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Giant Meditation Post: Meditation for Chronic Illness

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I have been exploring the benefits of meditation for those with chronic illnesses recently. I am curious because Yoga Nidra, a guided meditation, makes a real difference to my day. After a 20 minute session my pain levels can drop to as low as 4/10 and decrease my fatigue levels to a similar place. The effects help me get through the busy evening period with my toddler.
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It’s not easy to carve out 20 uninterrupted minutes between work and the toddler. But when I see a gap, I snatch it up.

Want more about natural options for fighting fibromyalgia?

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A theory about Fibromyalgia, is that the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight response) may be stuck in overdrive. Meditation promotes a calming of this system, allowing the parasympathetic nervous system to activate.

The benefits of meditation are probably due to 20 minutes of:

  • Lying down
  • Using my heatpack on my neck
  • A break from noise
  • Time alone
  • Complete focus on my body, accepting it as it is
  • Not struggling to nap, which I can’t, so using the time calmly and effectively
  • The body’s response to complete relaxation, allowing the sympathetic nervous system to slow down

It is a tool for well being that I keep close, it is something that transcends simple pain/fatigue relief and gives me time to focus on myself as a whole – my san culpa (mantra/goal of practice) is, “I am well; physically, spiritually and emotionally.”

Elaine R. Ferguson, in her book on holistic healing agrees: “Practicing this [mindfulness] meditation affects your mind, brain, body and behavior in ways that promote whole-person health.” P83 Super Healing: Engaging our Mind, Body and Spirit to Create Optimal Health and Well-Being.

And it’s vital that we don’t neglect our spiritual and emotional components of self in the quest for relief from physical issues. I feel there’s a close tie between my emotions and my pain/fatigue levels – fear or sadness have an effect on my sympathetic nervous system, which affects the body physically. So I am researching both body and mind effects on Fibromyalgia.

When you join my newsletter list you will receive access to my free resources which includes a report on Meditation for Fibromyalgia and my You vs Fibromyalgia micro course which includes a section on the central nervous system!

Meditation and Me

It took me a while to appreciate meditation, years, in fact, for me to consider giving up precious reading time for it.

Suddenly, in 2014, I read a book about mindfulness meditation, found a YouTube video of a Yoga Nidra session that I particularly liked (avoiding the spiritual/religious aspects of it) and then I was away running.

I have meditations, body scans and Yoga Nidra of varying lengths that I switch between as I like. I also use the body scan technique most nights to relax into sleep. The focus on the breath is like second nature to fall into.

Funnily enough, when I am more fatigued, I need the short and sweet practices – to avoid falling asleep and feeling groggy and gross when I wake. When I have slightly more energy (and time), I opt for longer ones. My usual best length is 20 minutes.

20 minutes seems to be a good number for me, I respond well to 20 minutes of yoga or Pilates, 20 minutes of walking and 20 minutes of meditation.

For some links to get your practice started see this post:

Fibromyalgia framework central Nervous System Overload How Meditation Helps

Meditation provides true rest for body and mind and I think that is what I so desperately need in my day.

I am so into meditation that I have created a lot of resources about it:

There’s a chapter about it in my book. Please note this is an affiliate link, if you make a purchase using this link I will make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Your simplest mindfulness practice FB

24 thoughts on “Giant Meditation Post: Meditation for Chronic Illness

  1. 20 minutes once a day works perfectly for me too. 20 minutes twice a day makes a huge difference too. Its beautiful to see that you practice as well. Thank you for sharing this post and helping the movement (:

    1. Uninterrupted time is the only thing stopping a regular practice, but I do my body scan every night before sleep and in the night when I wake in pain ūüôā

  2. I love yoga nidra too. It really helps me to manage my ME/CFS fatigue and myalgia pain. I think your analysis about letting the nervous system rest with meditation is spot on, or at least I’ve definitely found that to be true.

