Remember, mindfulness is the practice of being in the present moment without judgment or the intention to change anything. This practice is actually a way of living, a way of being. We often go about our lives without living in the present moment. Either we are thinking about the past or worrying about the future.
Through the practice of being present in the moment comes a quieting of the mind and calming of the body. And it offers us space to choose what our mind focuses on. When we have this choice, we can choose to focus on the things that feel better.
When we stay in the "doing" mode for too long and live life on "automatic pilot" two things can occur:
1. Negative emotions and reactions can be triggered
2. It can jumpstart habitual coping patterns, such as mindless eating or biting our nails
In the context of pain, we recognize signals being sent up to our brain from a certain part of the body and then our minds (depending on our neuromatrix) add meaning and assumption in interpreting these signals. If we don't know about our bodies and what is going on, the danger flags rise and our pain 'volume dial' gets turned way up.
I hope I've convinced you to at least consider Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction. If you're ready to give it a try, please first read the blog about the Mind's Error Detection System. And keep in mind that when you're first practicing mindfulness, it's normal for the mind to distract you, making you wonder if you're doing it right and telling you how hard it is to "not thinking about anything". It'll feel like a dance between the "doing" and the "being" mode. This is ok. Expect it. And it will get better. The more you practice, the more your mind will be quite and peaceful during this time.
There are two different approaches to mindfulness you may find helpful:
- An active way: "Google" search for Mindful Eating Script and have a partner read it out loud while you enjoy mindful eating
- A Meditative way: Using sensory awareness and using the breath as the main anchor to the present moment.
Guided Meditation has been my method of choice because the "work" is done for you as you listen to the audio voice that is leading you into a peaceful place. Here's a 3-Minute Breathing Space MP3 that only costs .99, give it a try. And notice how your body feels after only three minutes of focusing on the breath. Purchase the whole album from our content provider, Alexandra Milspaw, PhD, LPG if you find this method works well for you!
Stephanie Yeager: Passionate about spreading the word of hope and healing for those like her, influencing a paradigm shift in the medical community toward greater understanding of chronic pelvic pain disorders, and prevention initiatives that may protect young women before onset can occur.