Meditation With A Chronic Illness - How To Do It & How It Can Help

What if someone told you that by spending 10 minutes a day meditating you could lower your stress, clear your head, and improve areas of your health? Would you jump at the opportunity? Of course, you would, and that is what meditation can do. The best part is, there is science that backs how meditation can improve areas of a patient's life and health.

We took time to look into some of the habits of the most successful people in the world and there was a similar thread between many of them that are standard practices, meditation. They spend 10 or more minutes every day to clear the head, relax their body, and most importantly gain the correct “headspace” balance with their lives.

The practice of meditation is nothing new, but it has become extremely accessible and grown with applications such as Headspace, Calm, or just a quick Youtube search. Now everyone can practice various forms of meditation.

Now the questions some may be asking, what is mediation? It’s the simple practice of mind to gain direct insight into the current moment. Being conscious not only of how we feel but also the way we think. It allows us to get away from general distraction like email, texting, and more in the chaotic world we live in which can quickly add anxiety to our daily lives.

Meditation is also a skill that we learn and allows us not to get caught up in the snowball rolling downhill that can be life, and temporarily escape from the stress that can add to living with a chronic disease. If you are looking for moments that will allow you to step back from life, and gain moments of excellent clarity, meditation is for you. 

A good starting point is the Take 10 meditation that gently allows you to gain headspace and put you in a better mental place. Getting started isn’t hard. Here are a few steps to get started:

  • First, find a comfortable place to sit or lie down.
  • Once comfortable, begin a full body scan from your toes to your head. Briefly checking in to each significant body part will give you a sense of how your body is feeling.
  • Next, is to breath in a controlled manner. Count between 2-5 second on the breath in, then count to 2-5 seconds on the breath out. Concentrate on your breathing for 30 seconds or longer until you aren’t distracted by anything else. If you get distracted, start over.
  • At the end of your meditation session, give yourself a few moments to check back in with your body and the physical sensations that you may be feeling.
These are just the basics of meditation but spending 10 minutes a day and going through the process above can have excellent results on both your mental and physical wellness. There are other forms of meditation which we suggest you check out to such as walking, working out, sleep, and more. If there is a time when you can unplug and have a moment to yourself, then there is a time to gain headspace and be in the moment.

While meditation is excellent at clearing your headspace, it can also improve various areas of the life around you like developing relationships with loved ones and friends, being more patient with others around you, and connect the dots for areas of your life. But we did mention earlier that there is science behind this. Here are some exciting things to keep in mind as well:

  • General meditation can help you sleep - A study by Massachusetts Medical School found that 58% of insomniacs significantly improved their sleep with meditation
  • 91% of patients cut down or stopped taking medications with regularly practicing meditation
  • UCLA confirmed that people who exercised mindfulness could identify with their emotions, and are more aware of the negative feelings, and less affected by the negative thoughts as well.
  • University of Massachusetts Medical School study show a reduction in about 90% of participants with both their anxiety and depression.
  • Research also shows that meditation can lower blood pressure, heart rate, breath rate, and boosting a person’s immune system.

So, are you ready to spend 10 minutes a day to see if meditation can help with your chronic disease? Why wouldn’t you give it a try? It can’t hurt, but it has the potential to improve in many ways.

Want to put meditation and other practices into your daily life? Check out our Better Life Patient Journal. The first wellness and productivity tracking journal, specifically designed for patients with a chronic illness. 

Brian Greenberg

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