Incorporating mindful strategies can improve chronic pain and insomnia
Mindfulness is defined as paying attention to the current moment. It’s a state of observing one’s own thoughts and feelings without passing judgment on them. To help visualize this, picture yourself as a mountain, sitting tall and wide. Clouds passing through you but never taking your attention.
When it comes to your health, mindfulness is an important strategy in treating a number of different conditions, including insomnia and chronic pain. One of the biggest issues that comes up when starting to practice mindfulness is how
to actually do it. When you are in the middle of a stressful work day or rushing to get out the door, how do you remember to check in with yourself?
We want to think about mindfulness in a similar way to how we think about driving a car. If you notice you are veering into the lane next to you, you would correct it by straightening out the steering wheel and getting back in your lane. We don’t necessarily need to be hyper-focused on staying in our lane and in fact, being overly focused on it can make things more difficult.
Practice Makes Perfect
While being mindful takes ongoing practice, here are some ideas that can help start the process.
1.) Set up certain times to practice
Meal times, while you take a walk in the morning, or before you go to bed. You want to pair the mindfulness practice with something you do regularly to create an association.
2) Use a physical item to help you remember your practice
A bracelet, fidget, or a resting pillow. This will help you remember to check in with yourself.
3) Set or make reminders
This can be phone reminders or sticky notes. Remember, this shouldn’t feel like a chore, more like a deep breath. Use is as a cue to let yourself relax.
Now that you’re ready to practice mindfulness, start by focusing on three main components: your physical body, slowing your breath, and paying attention to your thoughts. To relax your body, focus on your muscles and let them loosen and melt. Feel yourself getting comfortable, allowing your breath to get deeper and more gentle. And finally, tell yourself calming things, as opposed to more intense and stressful self-talk.
This is something that takes practice and repetition so the brain can get used to it over time. If you’re interested in learning more about mindfulness and how to incorporate it into your daily routine, reach out to us at here