  3. […] you have read through my blog a little, you will see I have found meditation to be immeasurably useful. Especially in my second […]

  4. […] is a mind-body component. Meditation simultaneously helps me rest (I cannot nap) and teaches my central nervous system to calm down. […]

  5. […] sleep than we think, relaxing in bed is good rest and the closest the list comes to recommending meditation is to suggest progressive relaxation (I do a body scan meditation when I […]

  6. […] is relaxing for body and mind. It can bring pain and fatigue levels down. I wrote a giant post about this here and have a chapter in my book and a module in my Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia […]

  7. […] Meditation– I can’t nap no matter how exhausted and miserable I am, so meditation has been a lifesaver. Lying down for 30 minutes with my heat pack and a guided meditation makes a huge difference for me. It’s the difference between a nice afternoon and a long, tiring, painful afternoon. […]

  8. […] been following my work for any amount of time you’ll know I’m obsessed with yoga and meditation. Yoga is a multi use tool for strength and pain management. Meditation is¬†my favourite tool for […]

  9. […] my second pregnancy using this) ¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Gentle walks and stretching ¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Meditation ‚Äď especially ones specifically for pain relief on pregnancy, there‚Äôs heaps on YouTube to search […]

  10. […] Really prioritise sleep and rest! After the children are in bed I found lying down to read (with my knees up to rest my low back) really helpful. Even if insomnia is plaguing you, resting helps. Try a meditation. […]

  11. […] Don’t stand when you can sit or sit when you can lie down! Don’t become a couch blob, but take it easy! Meditate! […]

  12. […] and meditation have been my mainstays for a long time. I’ve paid $60¬†a fortnight for physiotherapy for a […]

  13. […] order to cope on days when the kids have had me up in the night or the fatigue is just worse, meditation is a go-to. I can’t nap, so meditation is a way to get decent rest when I need […]

  14. […] and meditation have been my mainstays for a long time. I’ve also paid $60¬†a fortnight for physiotherapy for […]

  15. […] more about meditation and Fibromyalgia see my post about it here. Yoga for Chronic Pain by Kayla Kurin Book Review Living the Best Life with Fibromyalgia: A Book […]

  16. […] Meditation is part of yoga, so it may be cheating to name both, but if you really want one it’d be a hard call, but yoga would win and only because LDN helps me to sleep at night. Yoga is a multi-use tool. I adore the ability to mold it to what I need: one pertinent stretch or pose (cat and cow all the time), a few poses to hit one issue (cat and cow, forward bend and eagle for the back) or a full flowing sequence (sun salutations). It’s stretching, strengthening and calming for the central nervous system. Meditation¬†has been¬†a lifesaver since I realised I could experience deep rest to help counteract the lack of sleep. The effects¬†have been profound and I share that in my post about meditation. […]

  17. […] Meditation – I am a big fan of meditation, as anyone following my blog for any amount of time would know. I can’t nap so it’s been a lifesaver on the days I am too miserably exhausted to keep going. […]

  18. […] Meditation– I cannot nap but the fatigue¬†has been creeping higher so I am eternally grateful for guided meditation to help me achieve 30 or so minutes of deep rest to keep me going. […]

  19. […] Supplements for Fibromyalgia Pain Natural Pain Relief: Herbs for Infusion or Tea for Fibromyalgia Giant Meditation Post Yoga for Fibromyalgia with Handy […]

  20. […] Rest when you can – this is something I couldn’t ignore. There were days when I got up at 7 and needed a nap at 10. I was so lucky to work from home! Rest, rest, rest. You won’t get much when the baby comes. I wasn’t able to, but make a rule of not going out after 7 too often, that would have been so awesome. (I haven’t yet learnt to properly stand up for myself, maybe one day I’ll master this). Since I wrote this article, I have profoundly benefited from meditation, see more about meditation here.¬† […]

  21. […] a person each day to visit and hold baby while you nap or meditate. Unless you are lucky enough to have a baby that naps in their own bed for more than 20 minutes at […]

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