Mindfulness can really impact chronic illness. Especially when you’re coping with fibromyalgia symptoms, learning to be mindful will make a huge difference. But what does it look like to be mindful, and how does it actually impact your fibromyalgia experience?
If you’ve just been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, you likely have a lot of stress on your plate. Any diagnosis causes lots of big emotions, like anxiety, fear, sadness, stress, and even anger.
Medications and treatments work at varying levels. That’s why learning to be mindful is a nice alternative, supplemental way to cope.
What Does It Mean To Be Mindful, Anyway?
Most of us have heard of mindfulness, but don’t fully understand what it means to be mindful each day. Basically, mindfulness means consciousness or awareness of something. But to be mindful, you’ll need to focus on the present, calmly accepting your thoughts and feelings in the process.
There are lots of different ways to practice mindfulness. It takes a little while to get the hang of mindfulness, and you should try different techniques to see what works for you. Yoga, meditation, tai chi, and qigong are all great options!
If you’re wondering how to get started with mindfulness, don’t worry. There are hundreds of free mindfulness training sessions available on Youtube and other online platforms! You can get started with mindfulness for free, right in your home, without any equipment or special resources.
Learning to be mindful can benefit your health in lots of ways, but it’s especially helpful for those with chronic illnesses like fibromyalgia.
Why You Should Be Mindful If You Have Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia isn’t a stable illness. Symptoms can change drastically daily, weekly, or even hourly! But for most people, there are subtle warning signs of a fibromyalgia flare-up.
Although these warning symptoms vary, it’s important to be mindful in order to notice the signs and act accordingly.
When you practice mindfulness, you’ll be more aware of your body and physical experiences.
That means you’ll notice symptoms earlier so that you can start taking appropriate actions sooner.
Hopefully, being aware earlier will help you reduce the severity of your fibromyalgia flares.
Another reason it’s important to be mindful if you have fibromyalgia is your mindset. Chronic illnesses tend to cause a negative mindset and outlook, and can even trigger anxiety and depression.
Mindfulness helps us evaluate our feelings in a healthy way, and can even shape the way you view your fibromyalgia diagnosis.
How To Be Mindful
Learning to be mindful might seem overwhelming, but small steps make a huge difference.
The most basic level of mindfulness is learning to be present in the current moment. Instead of worrying about the future or stressing about the past, focus on the here-and-now.
Here are some specific ways to be mindful, especially after a new fibromyalgia diagnosis.
First, avoid multitasking! When you have too much on your plate, you’re going to become stressed, and you can’t be mindful with a million things racing through your brain.
This might sound like a hard change to make. To implement this shift and be mindful each day, change how you prioritize! Start with what matters most and only focus on one thing at a time. Once it’s finished, you can move to the next thing (but I recommend taking short breaks, too).
Practice Mindfulness Each Day
Next, try to add mindfulness practices like meditation and deep breathing exercises. These are absolutely essential if you want to be mindful. Plus, they have amazing stress-reducing benefits, which is always a positive thing.
Add Stress Relieving Strategies To Your Routine
Reducing stress helps alleviate overstimulation in your nervous system, which can even alleviate some of the strain of your fibromyalgia symptoms. Feeling calm, rested, and safe helps your body recover from intense flare-ups.
I also recommend journaling as a way to be mindful. This is an easy, quick, and simple way to add mindfulness to your daily routine.
Each morning or night (or even at lunch) take a few minutes to write in a reflective mindfulness journal. A habit like this helps you de-stress and feel better, which will help you recognize symptoms and reduce flare-ups.
Learning to be mindful is incredibly impactful, and simple, subtle changes make a huge impact. Whether you’re facing a new fibromyalgia diagnosis or you’re looking for new ways to cope, mindfulness will help you adjust.
Of course, when you start to be mindful, the main benefit is how connected you can become with your body. As you become more in tune with your body, you’ll pick up on symptoms earlier. Then, you can take preventative action like rest, hydration, and other tactics to try and prevent a severe flare-up.
But stress relief is also so important for any chronic illness. Especially with fibromyalgia and fatigue, relieving stress through mindfulness is a great way to improve your experience.