I was talking to an athlete and asking him how they get through extreme events when suffering with pain.
What I got back was something I hadn’t expected – the use of imaginary medicine!
The athlete had a mind technique that is really quite good, and I’m going to share it with all of you. They prepare an imaginary stash of mental painkiller that is located in their body and that does not run out. When they feel pain they start to identify if they need their body to send pain killer to that area. And then they just start imagining pain killer from their body being sent to that area.
Sometimes they imagine a few drops, sometimes it’s multiple doses over miles.
“Does that work?” I ask in astonishment. The response I got back was a gigantic smile and a YES head shake.
What I love about this technique is it gives the mind a chance to check in with the body and work together to get through extreme circumstances. It also helps the body know that this pain does not have to stay, it’s been noticed and it should settle down because much more will be required.
Using mind techniques to manage pain has been used for millennia. Using the power of the body and mind connection is a quick tool that every athlete can take with them, wherever they go.
When you are pushing your body to new limits it IS a brain game, and having as many tools as you can to use when you need them is not just a good idea, it is sometimes the only way to finish.
Plus in this case there’s no prescription refill needed, it never runs out!
If you have other mind tricks to manage pain while on the trail please leave them in the comments section so everyone can pick them up.