Experiencing a mindful recovery from a COPD exacerbation could be one of the hardest things you will force your mind to do. However, practising mindfulness will give you total control over your thoughts and gives you the power to decide how you will react to those thoughts. It is not a new way of thinking but is new to most of us. Using mindfulness alleviates anxiety by giving you control over the moment. Finally, using mindfulness as a tool to recovery from a COPD exacerbation could save your breath and possibly your life. Meditation is the sister of Mindfulness and they go arm in arm. Meditation will help you in the practice of mindfulness. https://catchyourbreath60.com/meditation-and-pursed-lips/
What is Mindfulness Recovery?
What the heck do they mean when they say “stay mindful?“
Mindfulness is, putting it simply, staying in the moment and accepting the moment as it is, without making judgement or trying to change it.
Being in the moment means paying attention to what is happening, accepting what is happening, not trying to change what is happening or judging what will happen next. Just being aware and present.
This Is Mindfulness
As I walk up to the reception desk I am gasping for air, and the receptionist tries to engage me in conversation. It is mindless chit-chat anyway so instead of wasting my breath answering her, I find an object to focus on, it’s a flower on her desk.
Letting that flower hold my attention, I begin using pursed lip breathing and pushing my shoulders back to allow these big breaths. I take the air in through my nose and as I am holding that breath I am imagining my lungs expanding and growing bigger to accept more air. Then, I imagine my lungs expelling poisonous carbon dioxide as I push the breath out through pursed lips.
Having been in this same place many times before, mindfulness tells me to accept it, without wasting the energy to change it and control this moment instead of letting anxiety take over. I have had many successful episodes like this one and I am still here fighting.
Breathing for Mindful Recovery
The focus of mindfulness is in control of breathing, something that we all need to do, especially those with compromised lungs.
Here is a video for you to view of the kids who know how to do it and will show you how to do it too, https://youtu.be/RVA2N6tX2cg
Once you learn to control your breathing, you can slow the stress response of fight/flight/freeze. Practicing when you have no stress allows mindfulness to be an automatic response easing stress and keeping us focused on the moment bringing clarify to the situation.
Shortness of breath or coughing episodes or a true exacerbation can trigger painful memories of what happened in the past, inviting anxiety and making it worse than necessary. When you learn to breathe through these episodes you will begin to control the situation. By accepting that you have been through this situation before and survived it builds our resistance, takes away all the scary, and staves off anxiety.
This gives you the control to guide your thoughts and the next time you are in the same situation, you will remember this as a controlled experience and you will clearly know how to stay calm and mindful.
Does This Happen To You?
How many times have you eaten something so fast that you hardly tasted it and where surprised when it was gone? Driven to a destination without remembering how you got there? Walked the dog and have no memory of what you saw or hear or felt while doing it? Lost your keys? Not sure if you took your meds? It means you are not being mindful.
Studies show we spend almost a full half of our time being distracted by not concentrating on what we are doing. We are missing some of life’s greatest moments by not being present while these moments are happening.
It is a waste of our resources to be worried about a past that cannot be changed, or a future that has not yet happened. The now that presents itself and the joy of this moment is constantly being ignored. Instead we allow our minds to ping back and forth with no real destination, like an unmanned boat, we are adrift in the sea.
An exercise to practice with pursed lip breathing for when anxiety sets in.
Join me next week for part II as I look at some Mindfulness exercises to practice everyday.