How Mindfulness Helps Manage Symptoms of Chronic Illness

//How Mindfulness Helps Manage Symptoms of Chronic Illness

How Mindfulness Helps Manage Symptoms of Chronic Illness

Since the late 1970s, there have been over 1,000 publications reporting the effectiveness of mindfulness in managing symptoms of chronic illnesses, including conditions like heart disease, stroke and arthritis. Mindfulness training is a type of meditation that involves breathing methods, guided imagery, and other practices.

The goal of any mindfulness technique is to achieve a state of alert, focused awareness by deliberately paying attention to thoughts and sensations without judgment. This allows the mind to refocus on the present moment and can give one the enhanced ability to deal with illness.

It may sound like a simple at first but anyone who has tried meditation on their own can tell you, it is not easy. The good news is that with the help of a professionally trained mindfulness coach, anyone can be guided through meditation and with practice it can become habit.

Mindfulness Helps to Decrease Stress

In addition to disease specific symptoms, people with chronic illness commonly experience stress. Whether it is worrying thoughts about recovery and the future, the ability to return to your life as it was, or financial difficulties; the stress of chronic illness can lead to a host of symptoms including pain, fatigue, depression and cognitive issues.

amygdala emotional response fear mindfulness training Propel Physiotherapy

There is evidence that mindfulness can help alleviate stress by regulating the amygdala, the area of the brain responsible for emotional response (Remmers, Topolinski, & Koole, 2016). Those who practice mindfulness have a better response to stress.

Mindfulness helps to address our autonomic nervous system and the specific responses to fight or flight and rest and digest. People who practice mindfulness are able to navigate better through the fight or flight response and do not live their lives with an “overloaded” autonomic nervous system.

stress fight or flight response mindfulness training Propel Physiotherapy

A study by Donald and Atkins (2016) found evidence that mindfulness produced less avoidance and more approach coping as a response to stress than relaxation or self-affirmation controls.

By its very nature, the practice of mindfulness helps with focus and attention. To be specific, bringing attention back to the breath each time you feel your mind wandering during meditation helps strengthen the brain’s neural circuitry for focus.

At Propel Physiotherapy, we provide mindfulness training in group settings, as well as one-on-one sessions — in-person or over the phone — to help clients foster mindfulness practice in their daily lives.

We have seen the positive effects of mindfulness in practice with clients firsthand; and our knowledge of neurological injuries allows us to custom tailor sessions to suit individual needs.

Contact our clinic to find out more about the benefits of mindfulness training and what it can do for you or to book a session with mindfulness coach Kathy Mileski.

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Written by

Kathy Mileski
Kathy MileskiRegistered Physiotherapist and Mindfulness Trainer
Kathy Mileski loves the idea of helping others be as mobile and active as they possibly can. She believes that every person has the potential to do amazing things. That belief bolstered by her training and experience has helped her clients to achieve success in their rehab goals no matter where they are in terms of their recovery.

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November 19 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
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An event every week that begins at 12:00 pm on Tuesday, repeating until December 24, 2019

This small group therapeutic yoga flow class is ideal for people experiencing persistent health conditions – physical and/or mental, as well as mobility-related challenges. The instructor & therapist will adapt each class in order to address the participants’ specific and changing needs.

By |2019-10-11T20:26:25+00:00October 14th, 2019|Mindfulness|0 Comments