Fibromyalgia can cause a lot of stress for those of us who are suffering from it. Because of that, it’s important that we find ways to deal with the pain that is healthy and, many times, that are more natural than trying to deal with prescription medications and such.
One such process that has really been shown to help is mindfulness. What is mindfulness? How does it help with our fibromyalgia pain and stress? That’s what we’re going to look at here in this article.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness, in short, is the act of being here. That sounds odd, but many of us are so distracted by so many things that we aren’t always mentally here in the present. Our minds are out there, somewhere, thinking about something else that isn’t even going on.
Electronic devices like computers, tablets, and phones are taking us away from being present in the moment. Mindfulness is taking control back and making sure that you are able to be in control of your emotions and what is going on with your body and your mind. A lack of mindfulness (sometimes referred to as “mindlessness”) can actually result in more anxiety and can make it more difficult for you to cope with your daily living.
How do you practice mindfulness? There are a lot of ways; it all depends on what techniques work for you and how much they can help you. Some methods work for some people, others don’t work at all. You will have to try some for yourself in order to see whether or not they are the right thing for you to do.
Meditation is a huge part of mindfulness. You can either do it as part of yoga, or you can do it by itself. Sit down quietly in a comfortable position for about 10 or 15 minutes. Listen to your breath as you breathe in and breathe out. Pay attention to what your body is doing, and approach it with curiosity instead of with fear. Your body will be more relaxed, and you will be more present in the moment that you are in, instead of being lost in the clouds somewhere.
Grounding is a huge part of helping to deal with mindfulness as well, especially for those who have symptoms of anxiety alongside their fibromyalgia. Grounding is fairly simple. Sit somewhere or stand somewhere. Wiggle your toes and pay attention to where your feet are touching the ground. You are there, you are present, and you exist. Some people will rub their thighs if they’re sitting, or rub their hands if they’re standing up. This helps you to feel the sensations on your skin, which helps you to feel more present as well. Grounding is the physical part of being present where you are, at the moment.
Being mindful of everything you do is also helpful. Are you the type of person that just gulps down a meal instead of working to enjoy every bite? Sit and be mindful of what you’re eating, think about the texture and the flavors of the food that you’re enjoying, and breathe in the smells as well. You can do this with every experience you’re in – use all of your senses to be more in touch with what is going on around you, and you will find that you are enjoying the entire process a lot more than you would have been otherwise.
These aren’t the only suggestions that you can use in order to be more mindful. Basically, you’re just working to make sure that you are more aware of what is going on with you and around you; you are allowing yourself to be present in the moment, instead of being somewhere else and ignoring what is really going on. You may find your own ways to be more mindful, as well.
How Does It Help with Fibromyalgia?
By training your brain to be more mindful, you can actually find a number of different benefits when it comes to coping with your fibromyalgia pain and stress. Here are some of the ways that research has shown that mindfulness can actually help with your fibromyalgia pain and stress.
First off, let’s look at the positive effects that mindfulness has on anxiety related to fibromyalgia. Instead of panicking when the anxiety comes, mindfulness has been shown to help us look at anxiety and teaches not to be more afraid of it. As you likely know, anxiety has a tendency to spiral down into something worse. By approaching it with mindfulness, we become curious about it, take the reins of control back, and make it a lot less stressful.
When it comes to pain, mindfulness helps us not to just ignore the pain that we’re dealing with. Instead, it allows us to look at our pain and accept that it’s there, and take steps to help relieve some of the pain. We don’t necessarily get frustrated with it or put all our energy into focusing on it, we just learn how to respond to the pain in a more positive manner. Mindfulness, as we mentioned above, also helps to reduce stress, thus making it so that our bodies are more relaxed and thus, the pain is likely lessened and it makes it easier for us to go through our daily grind.
Mindfulness isn’t something to be afraid of – if we embrace it and make it part of our daily lives, it can end up being incredibly beneficial. Fibromyalgia can be stressful, but if we allow ourselves to be present and we allow ourselves to learn helpful techniques that can make our lives easier, it can really play a huge role in our overall wellness. If you aren’t sure where to start, a therapist and/or your specialist can point you in the right direction as to how you should go about it. They may even be able to help you learn proper techniques as well.