Foggy is STILL in the Philippines (3 week long trip!), so I am going to write another blog while we wait for him to set his paws back down in the UK….he’s given his permission of course 😉
Last week I attended a M.E. awareness talk in Burgess Hill run by ReMEmber. One of the speakers, Dr Clare McDermott (University of Southampton researcher), has studied severe M.E. She is also a recovered severe M.E. sufferer. When asked by a member of the audience how she had got better she couldn’t put it down to any one thing. However, she did say that mindfulness played a large part in her recovery. A few people in the audience made negative comments (namby pamby, wishy washy etc) and asked if it was available on the NHS.
I used to run my own holistic therapy business (it closed about a week before Foggy started, so not long ago). I used to encourage my clients to do mindfulness if they needed help with stress or to cope with a busy lifestyle. It is not namby pamby or wishy washy. It is simply giving your brain and body time to slow down and recharge. It’s quality ‘me’ time for however long you choose to sit. Concentrating on breathing is exceptionally calming, all other thoughts vanish. Modern life involves trying to do as many things in as little time as possible and so our bodies are constantly on the go. Watching telly, keeping an eye on kids/pets/partners, tweeting; all at the same time – ring any bells?!
With M.E., regular rest breaks are always advised to give your body time to slow down and recharge. Mindfulness is similar to Pacing in that it is time away from the world to just ‘be’. It is used in yoga but it doesn’t have to be yoga-based. Personally, I first got into mindfulness through regular one to one Yoga sessions; unfortunately, these were not cheap and so I had to stop after around 6 sessions.
My Yoga teacher recommended that I download some meditations from the internet onto my laptop and phone so I could just plug in headphones and relax whenever needed. So, that’s what I did for around 6 months. Unfortunately, I got out of the habit.
I am currently going through a period of intense stress (not Foggy related) and have been struggling both with stress levels and a M.E. flare up (funny that they both struck at the same time! NOT). So, thanks to Dr McDermott talking about it, I have returned to mindfulness; I have felt my stress levels reduce dramatically and my M.E. has calmed down again. So, it clearly works for me. I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone, ME sufferer or not. There are websites offering free meditation…I have added the link to the one I use below. The 12 minute meditation is great; I challenge anyone to do it and not completely zone out!
http://marc.ucla.edu/body.cfm?id=22 – Check out this link