Chronic Pain & Illness - How Mindfulness Might Help

Written by Tina Stallard

The Breathworks Mindfulness for Health course helps people living with long-term pain or illness to improve and even transform their quality of life. During the eight-week course you learn how to pay more attention to the present moment, rather than living in the past or the future. Mindfulness helps us to open to our experience with compassion and care – an approach which can have many benefits: improved physical and mental health, increased resilience, better concentration, more fulfilling relationships and greater enjoyment of life.

Mindfulness been shown to be effective for people with a wide range of conditions, including chronic back pain, arthritis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, multiple sclerosis and cancer. Long-term illness and pain can often lead to sleeping difficulties, anxiety or depression. Clinical trials show mindfulness practice can be as effective as prescription painkillers and it also boosts the body’s natural soothing and healing systems. Neuroscience demonstrates that it can cause physical changes in the brain’s structure, allowing us to feel less anxious and more contented.  Its benefits are now widely accepted in modern psychology and health care.

Over the eight weeks, the course teaches simple breathing techniques, gentle movement and guided meditation to help deal with chronic pain, stress, illness and other difficulties.  I’ve been teaching this course for many years, and I have been privileged to witness how powerful these simple practices can be. I see people arrive on the course, some who have exhausted all other avenues, often feeling desperate, frightened and powerless. I see how during the course, people begin to open to their pain and difficulty, rather than using energy to fight them, how the simple act of committing to regular practice gives a chance to develop new responses, how the gentle movements encourage us to relate to our bodies in a different way. And gradually, in subtle and deep ways, the bleak landscape of pain and suffering shifts, and rays of light start to shine through the cloud.  At the end, people tell me the experience was “life-changing” and “empowering”.  One person said it gave her a “more joyful quality of life, …regardless of how much pain I am in”.

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Tina will be leading a Breathworks Mindfulness for Health workshop starting Monday, 18. November. The course is based on a meditation programme developed by Vidyamala Burch, the founder of Breathworks, to help her cope with the severe pain of two spinal injuries. Her book, Mindfulness for Health, won an award from the British Medical Association and is recommended by doctors around the world.

You can read more about the course and book here: https://www.londonmindful.com/8-week-breathworks-mindfulness-for-health-course.html

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