For those of us battling with Fibromyalgia, we know that stress can certainly make our symptoms worse and in many cases manifest into a flare. Therefore, as part of our self help programme, it is vital that we include lots of down time to chill out and alleviate stress. How we do that can vary greatly depending on the severity of the Fibro symptoms and condition of the sufferer.
For me personally, my de-stress default it definitely my yoga and meditation, I love to read and write, go for a walk with my dog and just be quiet. Anything that allows us to just switch off for a while is always beneficial. This is where mindfulness comes in, it is such a great practice for just being; focusing on now and not worrying about what just went and what is about to come. To just be, is a liberating place and is the only moment we should be concentrating on.
Mindfulness can take many forms and as I say, I have my defaults but I have recently discovered a practice that I defy anybody with Fibromyalgia to say that they can’t participate in. This great form of de-stressing, relaxing, mindfulness is something that we will all have participated in at some point in our lives although we would have most likely known it as something different….
“Cutting out, sticking, gluing colouring in, drawing, painting – sounds like an plan for an activity morning at a children’s crèche. But the reality is very different and rather than these pastimes being just for little ones, adults are now adopting these activities in order to relax and practice mindfulness.
I recently attended a six week creative wellbeing programme which by focusing on different topics each week allowed me the opportunity of relaxing through creative arts. During the hourly sessions, we focused on what made us happy by a variety of different creative mediums. We created a floor collage as a group, created a ‘Goddess’ in pairs and each put together our own creative journal in which we expressed ourselves through pictures, photographs, words and other imagery. The time was spent totally absorbed in drawing, colouring, sticking and creating – the hour flew by and at the end of each session, I felt calm, relaxed and totally de-stressed.
As a mindfulness technique, this worked well. It allowed me to be engrossed in an activity which took concentration and imagination but not in a taxing way. There was no time for worry or anxiety and certainly whilst sitting cutting out images from a magazine to stick into my journal, there was no discomfort or pain. For the time that I spent adding to my journal, creating my own Oracle card or heart/mind mapping I was relishing in just being.
Whatever creative medium you opt for, the process of concentrating on a straightforward task which allows complete freedom, the body and mind soon starts to slow down and relax. Adult colouring books are another of my favourite ways to have some precious “me” time. I have also discovered that nature is calling me through the eye of a camera lens.
Whilst picking up a pencil or paintbrush isn’t going to cure all of our symptoms, it will most definitely contribute to alleviating some stress which is so detrimental to those with Fibromyalgia. For those who find themselves incapacitated by this condition, creating a personal creative journal could very well provide a pastime conducive to a little healing and mostly likely therapeutic too.
The benefits of using the imagination in health and healing practices are documented in an article by Kathryn C. Shafer Ph.D http://healing.about.com/od/visualization/a/imagery_shafer.htm
For more details on the Wellbeing Programme: The Art of Happiness visit http://thecreativeyou.co.uk