Daily meditation has helped me tame my fibromyalgia symptoms as I progress through a flare-up caused by an accident that left me with a broken wrist and surgery to repair it. Why does it help? Meditation allows me to quiet my mind, lower my stress and lift my mood, at least for a period of time.
Meditation involves focusing on the breath or a certain word or phrase rather than the worries or pains of life in order to enter a state of calmness. It is not the whole solution to managing fibromyalgia symptoms but it can be helpful.
|Misha practices his own form of meditation
Meditation has been extensively studied by scientists. They have found that when meditation is practiced regularly it can reduce levels of stress hormones, boost the immune system and improve other symptoms of fibromylagia. The many benefits of meditation include:
- Decreased pulse
- Lowered blood pressure
- Reduced heart rate
- Reduced nervous system activity
- Fewer mood swings
- Decreased levels of anxiety
- Decreased feelings of depression
- Feelings of vigor and vitality
- Increased memory
For fibromyalgia sufferers, meditation techniques can help to improve your sleep patterns and reduce your fatigue. Meditation techniques also may help to reduce your pain levels, as it decreases the levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, in your body.
In a 1993 study involving 77 fibromyalgia patients, it was found that daily meditation improved most fibromyalgia symptoms. Fifty-one percent of participants reported moderate to marked improvement in their symptoms.
In 1998, a study on meditation and fibromyalgia found that meditative practices lessened the achiness, sleeplessness, muscle pain and depression experienced by fibromyalgia patients.
Scientists have looked directly into the brains of those who practice meditation with MRIs. Those subjected to study had thicker gray matter in the areas of the brain associated with self-awareness and compassion. The regions of the brain associated with stress were diminished.
|Misha and Nika practice meditation with me
Here’s what you do once you have resolved to meditate 5-10 minutes per day:
- Sit comfortably: You don’t have to sit cross-legged. Sit in a chair, on a cushion, on the floor, whatever’s comfortable. Make sure your spine is reasonably straight.
|Bailey gets into meditation too
- Feel the sensation of your breath as it goes in and out. Pick a spot: nostrils, chest, gut. Focus your attention there and really try to feel the breath. Help direct your breath with a soft mental note such as “in” and “out.”
- Whenever your attention wanders, just forgive yourself and gently come back to the breath. It’s kind of like a game to catch your mind wandering and then come back to the breath, over and over.
|Cauliflower cheese sandwich
Here's what you need for two sandwiches:
1/2 cup cauliflower, riced
1/3 cup almond flour
2 T. farmers' cheese
1/2 tsp. baking soda
pinch of sea salt
various veggies (zucchini, red pepper, mushrooms) for grilling
lactose-free sharp cheddar cheese (Only get the good stuff without fillers.)
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Drizzle or spritz the surface with olive oil.
Chop up your veggies. Rice the cauliflower in a food processor. Heat the cauliflower in the microwave for one minute. Turn onto a clean towel to soak out the water.
Combine cauliflower, almond flour, farmers' cheese, egg, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Mix. Pour in two mounds on one of the baking sheets. Spritz again with olive oil. Place in the oven for about 15 minutes until golden brown.
Grill your veggies on the other baking sheet.
To assemble your sandwiches, divide the veggies between the two pieces of cauliflower flatbread. Sprinkle with cheese or other desired condiments. Fold each in half and briefly return to the oven to melt the cheese.
Bite in to your sandwich and enjoy a different kind of nirvana.
|Try different spots for your meditation...Bailey's advice