PRACTICING MINDFULNESS WITH IBD
For some people, taking care of their IBD is easy; they take their medicine(s), watch their diet and go on about their daily lives. For others, particularly those who are in the middle of a flare, they have to pay more attention. They note where every bathroom is, they carefully select the foods they eat and they still suffer, even when they're taking their medicines–and of course, it's worse for those who don't always remember their medicines or if they insist on smoking.
So, it is important to be MINDFUL, or, actively pay attention to your disease and its role in your life. Taking the prescribed medicine in the way they were intended, watching the diet and recognizing if and when symptoms develop, can be frustrating and annoying; but, being more proactive in working with your disease (not against it or ignoring it) will make a world of a difference in how you feel every day going forward.
Tips for being MINDFUL with your disease:
- Acknowledge your symptoms
- Sometimes, we unconsciously build resistance or fear towards feeling our symptoms. Actively acknowledging what makes you feel uncomfortable puts you in control. The symptoms aren't defining you, you are defining the symptoms.
- Change what you can
- Ask yourself, "Am I doing everything I can to manage my disease (medicine, diet, stress management, mindfulness)?" If not, consider what you might be able to change. If you are already doing what you can, make sure your doctor is aware of the problems and make sure you get the emotional support you need from your team .
- Stop resisting your disease
- Every reaction has an equal and opposite reaction, or the more you resist your disease, the more it will resist you. Remember, you "can't change" that you have IBD, but you can make peace with the extra things you have to do to help you feel better (like taking your medicines or eating a diet with less junk food).
- Focus on the positive
- There is always something to be grateful for. You have the support and wisdom of your healthcare providers, advanced medicines to help your recovery, amazing online tools for education (here at Nutrition4IBD), and even support groups of other people who are navigating their disease as well.
Remember you are supported, cared for, and cared about. If you practice being mindful, patient, and accepting of your disease, it will help you on the path to recovery.
This article, as well as all others, was reviewed and edited by a member of our Medical Advisory Board.
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