from mercola.com: If you’ve ever wondered how your body’s aches and pains tie in to brain processes, and how your attitude and emotions can affect them, watch this video. It’s a complex process that’s still being unraveled, but what is known is that your brain, and consequently your thoughts and emotions, play a key role in your experience of pain. For instance, meditation appears to work for pain relief because it reduces brain activity in the primary somatosensory cortex, an area that helps create the feeling of where and how intense a painful stimulus is. Laughter is also known to relieve pain because it releases endorphins that activate brain receptors that produce pain-killing and euphoria-producing effects. Other research has shown that in people with chronic pain, a front region of the brain cortex mostly associated with emotion never shuts off. The brain region remains in active mode, which eventually wears out neurons and alters the way they connect to one another, potentially leading to permanent damage and pain-related symptoms like depression, anxiety, sleep disturbances, and problems with decision making. In much the same way that a person can experience phantom limb pain after losing a limb, it’s thought that your central nervous system “remembers” any pain that lasts more than a few minutes at the neuronal level. The memories can become so vivid that the pain persists even after the injury has healed, or re-occurs when it shouldn’t, such as from a gentle touch. Researchers are actually working on ways to ease chronic pain by erasing neuronal memories using capsaicin, the active ingredient in hot peppers … but addressing your emotions using mind-body therapies may work just as well.