Life with myeloma (as a patient or caregiver) can leave your mind racing. You are bombarded with worries about the many unknowns of the future, or may ruminate about the past. All of these thoughts can leave your mind clouded, anxious and missing out on what the present moment has to offer.
Kristina Cubrilo Santos, Dipl.L.Ac., LMT recently spoke at ASH 2020 on mindfulness - how to initiate a mindfulness practice and the resulting benefits.
"Mindfulness is a type of meditation in which you focus on being intensely aware of what you're sensing and feeling in the moment, without interpretation or judgment. Practicing mindfulness involves breathing methods, guided imagery, and other practices to relax the body and mind and help reduce stress.”
So many of our daily activities are completed on autopilot without thought or awareness. Slowing down, focusing on what is in front of us and being present for the task or person at hand can result in more enjoyment in our activities and more connection in our relationships.
Practicing mindfulness allows us to have a deeper connection with our internal state of being. It helps us move out of auto mode and into the present. Our internal state truly effects our outward environment including our interaction with people, our relationships and our stress levels. Mindfulness increases serotonin and dopamine- the healthy substances in our brain. This in turn reduces stress and feelings of anxiety, increases empathy and improved quality of life. A practice of mindfulness also strengthens areas of the brain associated with self-awareness and compassion resulting in improved concentration and reduced mind wandering.
Dr. Santos recommends practicing mindfulness consistently each day for two weeks and observe the changes that occur personally and in your interactions with others. I am committing to a two week practice, and hope you will too! I would love to hear about your experience and results. Email them to me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
While a practice of mindfulness can’t completely remove the questions, worries or fears we experience with myeloma it can allow us to face them with a clear mind in the present moment. This clarity can strengthen your ability to make decisions and utilize support and resources.
The HealthTree Foundation also offers a variety of resources to everyone in the myeloma community including:
If myeloma has left your mind racing, and you would like personalized one on one support, consider working with a Myeloma Coach. Coaches are myeloma patients or caregivers willing to share what they’ve learned to help others.
about the author
Rozalynn Hite is the Myeloma Coach Director and wife of myeloma patient Richard Hite. Rozalynn is an occupational therapist and mother of three beautiful children.