If you think you may be suffering from fibromyalgia, consult your doctor or health professional. They will run a variety of tests to get an accurate diagnosis of your condition.
There’s no cure….Yes you did read that correctly; there’s no cure, but…
I’ve lived with fibromyalgia for 15 years and found some times are really tough.
The single most upsetting factor for me has been other people’s perception of ‘living with fibromyalgia’. They almost always get it wrong. So, if you meet someone who has fibromyalgia, tread carefully. Don’t jump to conclusions about how they feel. Listen to them. After all they are living with it on a daily basis.
The positives are my symptoms are still there, but have improved greatly since I was first diagnosed.
In short, it works by focusing the mind on a thought, item or activity. Through concentration, a mentally clear and emotionally calm state can be reached. If you have a chronic health condition like fibromyalgia it’s worth trying.
I found meditation to really help and would suggest having a look at Insight Timer and download the app. You can access free a range of guided and unguided meditations on different themes for beginners to more advanced.
Courses, live meditation sessions, music, sleep and talks are also accessible but some are only available for payment.
One of the best beginners courses to try is ‘Learn how to meditate in seven days’ by Sarah Blondin
For Fibromyalgia sufferers try ‘Methods for living with pain and illness’ by Vidyamala Burch
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is another form of meditation which is popular at the moment. It is about focusing the mind in the present, rather than letting the mind jump from random thought to thought. You may find this approach easier to work with. The NHS website has some more information about this technique.
Why practice mindfulness?
Clinical researchers have carried out a number of tests which have shown that mindfulness can improve your overall health and wellbeing in these ways:
lower stress levels
improve the quality of sleep
encourage positive thinking
alter the way the mind reacts to difficult situations
improve decision making
How can mindfulness be described?
In a nutshell, it’s focusing our attention purely on the present moment. Doing this without letting the mind drift back to past memories or thinking about future events. Mindfulness is embracing the present with acceptance, without judgment.
The monkey mind🐒
There are so many distractions for us to focus our mind on. To illustrate the monkey mind, try this exercise for a couple of minutes.
Focus your mind on your breathing. Think about where you can feel movement in your chest from your breathing. Concentrate on this area, for a few minutes. You will notice your thoughts stray, thinking about numerous things other than the breath.
These thoughts are from past or future experiences. The mind is rarely focused on the present. It jumps from one subject to another, like a monkey playing. This practice is called the monkey mind.
How do I start to practice mindfulness?
Start by focusing on your senses when you carry out your everyday routine. By thinking about the feel, touch, smell and the sound of everything you are experiencing.
If you carry out a task such as washing the dishes, think about the heat of the water, the texture and feel of the plates, the scent of washing up liquid and the sound of water filling up the bowl.
If you have a regular daily routine build some time into it every day to practice mindfulness.
You could try changing your daily activities. For example if you regularly go for a walk and always walk the same way; try changing the route to one your not as familiar with. Or try a completely new walk.
By changing your routine to something different or new it will get your mind to focus on a familiar task in a different or new way.
with fibromyalgia. Although if your reading this without fibromyalgia the techniques are still worthwhile to try; we all need to know how to relax, particularly at the moment with Coronavirus.
The constant pain experienced with fibromyalgia makes every day tasks more difficult to do.
Simple things like preparation of a meal and shopping for food are tasks that become challenging.
I choose simple meals to cook that have a minimum of preparation. Buying some vegetables ready to cook; like butternut squash can speed up prep time and help to avoid struggling to cut them up.
Having my shopping delivered has made a big difference and can help me budget easier.
Like most things you find your own way to getting these jobs done.
When I was first diagnosed with fibromyalgia I had pain in my neck and shoulder constantly.
I remember thinking I’d do anything to get rid off the pain.I was constantly visiting my doctor for help with various ailments, due to fibromyalgia. It was suggested I try physiotherapy.I went along and was given various exercises to carry out along with relaxation techniques.
The relaxation exercises were really helpful, although it took a while to learn how to do them properly and get some benefit from them.
Why should I try relaxation?
Just the thought of being able to relax can seem out of reach if your in pain. Finding ways to de stress and relax is something that can make a difference.
Our bodies are under a lot of stress constantly and I found this stress had a big impact on how severe the pain was.When I was able to relax the pain was not as severe.
How do I relax?
There a number of techniques you can try and it’s a good idea to try more than one technique, as you may respond better to certain ones. It’s more beneficial to practice for as long as possible, up to 20 minutes.
What can I try?
To do this properly, find a quiet place you can sit for a while. Start to focus your mind on your breathing. Take long, deep breaths, try not to rush these. Breathe from your belly and focus your attention on the sound and feel of the breath. By concentrating on breathing it can take your mind away from other thoughts. Check with your health professional to see if this is suitable for you, if you have experienced breathing difficulties.
Try this technique by taking a few deep breathes first. Now focus the mind on the body as a whole and scan it from top to bottom for areas that seem tense. Think about each area in turn and imagine each part in turn, releasing tension in the muscles. When you have completed each area. Try another full body scan again, the tense areas should feel much more relaxed. This technique helps your mind to become more aware of areas that need attention.
Taking mindfulness a step further incorporating it into daily meditation practice can encourage the mind to work in a regular pattern.
Mindfulness meditation works by silently spending a few minutes every day thinking about one aspect of the body, such as breathing awareness and acknowledging thoughts. When they arise and bringing back attention to the breathing. Take a look at my post.
To carry out this exercise successful you need to concentrate the mind on places and images you find calming and encourage positive thoughts. Looking at photos from the past or remembering places you have visited could help. There are apps that you can download to help with this technique.
Yoga is a gentle form of exercise that combines controlled breathing with movement and postures. It’s a good choice if you want to improve your flexibility. It’s recommended to start by joining a group to learn the basic poses. Check with your doctor first to see if they think it’s suitable for you.
Most of these techniques can be carried out almost anywhere to help reduce stress and concentrate the mind.
As with all forms of exercise check with your doctor first it you are not sure if an exercise is suitable for you.
You can find further help and information on the following resources: