Dr. Peggy Zoccola confirmed in her new study that being positive could reduce the inflammation that may be causing your pain! She presented her findings at the annual meeting of the American Psychosomatic Society in Miami, Florida.

In her study, women were asked to give a speech during a mock-up job interview while two interviewers from Ohio University listened with blank expressions. Half of the group was asked to contemplate their performance in the public speaking task, while the other half was asked to think about neutral images and activities, such as sailing ships or grocery trips.

The science team reported that when the women were asked to ruminate on a stressful incident, their marker of tissue inflammation, called C-reactive protein, were significantly higher for more than a hour! It turns out that concentrating on destructive events escalates the levels of inflammation that lead to swelling, pain, redness, heat, and loss of function.

On the flip side, Dr. Tetsuo Koyama from Wake Forest University reported that expecting a positive outcome could reduce pain perception by 28%. His team told test subjects to expect three different levels of pain: mild, moderate, and severe. MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) was used to measure what part of the brain was involved.

By mixing up the signals so that the people who expected only moderate pain but were exposed to severe stimulus, their pain rating was 28% lower than predicted. Researcher Robert Coghill explains, “Pain is not solely the result of signals coming from an injured body region but, instead, emerges from the interaction between these signals and cognitive information unique to every individual.”

This is a very exciting discovery because it gives us back our power over pain.

Here are six ways to flex your muscle of positive pain reduction:

1. Relax with yoga, tai chi, or listening to music.

Tension increases our pain response, so by letting go of stress, the pain can follow suit. If you have not tried yoga, start with a technique called pranayama. It focuses on counting slowly and breathing that have been shown to take attention away from pain. I have tested this one on myself and can reduce the pain of needle injections.

2. Distract yourself.

Try the counter stimulation of the five senses. Use tingling topical gels, such as mint, or a warm bath (touch), lavender oils (smell), healthy food (taste), loud music or a very funny movie (hearing) to take your mind off of recurring pain.

3. Give a Little.

Showing love to animals or people can dramatically raise your oxytocin levels and reduce the anxiety that contributes to pain.

4. Investigate nerve stimulation techniques.

Consulting professionals who work with acupuncture, massage, osteopathy, chiropractic, and physiotherapy can be extraordinary for correcting physical imbalances that are the root of pain.

5. Learn how to tap pain away. 

Tapping, also known as EFT, has been proven to effectively address a range of issues, such as anxiety, chronic pain, addiction, and fear. It’s also one of the easiest and fastest practices to learn. You can learn it in minutes, do it anywhere and on virtually any issue, and, oftentimes, experience immediate results. Self-hypnosis techniques are also effective to retrain the brain.

6. Enjoy the taste of Meals That Heal Inflammation

My extensively researched book outlines the cause of inflammation and then helps you build a healthy kitchen full of healing foods, like berries, kale, and ginger. The recipes deliver fantastic, delicious meals while avoiding common allergens.

Nutritionist Julie Daniluk hosts The Healthy Gourmet on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), a reality cooking show that looks at the ongoing battle between taste and nutrition. Her first book, Meals That Heal Inflammation, advises on allergy-free foods that both taste great and assist the body in the healing process. Check out more amazing recipes, nutrition tips, and her Anti-Inflammatory Quick Start Program at www.juliedaniluk.com and follow her on Facebook at Julie Daniluk Nutrition and on Twitter @juliedaniluk.