Judy Bartholomew of www.freefromwithattitude.com invited me to guest blog. Follow the link to her website to read more about her expertise. Read here about Mindfulness and Illness.
Tough times: Mindfulness and illness
Mindfulness is how you become aware that your mind has a tendency to get caught up in storytelling, usually the sort full of doom and gloom. It rushes ahead to think of worse case scenarios, catastrophes, anxiety and brings out your inner critic to add to the distress too. So being mindful of this means you are aware that this is your mind creating these scenes. It isn’t what is really happening.
Focus on what you are experiencing here and now, in this moment. Become aware of your body’s sensations, your breath and your emotions. As you do this you start to soften and lean in to the experience.
You direct your focus away from the mind’s storytelling towards the sensations happening in the rest of your body.
With practice, mindfulness meditation has real impact on your body. Once you learn to reign in the horror stories, you feel more balanced and emotionally stable. The swings and roundabouts throughout your day don’t disappear, but with mindfulness you are building strong reserves of emotional stability.
Calm steady breaths
Mindfulness of the present moment is crucial because it means your brain is no longer perceiving danger. So it no longer floods your body with stress hormones. By focusing on your breath you can maintain calm steady breaths. So firmly yet with a light touch, your ‘ride’ becomes steadier and feels safer. It allows your heartbeat to stay steady rather than increasing through fear.
The best bit about this is that you always have your breath to hand. You can be ready to implement calm at any second and in any situation you are experiencing. You are in charge of your playground rides!
A helpful website is www.cancernetwork.com which highlights the scientific studies associated with mindfulness training and its benefits. It was good to read that ‘one study on breast cancer survivors demonstrated less stress, hopelessness and anxious preoccupation’ because of implementing mindfulness techniques.
It is gaining popularity within hospitals, so if you are going through tough times, ask about mindfulness. Get the kind of support that will allow you to support yourself.
Sometimes a few inspirational words can keep you on track and help you stay positive. The following pocket-sized books, written by Yvette Jane and published by Summersdale include:
Another useful book resource: Mindfulness-Based Cancer Recovery by Linda E. Carlson and Michael Speca
Yvette Jane – Mindfulness & Meditation Coach
Place of Serenity, Petersfield, Hants