Fibromyalgia and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction

Editor’s Note:  A 2015 study concluded that Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) ameliorated some of the major symptoms of fibromyalgia and reduced subjective illness burden. Barbara Keddy’s recent article urges including MBSR in your toolkit of symptom relievers.
Reprinted with the kind permission of Barbara Keddy

“You can’t stop the waves,
but you can learn to surf.”
Jon Kabat-Zinn

Several years ago I was privileged to take the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction course, not once, but twice from a wonderful therapist. To practice what I learned requires discipline and daily  / moment to moment awareness. Unfortunately, after several crises, real and/or imagined, I recently let what I had learned fall by the way-side, but sensibly have begun to incorporate the strategies into my life once again. It is like pulling on an old comfortable sweater when I stop myself from allowing my rambling thoughts to have power over my daily living.
Today I read the article by Alan Green in Mindful magazine. It is in the August 2017 edition. I was brought back to the days of practicing the basic tenets of MBSR. I urge the readers to read this article.

Green’s experiences of those eight weeks exemplifies my own. Dealing with anxieties, pain, fatigue and a myriad of other daily challenges cannot be solved by medications and health care professionals alone. The responsibility rests with us. It is about learning to live our lives in a mindful way with self-awareness and self-compassion rather than catastrophic, anxiety and panic ridden struggles that plague us throughout the day.
Once again I present my mantra: mindfulness meditation, movement, light exercise (yoga, or Chi Gong- among others), talk therapy, sensible food choices, and avoiding addictive mood altering drugs are among the many suggestions we can incorporate in our lives. MBSR programs help us with exploring and living with the emotions that are fraught with difficulties. The practice is our main guide for carrying around with us a strategy for living with fibromyalgia.

About the AuthorBarbara Keddy, BSc.N., M.A., Ph.D., Professor Emerita, School of Nursing, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, has lived with fibromyalgia for more than 40 years. Barbara has been interested in social justice issues throughout her professional career, with particular focus on women’s health, resulting in her book Women and Fibromyalgia:  Living with an Invisible Dis-ease

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