Trying Meditation as a Form of Self-care – Charcot-Marie-Tooth News

Posted: October 6, 2019 at 7:45 am


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A high school Spanish teacherintroduced me to the practice of meditation. A few times a semester, he would begin or end his class with it.

During these sessions, he would suggest that my classmates and I sit in a relaxed position, head on our desks or back straight, with our eyes closed. And then hed pace the room, guiding us through imagery that would lull us into a meditative state.

Although Im convinced he was a deep believer in the benefits of mediation, I think he was just as interested in its fringe benefit: calming rowdy students.

This experience came to mind a few weeks ago when I had breakfast with Dr. Raghav Govindarajanbefore the CMTA Patient/Family Conference started. We were talking about the anxiety, stress, and muscle pain that are symptoms of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT). He brought up meditation a topic that he went into further during his conference presentation.

Ive been trying to incorporate intentional meditation practices into my life ever since.

Mounting evidence underscores the benefits of meditation. Some studies show it can reduce blood pressure, stress, pain, and inflammation symptoms of particular interest to many CMT-ers.

Ive never been a skeptic of what I understand to be a form of mindfulness meditation. I may not have known about all of its benefits, but I always felt that going into a meditative state was a nice way to relax. I just never called it meditating when I was younger.

I used it in high school marching band practice during extended periods of parade rest, a position we defaulted to while our band director gave attention to other sections. I would stand with my left hand at the small of my back, right hand holding my trumpet, and my feet shoulder-width apart.

I would close my eyes and focus on my breathing. Time would seem to slow. Id feel my muscles tense and relax as they worked to keep me upright and straight against the wind.

When my band director would call us to attention, Id open my eyes and feel them dilate to take in a world I had almost forgotten.

Ive also found meditation to be a nice escape during dental appointments.

Despite my appreciation for mindfulness meditation, I never incorporated it into my life with any regularity. However, Dr. Govindarajan suggested at the conference that its important to be proactive with self-care.

Ive tried to meditate a bit more during the past two weeks and have developed a few practices:

I havent noticed any big changes in my life, but I do have some small observations.

Ive found its a nice way to check up on your body both physically and mentally. Practicing mindfulness meditation reminded me of a conversation I had with my therapist friend. She told me that being mindful of our emotions can help us better manage them before they get out of control.

Meditating more frequently also reminds me of how antithetical it is to the idea of emptying your mind a thought I find off-putting. Mindfulness meditation as I understand it is allowing yourself to focus on the present instead of worrying about deadlines, schedules, or regrets.

When I focus on the sensations I feel within my body while it is in a relaxed state, its easy to keep track of how my body is that day. Some days, I would notice things I might not have without that moment to myself. Oh, Im slightly constipated, I would realize some days. Other days it would be, Wow, my feet are throbbing after that workout.

I cant say I have experienced anything life-changing during my short experiments with meditation, but Im interested to see where this practice takes me. If nothing else, I think meditation helps me sleep better.

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Trying Meditation as a Form of Self-care - Charcot-Marie-Tooth News

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October 6th, 2019 at 7:45 am

Posted in Meditation