The word ‘Mindfulness’ seems to be on everyone’s lips these days! So, what is it, and how can it benefit someone suffering with Chronic Fatigue?
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a way of living your life. It is learning how to live in the present moment. This means being fully aware of what is going on in, and outside, of your body. Mindfulness helps us to connect with our environment and with our bodies on a moment by moment basis. It helps us become more aware of our thoughts and feelings as they happen. By being accepting and non-judgemental about our experience, we develop self-compassion and can better care for ourselves.
- help us to manage our health problems, our physical and emotional pain
- allow us to cope better with life stresses and strains
- help us to rest
- improve our health and wellbeing and our relationships.
- help us understand the difference between rushing about, trying to get everything done, and being present in the current moment without making demands, thinking ahead nor rushing.
- slow down life making time and space for your own self-care.
- lessen the busy thoughts in our heads
Mindfulness helps you live life by using less energy! Ideal for people suffering with chronic fatigue.
“Mindfulness is the awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose in the present moment and non-judgementally to things as they are”. Williams, Teasdale, Segal and Kabat-Zinn (2007)
Mindfulness is not about emptying your mind. It is about attending to the present moment and being there fully. It is not about striving, nor trying hard to be mindful. It is being aware, whatever your mind is doing – just watch and accept.
What is meditation?
Meditation can be a way of practising being mindful. By sitting quietly and allowing thoughts and emotions to arise and pass by, gently returning your attention to the present moment. You are actually resetting your busy mind to stay present. Repeatedly. It is important to remain non-judgemental and accepting, especially if your mind constantly wants to rush onto the next thing – which is normal! Learning to accept and ‘watch’ your mind whatever it is doing, and then gently returning it to the present moment. The more your practice the easier this gets. It is why it’s called Meditation practice!
How do I live mindfully with Chronic Fatigue?
- Learn to stop or ‘pause’ regularly throughout the day (restorative rest breaks) and check in with your body and mind. Take a breath. How am I feeling emotionally? What are my thoughts? How does my body feel? Be curious about yourself.
- Take time with your daily activities, especially the boring ones! And really focus on the task in hand. Drinking a cup of tea – smell the tea, taste it, feel the sensation as you swallow. Having a shower, spending time with your child, even lying in bed resting. Aim to be fully in the moment, without rushing through it or judging it.
- If distracting thoughts take you off somewhere in your head, bring your mind back to whatever you are doing, non-judgmentally. Mindfulness is all about the ‘bringing back’ to the present moment.
- Please be aware that it is normal for the mind to be busy. Mindfulness and Meditation is not about emptying your mind – that is impossible, so don’t try!
- Learn to meditate, and aim to meditate every day for at least 20 minutes as part of a deep rest break.
- If you struggle with pain, you can use Mindfulness to help cope with the pain.
- Difficult thoughts and emotions can also be helped by using a mindfulness approach. By ‘allowing’ these thoughts, or the pain, and accepting them with non-judgment and self-compassion you can ease a little of the ‘suffering’ associated with them.
Please note: You should always seek help if you are distressed by your pain or thoughts and feelings.
These are just a few ways chronic fatigue can be helped by Mindfulness approaches. Get in touch with me if you would like further help to manage your chronic fatigue.