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Pain and the Mind-Body Connection

In 2015, Lesley Paterson broke her shoulder during a practice run the day before the Costa Rica XTERRA triathlon that caused her to lose the ability to use her arm. Not only did Paterson compete in the race, but she also won. Furthermore, the now five-time world champion triathlete, battles with debilitating, chronic Lyme disease. She attributes her ability to persevere, despite experiencing mental and physical pain, to the power of her mind.

“It’s a mindset you develop across years and years,” says Paterson, now 43 years old, living in Los Angeles, California, and working as an Oscar-nominated screenwriter. “It’s something both you’re born with and you develop and cultivate. I’ve dealt with pain my whole life, or rather sought it out.”

Paterson’s ability to navigate pain by leveraging her thoughts is also backed by research. For decades, scientists, doctors and health professionals have been researching the mind-body connection, or the way that our thoughts and emotions affect our physical health.

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