Achieving Mindfulness With Your MPN

Author: Voices of MPN

If you’re like many people, you’ve probably heard the expression “be mindful” at least a dozen times. But have you ever wondered what mindfulness actually means—or what it has to do with living with a myeloproliferative neoplasm (MPN)?

Mindful meditation has been gaining attention as an additional approach to help support a variety of health conditions—including MPNs. This practice focuses on training the mind to stay calm and engaged in the present moment and is associated with a number of positive health benefits. Not only can it help increase relaxation, but practicing mindfulness may also help you cope with:

  • Pain
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Concentration issues

MAKE EVERY MOMENT MATTER

There are a variety of approaches to practicing mindful meditation, including breathing methods, guided imagery and others. To get started, find a quiet space that is free from distractions and follow these helpful tips:

  1. Take notice: Use all of your senses—sight, sound, smell, touch and taste—to experience each moment. Slow down and really pay attention to the world around you.
  2. Be present. Take time each day to fully live in the moment and appreciate the little things that give you joy. Make every moment matter.
  3. Just breathe. Focusing on your breathing not only helps you relax, but it may also help suppress negative thoughts. Sit down, close your eyes, and take a slow, deep breath inward. Focus on nothing else but your breathing as you inhale and exhale slowly. Repeat several times.

INVOLVE YOUR MIND AND BODY

For a more structured approach to mindful meditation exercises, you can also try the following:

  • Body scan meditation—Get into a reclining position. Extend your legs and place your arms at your sides, palms facing up. Make a deliberate effort to slowly focus on each individual part of your body, mentally scanning each section one by one. Go in order, from the top of your head to the tips of your toes. Really concentrate on all of the unique sensations, feelings and thoughts connected to each body area.
  • Seated meditation—Sit comfortably in a chair or on the floor. Gently place your hands in your lap. Start breathing in and out through your nose, focusing on nothing else besides your breathing. Clear your mind and take slow, deep breaths, feeling each one as it moves in and out of your body. If you find yourself distracted, it’s okay to start over. Remember, it takes practice to clear your mind.
  • Moving meditation—Find a quiet place where you have a 10 to 20 foot stretch of clear, open space for walking, such as a long hallway or sidewalk. Begin to walk slowly, focusing on how your body feels as it moves. Be aware of the sensations involved in keeping your balance. Notice how your body feels while standing. When you have reached the end of your path, turn around and walk in the opposite direction. Try to maintain focus until your walk is complete.

SET ASIDE REGULAR "ME" TIME

To get the most out of mindful meditation, try doing it every day for 10 to 30 minutes per session. You don’t need any special equipment, and it can be practiced almost anywhere. Just set aside a few moments of "me" time each day. Remember, it may take a little trial and error, but with practice, you may be able to effectively incorporate mindfulness into your own life with an MPN.

Namaste.

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