Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Bite-Sized Mindfulness Practice for Coping with Extremely Tough Times & Pain

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For the past few weeks I've been dealing with even more frequent migraines than usual, which is really saying something considering that I have an average of four to five days of migraine a week. They're mostly been tolerable enough that I haven't had to even consider seeking emergency treatment, which is truly a blessing. Nevertheless I've been finding it incredibly difficult to cope and draw upon the things that help.

When I saw my therapist recently for our regularly scheduled appointment (now that I'm back to those solid weekly sessions like a good girl), I was absolutely miserable and honestly not sure what I'd even been able to get out of the meeting. To my surprise the session was not only incredibly helpful in that moment, but we also came up with some ideas that were easy for me to wrap my mind around despite the unrelenting migraines to incorporate the coping skills that help, but can be hard to access in the worst times.

She suggested we do some joint brainstorming to come up with a few bite-sized ideas I might be able to draw upon even when I can barely think straight. That mainly consisted of her suggesting mindfulness practices that are frequently helpful for chronic pain patients and us discussing whether I'd tried them, how well they worked for me if I had and whether I thought they might work for me during this rough patch.

This is the list we came up with.

(1) A practice involving radiating or sending light to various parts of my body. Basically you pick a color for the light and focus on all the different parts of your body one at a time rather than just the area where you're experiencing pain and send light that colorful light there. I was surprised by how cool and helpful it was.

(2) Focusing on my breath, also referred to as mindful breathing.

(3) Listening to body scan relaxation recordings.

(4) Observing my thoughts about my pain to try to spot times when I'm allowing myself to have a negative relationship with the pain by giving it power over me and letting it cause me suffering. This one is hard. Really hard.

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DISCLAIMER: Nothing on this site constitutes medical or legal advice. I am a patient who is engaged and educated and enjoys sharing my experiences and news about migraines, pain and depression. Please consult your own health care providers for advice on your unique situation.