If worrying were a superpower, that would be mine. It’s also why mindfulness practices are so important to me. It keeps my mind from spinning around about the future and keeps it in the present. It also helps with pain control if I can focus on something else besides my pain. Mindfulness practices keep your focus on the present moment. Thoughts may come and go but you just observe them without judging or dwelling on them. Many people think of meditation when they think of mindfulness but you can also practice mindfulness in everyday activities. I got started when reading the book Wherever You Go, There You Are and Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn. Here are a few way that I practice mindfulness.
- I put on some rubber gloves and wash dishes by hand in hot water. The hot water soothes my hands as I focus only on the action of washing the dishes.
- For me, knitting and art are mindfulness practices. I can completely forget about everything in the world except the knitting or the art. When I am done, I usually feel refreshed and ready to tackle the world.
- Mindfulness while hiking or just walking in a quiet park. Sometimes I will just sit and observe nature.
- Sitting quietly and drinking that first cup of coffee in the morning gets me in the right frame of mind to tackle the day.
- Sometimes I will just sit and focus on my breathing if I am very stressed. You can find some visual aids online to help with breathing.
- On days when sleep is difficult due to pain or stress, I will lie in bed and do a mindfulness meditation focusing on my breathing.
I can’t say that meditation has improved my rheumatoid arthritis but it has gotten me through some tough flares and helped me deal with the pain and other stresses that come along with life.