Friday, April 16, 2010

New Thoughts on Migraines

Here's an idea for people out there who suffer from migraines.

If you are in the throes of a migraine, which can range from the inconvenient to the downright debilitating, here's something that can help to (maybe even slightly) reduce the pain.

Think of something new.

It's that simple.

I've found that when I've been battling with a migraine, the active thought of thinking of new thoughts, versus thinking of memories or previous thoughts, can help to reduce the pain in the head.

OK, maybe it's not that simple. Continually thinking of new things can be hard. It's very easy to drift back into things you've already thought of. But, at least for me, the act of creating new thought diminishes the acuteness of the pain.

"But," you say, "surely just thinking of something else just takes your mind off the fact that you're in pain." In theory yes, but I've tried taking my mind off the pain by thinking of fond memories and the effect isn't nearly the same as thinking of original thoughts.

Here's two processes I use:

1. Fly me, I'm free

Here's how I start: I picture my feet, standing on the ground, wearing green sneakers (I'm not sure why green, but it always seems to be green - go figure).

Then I lift off.

I rise up into the air, I take in the surroundings as they slowly shrink away. Where was I standing? What was over the fence? Who is that walking down the street? Where is that car going? Isn't it amazing how many people own pools?

It's all about the details.

Now that I've created this panorama, it's time to move. Where are I going to fly? Generally I think of somewhere cool, like Disneyland, or Niagara Falls, somewhere I recognise. And then I fly there, taking in the details of whatever I fly over.

The idea is that during you're flight, you have to consciously think of what you're going to see next. And even if you're flying between two places you know, the act of having to visualise the route between the two locations from above focusses your creative brain. You might be using some memory of what you'll see on the ground as you fly, but having to re-evaluate that data in your brain uses your creative centres rather than your memory centres.

2. Expected the Unexpected Pickle.

This is a pretty simple idea. Hall of doors. Walk up to a door, open the door. What happens?

OK, instead of that happening, what if the opposite happened, not what you expected at all?

Challenge your brain to create something you didn't expect. As soon as you start thinking you know what you're about to see, surprise yourself.

For example: "You open the door and see a man in a suit... except coming out of the bottom of his pants are... tentacles? And these tentacles slip and slide out of his cuffs, and each tentacle is holding an object - a golden ring, a necronomicon, a bottle of potion, a deck of cards, a pocketwatch. And then the pocketwatch... swells and morphs into an apple, which then peels open to reveal.... a flower, which explodes into a cloud of pollen, which forms the shape of... the Empire State Building... except halfway up, the building takes a 90 degree turn and starts building across the skyline. And then when you zoom inside the building, who do you see?..."

Choose an object, choose an aspect of the object that you take for granted, change that aspect. What happens next?


I'm sure there's a scientific reason for why this works in reducing pain, something to do with different sections of the brain, and how and where pain is interpreted. Maybe the pain is centred in the creative regions, and so if you're using that part of the brain to think creatively, not so much of that region is dwelling on feeling pain. I can't say the pain completely disappears, but it certainly diminishes.

I hope that these ideas work for you next time you've got a migraine, or even a bad headache.

Think on!!

1 comment:

  1. I do agree with you when you planing to visit different place you must be aware of that route and their weather conditions. I am a travel lover and love to visit natural places. Most of time people face weather problems on their holiday trip.