Mindfulness is the practice of keeping one’s consciousness/thoughts focused on the present reality.  That is being full present and engaged in a moment – our thoughts, emotions, bodily sensations and position in space.  It’s origins are in Buddhism and The Sutra of Mindfulness.  It is often referred to as a type of meditation – or we may consider that meditation can help train us to be mindful.

Over the last ~10 years there has been increasing interest in the use of mindfulness in managing medical conditions.  There are currently over 18000 references for mindfulness in PubMed!

Conditions for which mindfulness has shown potential benefits include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Obssevive compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Chronic pain
  • Neuropathy and neuropathic pain
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
  • Osteoarthritis (OA)
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Skin disorders

My introduction to mindfulness was after coming across the book “The Miracle of Mindfulness” by Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh. This book is beautifully written and somewhat lyrical.  There are also exercises throughout to help guide your mindfulness practice. Every time I read it, I so want to be good at mindfulness. Alas, I am not.

I suspect as we learn more about psycho-neuro-endocrine-immunology (needs its own post) interventions such as mindfulness will become a more ingrained element in the management of many chronic conditions.

If you would like to try practicing mindfulness there are many books! Also, apps (I haven’t tried any).  You can also do training with a mindfulness coach or psychologists.

Smile and breathe 😊

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