Two years ago, I began doing guided meditations using several iPhone apps. I quickly discovered that meditation was not only a great way to center myself, but it also had other benefits particularly useful to my life as a chronically ill person. I’ve used it at home, at work, and in the hospital, and I now consider meditation an important part of my wellness toolbox.
There are three main reasons I meditate, and I think other spoonies should consider it, too.
You’d think, as a person with severe chronic fatigue, I wouldn’t need to meditate to fall asleep. Oh, I have no trouble falling asleep at 9AM or 2:30PM, no matter how hard I try not to. Unfortunately, when bedtime arrives I often have trouble getting myself settled.
Concentrating on my breathing and the voice of a guided meditation helps me to block out the buzz of my brain and the world around me. I can relax, and eventually I drift off. I am very rarely awake at the end of a meditation.
I am a very anxious person. Anxiety disorders run rampant in my family. I need a way to help manage my anxiety when self-reasoning fails.
On those occasions (which includes every single time I am in a car going around a certain high curve on a Birmingham, AL, interstate), I use meditation to keep myself from having a full-blown panic attack. I close my eyes and concentrate on my breathing (and try to ignore the centrifugal force). I’m still freaked out, but I’m not hyperventilating. Score one for meditation!
Anyone with chronic pain will tell you that the meds don’t always work. We are constantly on the lookout for methods of controlling pain that don’t involve higher dosages of dangerous drugs.
At least for me, meditation is not an effective method of pain relief. I use it, however, to get through the pain when medications don’t work. Deep, centered breathing and guided meditations have both kept me sane when pain meds didn’t quite do the job. It was especially helpful when I was searching for a treatment for neuropathic pain.
Have you tried meditation? How has it helped?