Diet and Lifestyle to Help You Thrive with MS, Part 3 – Meditation. A Guest Blog
This month we introduced you to Laurie, a health & wellness coach specializing in helping those with chronic illness and fatigue. This week we are so excited to share her third installment of her diet and lifestyle series:
When it comes to thriving with a chronic illness, I find most people want a silver bullet. They want just one thing they can do to feel better. In many respects, diet seems to be the easiest, or at least the first one people reach for. I did.
But health, wellness and thriving are about more than what we eat, especially for those of us with multiple sclerosis. Not until Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis, by Dr. George Jelinek, did a book on MS commit a whole chapter to meditation as something to be incorporated into a MS wellness plan. I whole-heartedly agree.
The evidence is overwhelming how effective meditation is in improving the lives of those with MS. A recent study reported in Neurology (2010;75;1141 – 1149) demonstrated that health-related quality of life, including incidence of depression, anxiety and fatigue decreased significantly for those participating in a structured 8-week program of mindfulness training. Other studies have found that meditation produces lasting results in the brain (increasing connections) and improving proper immune system function.
Meditation isn’t just for yogis and Buddhist monks. Anyone can do it, anywhere. And it’s free. Here’s a basic plan or you can seek out a meditation center in your area if you want more guidance.
When starting out, it’s best to find a quiet place. Sit in a chair with your back supported and your feet on the ground, in a cross-legged position, or however else is comfortable. You can close your eyes or you can focus on a stationary point. Take a few cleansing breaths. Scan your body from head to toe, relaxing as you go. Then observe your breath. In. Out. If thoughts enter your mind space, notice them but don’t chase them. Watch them float by like a fish in an aquarium. If you are apt to follow a thought, thank the thought for coming and tell you will get back to it when you’re done.
If this is your first time meditating, start with 5 minutes. Work your way up to 20 minutes. If you can’t find 20 minutes, do it for 5 minutes, 4 times a day. This is a practice best done daily. And feel free to contact me to let me know how it’s going.
Laurie Erdman helps busy individuals living with chronic illness, stress or fatigue double their energy so they can enjoy life again. She overcame multiple sclerosis, fatigue, and chronic stress, and now inspires and educates others to create a healthier, more vibrant life. Laurie is Founder and Chief Wellness Hero at Chronic Wellness Coaching