1. To take a moment to appreciate what my body does for me, all the time, underneath my usual awareness. Breathing is crucial to living. This gratitude towards my body helps me develop a better relationship with my body, because I usually feel locked in an antagonistic struggle – pain, stiffness, insomnia, digestive problems, etc.
2. To take a moment to be amazed at the interdependence of life on our planet, as we cycle oxygen and carbon dioxide between animals and plants. It’s also incredible that the air we breathe has been breathed since the dawn of life. This helps keep things in perspective for me, when I remember to keep a sense of wonder, and stay connected to the environment around me.
3. To soothe my nervous system, which spends too much time in sympathetic fight or flight mode and not enough time in parasympathetic rest and digest mode, thanks to chronic pain. Over time meditation can help rebalance this tendency.
4. To practice being present, which is a skill. This skill can help me enjoy the moments we rush past (stop and smell the roses), and help me respond more calmly to difficult situations. Both of these outcomes are especially important for chronic pain and illness, where we enjoy too little and feel overwhelmed so easily because of the enormous challenges these conditions pose for us.
5. Develop body awareness: To be able to be in touch with my body more readily, so I can better work within my limits. It’s easy to ignore the early warning signs and then crash from pain or fatigue from overdoing things.
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