If you're one of the estimated 5 million Americans living with fibromyalgia, you know how tough it can be to manage this chronic condition. While there is no cure for fibromyalgia, there are strategies that can help make life easier.
One such strategy is mindfulness therapy. Mindfulness can help you learn to live in the present moment and cope better with your symptoms. If you're interested in trying mindfulness therapy for fibromyalgia, here are some tips to get started.
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The unfortunate of us with fibromyalgia know that sleep disorders, cognitive issues, and emotional problems come with chronic pain and tenderness.
Often pain medications and other medical therapies fail for fibromyalgia patients because these treatments don't address the overall picture of what's going on with this complex condition.
Living with fibromyalgia requires a holistic approach that involves alternative therapies and techniques that take the entire person and all the numerous fibromyalgia symptoms into account. A holistic approach is where mindfulness therapy can be very appropriate.
WHAT IS MINDFULNESS?
Mindfulness focuses on here-and-now issues and attempts to draw away past traumas, past issues, and worries about the future. In mindfulness, you slowly learn to accept and embrace all that is happening as part of the circumstances of life.
Mindfulness may help reduce some symptoms of depression and anxiety, often part and parcel of living with fibromyalgia.
Mindfulness is a tool that anyone with or without emotional difficulties can use and is an excellent life approach. It's about accepting life, not focusing on anything other than directly felt, heard, seen, or experienced, regardless of your current mental and emotional state.
Mindfulness therapy helps you focus on the present moment and accept your thoughts and feelings without judgment. This can help you cope with difficult emotions and manage your fibromyalgia symptoms.
Research studies have found mindfulness therapy extremely helpful in people with cognitive and emotional pain syndromes, including fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and irritable bowel syndrome. More about the research coming up ▽
THE PURPOSE OF MINDFULNESS
Mindfulness is the art of being present and accepting how you feel right now, including physical and mental symptoms.
You can perform mindfulness moment-to-moment, focusing on what's around you and within you, rather than ruminating about what has happened in the past or fearing what might happen tomorrow.
Mindfulness is primarily about becoming nonjudgmental and accepting your feelings, no matter how they present.
It's not about repressing feelings; it's about accepting all feelings, physical or emotional, and then releasing the emotions. Let them go. It results in less constant thinking about the physical problems we face with fibromyalgia and the emotional trauma we may have in our minds.
Researchers have studied mindfulness therapy for people with irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome.
In one study, researchers brought together the results of many different smaller studies. As a result, they discovered that, for the most part, mindfulness therapy could:
reduce stress and the perception of pain in patients who have fibromyalgia
irritable bowel syndrome - which is often a part of fibromyalgia
chronic fatigue syndrome - which can also make up the fibromyalgia picture
Some studies conflicted with one another, but the researchers felt it was due to the earlier studies' many ways. For example, some of the older studies didn't include adequate control groups, so the placebo effect may have occurred, resulting in other therapies as valuable as mindfulness therapies in managing these chronic pain conditions.
The study showed, in particular, an anxiety reduction when the individuals practiced the techniques used in mindfulness therapy.
Anxiety is a common feature of fibromyalgia and was relieved when the study participants used mindfulness techniques compared to placebo treatments. In addition, things like quality of life, depression, and fatigue were also lessened when they practiced mindfulness.
EFFECTIVENESS OF MINDFULNESS THERAPY
The critical factor to remember when it comes to mindfulness therapy is that acceptance is vital. The symptoms themselves don't change, but your perception of and acceptance of the changes.
When we learn how to accept the symptoms for what they are, we can begin to cope better, and our quality of life improves. For example, depression and anxiety that we may experience as people living with fibromyalgia can be lessened by refusing to meditate on them.
Remember to always speak to your doctor about your condition and any holistic methods or treatments you plan on trying.