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Is pain holding you back from living a fuller life?  Ongoing aches and pains are no fun, and it can keep you from doing what you love.  Follow these essential tips to better manage your pain so you can make the most of every day.

End the cycle

You may be surprised to learn that living with stress could be a contributing factor in the pain you feel.  According to Everyday Health, anxiety, depression and tension can manifest as physical pain.  You might be carrying your stress in your neck and shoulders with muscle tension. It appears there can also be a connection between your body’s release of stress hormones and muscle tension as well, creating symptoms like migraines and headaches.  Because our brain is hardwired to reduce pain, when your pain levels go up, your brain tries to shut down the pain to help you function.  Being chronically stressed creates an unhealthy cycle, adding more chemistry that ultimately increases your pain.  While you can’t always control the intangible stresses of work and family life, you can help reduce your stress by creating a home environment that brings relief.  Do some decluttering, enjoy aromatherapy in soothing scents, and ensure your home is brightly lit and cheerful.  Also consider adding some plants, since a touch of nature can help you feel more relaxed naturally.

Spend time outside

Happy family spending time outdoors playing in park. Mom having fun with two kids. Family values

Do you spend time in the sunshine every day?  If your only exposure to sunlight comes while getting in and out of your car, chances are you could use a little more time outdoors.  Sunlight helps our bodies make vitamin D, and some studies indicate insufficient vitamin D can contribute to pain, causing achy bones and muscles, fatigue, slower recovery from exercising, and higher sensitivity to pain levels.  One suggestion is to aim for between five and 30 minutes of sun exposure in the middle part of the day, and avoid wearing sunblock for best results.  Don’t worry if the day is cloud-covered, as the sunbeams you need can still reach you.

Practice meditation

Female meditating on the shore of a beach.

Taking some time out each day to embrace a meditative state can potentially lower your levels of chronic pain.  Time notes those who meditate regularly are less affected by pain, and their brains don’t respond as actively when they experience pain.  Meditation can also provide other important health benefits besides lowering your pain levels, such as lowered blood pressure and better quality sleep.  Start by adding five or 10 minutes of deep breathing exercises to your daily routine, and consider putting some guided meditation apps on your smartphone.

Enrich your diet

Healthy fruit juices with fruit on the side.

An easy way to help manage pain levels is by adding healing foods to your diet.  Drink some green tea or cranberry juice, and add tart cherries or cherry juice to your meals.  For joint and back pain, ensure you consume some fatty fish such as sardines, salmon or herring.  And to ensure your digestive tract can properly absorb the nutrition in these great foods, enjoy some yogurt with live, active cultures regularly.

Spice things up

Different variety of healthy herbs and powders.

Your pantry likely holds some terrific pain reducers that also enliven your meals. Adding some herbs and spices to your culinary routine can help your body reduce inflammation and lower the amount of pain you’re experiencing.  Turmeric is one such spice, which you can add to soups, curries, eggs, and vegetable juice.  If you like things on the hot side, chili peppers can help fight inflammation, or you can get a similar effect with traditional black pepper. Spices such as ginger, cloves, frankincense and cinnamon, which we often associate with winter holidays, can come out year-round​ to help you lower your levels of pain and inflammation.  And throw some rosemary into your soups, fish and chicken dishes, since it appears to be one of the strongest natural protectants against pain.

Chronic pain can inhibit you from thriving.  Make some changes to your home and your routine so you can feel better naturally.  Small and simple alterations can have you living life to the fullest!

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