As anyone who has been laid up with back pain will attest, the agony can be excruciating. But new research shows that positive thinking can be just as helpful as painkillers, physiotherapy and surgery.

Our imagination can be powerful in helping us bring about feelings of greater peace, a reduction in anxiety, stress and pain; an increase in energy, vitality, and the quality of sleep; along with a healthier management of many chronic conditions and an improvement in overall well-being.

Here are 7 tips to help you lessen pain with your mind:

  1. Change your attitude: Instead of drowning yourself in negativity, think, act and talk with a positive outlook on life.
  2. Pace yourself: Each day challenge yourself to give a little more—walk a little further, do one more set of jumping jacks. Don’t give up!
  3. Imagine the future:  Visualize yourself as a pain-free mobile person and sincerely believe in yourself to become that person.
  4. Practice good posture: Stand up straight, hold your stomach in and pull your shoulders back. It will give you confidence in yourself AND help your back.
  5. Enjoy life: Take time to socialize and relax—sometimes those things are the first to go when we are in pain.
  6. Breathe deep: Taking deep breaths will help you stop pain and send more oxygen to the brain to help you feel relaxed.
  7. Challenge yourself: Increase your activity, don’t reduce it. Set small, but achievable goals that you can expand upon.

Click here for more ideas on preventing and treating back pain.