     Place your hand there to provide tactile input, and gently rub or caress it.

5.     While concentrating on the painless area and gently rubbing the area, repeat, “This is what it feels like to feel healthy. This is what the skin feels like, the muscles, the bones. This is what it feels like to feel healthy.” Be as descriptive as you can, using meaningful words.  

6.     Do this from 5 to 15 minutes.

7.     Now, without looking at the painful area, gently rub and caress it and repeat, “This is what it feels like to feel healthy. For muscles to feel soothed and relaxed. This feels the same as my other side.” Again, using words that have meaning to you.

8.     Repeat #5.

9.     Now repeat #7, but this time look at the area, imagining it painless, healthy, and strong.

10.    Notice how the once-painful side feels. If you do not notice a difference, repeat the technique for a longer time period, going back and forth from the painless to the painful area. It may take several times trying this and getting used to it.

This technique sends a powerful message to the brain This exercise teaches you to focus attention on one side of the body that is pain-free and strong and imagine the affected side of the body is just as strong, healthy, and pain free. It sends a powerful message to the brain, can override pain signals with practice to decrease pain, and increase range of motion. Attention, using your imagination, and “pretending” to feel that both sides are healthy and pain-free are key.


1.   Take several deep, long breaths in through your nose, blowing your exhalation out through your mouth.



2.   Ask yourself, “Where do I feel most safe in my body?” or “Where is there a feeling of no discomfort in my body?” Be patient for a response. Usually your first response is the answer. Perhaps it is a hand, perhaps it is your little toe, or a small area on your arm, or your heart center.



3.   Bring your attention to this area within your body that feels safe and calm.



4.   Note any sensations, images, or colors that come to your mind. Don’t force this. relax it into and notice what happens.



5.   Take a few moments, just relaxing into this area. This is your anchor. Enjoy the pleasant sensations within you.

This exercises can bring feelings of physical and emotional safety as your practice feeling pleasant sensations in your body. It also helps retrain the brain to recognize that safety is within you.



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