You may not realize it, but one's mental outlook can have a lot to do with how beneficial exercise can be. A new study at the University of Turin suggests that if pain is perceived as "good", the subject is more likely to push through and withstand the discomfort.
Two groups were split and both induced with "ischemic arm pain", which is essentially lowering the blood flow to the subject's arm, thus causing pain. The first group was told, honestly, that the pain wasn't a good thing, while the experiment group was told that the pain would lead to beneficial changes. The results were surprising to say the least.
The researchers found that the second group, who thought the pain was good for them, lasted significantly longer than the first group. Why? "When the meaning of the pain experience is changed from negative to positive through verbal suggestions, the opioid and cannabinoid systems are co-activated and these, in turn, increase pain tolerance," the researchers wrote. That is, simply because the subjects believed that the pain was for a good purpose, their bodies released more of the chemicals that help with tolerating pain.
So, next time you're struggling through discomfort, just think of it as a positive and try to push through. You just may be shocked at the results your body is able to produce.
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