Recently I’ve become quite a big fan of practising mindfulness relaxation. I’m definitely no expert and am not claiming to be but it’s something that I find enjoyable and beneficial in my little hectic, stressful, painful bubble (I suffer with EDS3, FND, CRPS, PoTs, the list goes on as there’s quite a lot). I try and take time out of my day, even if it’s only for 10/15 minutes to just focus and be present in one moment. To focus on my body, acknowledging the aches and chronic pain and the anxieties and stresses of the day without judgement.

Everyone has stress, and no one can avoid all stress but learning to respond to stress in a calming and open minded way can help bring your body, mind, thoughts, feelings and behavioural responses back into a present and rational state.

What happens when we get stressed is that our nervous systems become overwhelmed with chemicals that prepare us for ‘fight or flight’. The concept behind the ‘fight or flight’ theory is beneficial and needed in emergencies, when we need to think and react quickly to protect ourselves, but it’s not always the healthiest way of responding to stressful situations in everyday life.

Beneficial effects that regular practising can have are:

– Relieving pain and aching of the body
– Helping to heighten energy and motivation
– Helping to focus the mind for solving problems
– Decreasing heart rate using a relaxed and calmed state
– Helping muscles to relax (blooming great for subluxations/ dislocations/ spasms etc.)
– Can help your body and mind to heal
– Has been known to help improve the immune system
– Can, with frequent practise, help stabilise blood pressure

Some of my tips on mindfulness:

– If you’re a beginner I’d suggest starting with a guided meditation; there’s loads of apps and books around.
– Try and meditate around the same time every day. I like to do mindfulness breathing (focusing on the in breath and out breath, not changing your breathing but just being aware of it) in the morning and guided meditation just before I go to bed. But don’t worry if you miss days or even a couple of weeks, it happens. You can even wait to use mindfulness or relaxation for when you’re really stressed.
– Make your own playlist with a mixture of short and long tracks; find the ones that help you. Body scans are one of my favourites, if you struggle with pain this could be a good one for you (it’s all about acknowledging each part of the body and the feelings/ changes in your body).
– Practice in a quiet place; this will help you focus and not be distracted with life. As you become more advanced, you’ll be able to adapt the techniques you learn in the midst of everyday.
– Be as comfortable as you can; if that means sitting in a straight back chair with your feet on the ground or lying on your back, arms at your side, feet uncrossed; then do it.

I know I haven’t gone into a huge amount of detail, but I personally like the idea of discovering things by myself and making my own decisions on things to help me. Although, I do hope this has been a little helpful, sparking a new possibility for you and has been somewhat interesting!

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