9 Ways Mindfulness Can Help You Cope with Chronic Illness

According to the official definition, an illness is considered "chronic" if it lasts three or more months. Some of the more common chronic illnesses include:

  • Cancer
  • Arthritis
  • Diabetes
  • Stroke
  • Obesity

Chronic illnesses (in general) are:

  • More frequent as we age
  • Not preventable via vaccine
  • Not cured by medication or surgery

How then do we make peace with this challenging reality? Mindfulness is a proven method to help us cope with chronic illness.

Mindfulness Helps Us Be Present

There are many definitions for mindfulness. Here's a useful and simple way to see it: "I'm paying close attention to the moment of experience." When dealing with chronic illness, you can become obsessed with plans. You may also find yourself dreading a future event. Mindfulness brings you back to the present. You observe what's going on now. This means both inside and outside of you. The waves are still there but you are more calmly riding the. Being in the moment gives you a deeper sense of balance.

9 Ways Mindfulness Can Help You Cope with Chronic Illness

 

1. You are practicing self-love and self-care

To tackle a chronic illness, you must be at the best you can be. Being mindful keeps you aware of how you feel and what you think. No longer do you only focus on the problem. Now, you can recognize solutions.

2. You are not letting your illness define you

When illness is your constant companion, you can lose sight of your gifts. You are not your illness. Stay present and reclaim your unique character.

3. You are embracing acceptance of your humanness

Here's the lesson for all of us, chronic illness or not: We are human. Our bodies are amazing. And our bodies sometimes get sick. They age. They suffer injury. This is the human condition. A chronic illness is a stark reminder, but also a wake-up call. There is so much we cannot control. Surrender to that awareness and focus solely on your capabilities.

4. You will be more aware and receptive of healing options

There are options you might miss because your mind is scattered and unfocused. In the moment, you will find answers. Mindfulness can guide you to healing options you previously could not see.

5. You can better help those around you

When you bring your attention to the present, you will see so much more. You will certainly see those in need. Helping the people around you is a powerful source of healing and solace. 

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6. You will surround yourself with love, support, and inspiration

When the moment is where you live, you will decorate that space with love. Mindfulness can guide you to the support team you need.

7. You are able to let go of the life you had planned

What if? You can ask the question over and over but your life has taken a new turn. Be present with the shift and find ways to thrive. 

8. You live a life of gratitude instead of expectations

You are where you are...right now. Trade your expectations for gratitude.

9. You silence the inner critic and instead choose compassion

It's been said that compassion is a verb. It is an action. You choose this action when you shut down your negative inner voice. To ease your suffering, you cannot be passive. To ease the suffering of others, you must be active. The fuel for all this positive energy is called compassion.

Mindfulness is a never-ending journey. In the beginning, you may need to find a guide. Working one-on-one with a therapist is an excellent first step. Contact our intake team at the Center for Mindful Psychotherapy: call us at (415) 766-0276; or email us at intakes@mindfulcenter.org.