For motivated patients we encourage them to study and incorporate mindfulness into their daily routine. Mindfulness is the psychological process off bringing one’s attention to experiences in the moment. It is best accomplished with training and the practice of meditation. Mindfulness interventions are effective in reducing rumination and worry. Rumination on one’s pain or illness exacerbate depression and underlying anxiety conditions. A classic example is with our Fibromyalgia patients, they commonly ruminate on the condition and identify themselves as ‘Fibro’ instead of focusing on a more positive aspect of their life.
Classic mindfulness treatments we recommend to patients include a very basic mindfulness meditation where a patient sits and quietly focuses on their natural breathing. The patients are taught to allow thoughts to come and go without any judgement, simply allow the thoughts to dissolve away and then focus back on their breathing. A simple 3-5 minutes per day will start to show dramatic benefits in as little as 2 weeks as patients learn to wipe away anxiety and help to distract from the negative effects of pain on the mind.
A few apps that we have found helpful for patients to practice mindfulness include: Headspace, Aura and the app Stop Breath & Think.
As a patient incorporates a mindfulness approach to their daily routine, pain levels decrease, anxiety decreases, empowerment increases and patients inch closer to a cure for their pain.