Mindfulness is the fundamental human ability to be fully present, aware of where you are and what you are doing, and not be too reactive or overwhelmed by what is happening around you. It's a quality that every human possesses. All you got to do is learn how to access it.
If you are experiencing thoughts that bring you extreme discomfort or unease, it may be time to start a mindfulness practice to help you return to the present moment, which can significantly reduce your stress level.
This blog discusses how mindfulness helps when you're ill and what techniques make that possible. So, read in full.
How Does Mindfulness Help When You're Ill?
Let's first understand the relationship between illness and stress. Both stress and illness are frequently found to be connected. So much so that you're more prone to become ill when stressed, especially if this stretches over a long period. But why is that?
Cortisol, a stress hormone, is released by your body when stressed. But here's where things become complicated. There is no direct relationship between health consequences and cortisol. However, it is believed that the answer resides in how our bodies respond to cortisol levels in our blood. [Must check: Reduce your cortisol naturally]
It means you become more vulnerable to disease when your body is under stress, whether from mental stress or viral infection.
Consider the experience of visiting the dentist. You know you need this work done in your head. However, you are aware that it will cause discomfort to some extent. Now, the natural instinct of the body is to avoid pain. And this can be stressful, especially if you're apprehensive.
Because of this, your pulse rate might elevate; you may become sweaty or even shake. That is known as extreme tension.
If left unchecked, it can render you unable to deal with the problem resulting in panic episodes, fainting, and other symptoms. Thus, making things more difficult for you and your caregiver. That's how stress and illness are related.
Now, if some stress causes illness, the symptoms can be alleviated by reducing the stress, right? And that's where mindfulness comes in. By practicing mindfulness, you can help your body stay calm and poised, resulting in better health outcomes. But how? Read along to find out.
How to be Mindful When Sick? Mindfulness Techniques to feel Mentally Better
Beyond your symptoms, severe sickness causes a slew of other issues. While meditating may not sound appealing when you're going through a difficult time, it's an effective habit as it can help you relax, stay focused on your goals, and create a good mindset. Here are some effective techniques you can practice to feel better mentally:
1. Make Use of What You Have
One benefit of mindfulness is that it may be as simple as focusing on your breath, allowing you to present in the moment in practically any situation. However, when you're sick, even breathing might be challenging. To obtain the mental serenity that comes with meditation, try focusing on portions of your body that aren't in pain while taking comfortable breaths. You might also imagine a rhythmic image, such as a candle flame.
2. Let Go of Tension
You can alleviate stress and tension by carefully focusing on where your body holds that stress and intentionally relaxing the surrounding muscles. Meditation may also be an excellent substitute for other relaxation therapies, such as yoga or massage.
Don't let stress get the better version of you. Reach out to a counselor and know the best ways to cope up with emotional hindrances.
Download The Wellness Corner app to book one-to-one session | Anonymous sessions also available.
3. Stick to What Works for You
If you have to sit and wait for an appointment, make use of the time to meditate and de-stress. Take a few thoughtful minutes to rest in your favourite recliner or bed with a pillow. Even a train or a park bench provides an opportunity to close your eyes and concentrate.
4. Discover Acceptance
To alleviate pain, try mindfulness meditation, which involves acknowledging that the pain and suffering are present without wanting them to go away or otherwise taking a position toward them. This form of practice could be helpful in conjunction with other pain-management strategies.
5. Maintain Productivity
Being unwell might mean being confined to a bed or waiting for extended periods for treatment. It can be frustrating and feel like a waste of time. Mindfulness, on the other hand, is a taught technique that improves with practice and can be done anywhere.
Instead of allowing your mind to worry during periods of waiting or confinement, consider this an opportunity to strengthen your mindfulness skills—and watch and congratulate yourself on your progress.
What Can Mindfulness Not Do When Ill? Setting The Right Expectations
Mindfulness is frequently thought to consist of two basic components: Awareness and acceptance. Monitoring your experiences is what awareness entails, and acceptance entails monitoring those experiences with a nonjudgmental openness, making no attempt to change or ignore anything that comes up in your thoughts.
To get the advantages of mindfulness, you must implement both components by being a nonjudgmental observer of experience.
While practicing mindfulness has numerous advantages, there are some things it cannot achieve. For example:
- Immediately heal you of any ailments.
- Cure a psychological disorder. You should see a doctor about this.
- Help you fully control a phobia, such as a dread of needles. A more complicated method may be required to fight such deeply ingrained concerns.
Acceptance does not imply surrender. Acceptance reflects letting things be as they are in the present moment, whereas surrender feels like having to give up not only on this now but also on future times.
Accepting one's condition is linked to various health indicators such as environmental mastery, personal development, adaptability, communication, and family satisfaction. On the other hand, poor self-acceptance of chronic illness is related to a lower quality of life.
So, how do you practice recovery from sickness when you're sick? To begin, take a quiet pause. Stop what you're doing or contemplating for a moment, and take slow deep breaths, in and out. Then say to yourself, "It's okay that I'm unwell right now. It's fine if I'm in agony. This too will pass."
Acceptance does not, by any means, cure everything, but it does let you approach your sickness with greater compassion and ease. And when you're feeling down, that alone can help you feel better.
Mindfulness is all about becoming aware of everything happening around you. It's an effective practice that can work wonders if you're ill. However, make sure to understand mindfulness completely and practice it regularly for the best benefits.
Also, remember that mindfulness is not an immediate solution to any problem. Therefore, if you're suffering from serious physical, psychological, or similar issues, reach out to an expert.