The Art of Happiness
April 13, 2017 | Posted in: Fibromyalgia
For those of us battling with Fibromyalgia and other chronic illness, we know stress can certainly make our symptoms worse and in many cases manifest into flare-ups. Therefore, as part of our self-help program, it is vital we include ample down time to relax and alleviate stress. How we do that can vary greatly depending on the severity of the Fibro symptoms and condition of the sufferer.
Personally, my de-stress default is 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 switch off for a while is always beneficial. This is where mindfulness comes in. It is such a helpful practice for just being; focusing on now and not worrying about what just went or 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 said, I have my defaults. However, I have recently discovered a practice that I challenge anyone with Fibromyalgia to say that they can’t participate in. This great form of de-stressing and relaxing. Mindfulness is something we have all participated in at some point in our lives although we would have most likely known it as something different….
“Cutting out, sticking, gluing, coloring in, drawing, painting – sounds like a 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 program, 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, coloring, 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 begin to slow down and relax. Adult coloring books are another of my favorite 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
Tracey is a Fibro Fighter since 1989, a qualified Health & Wellness coach, freelance writer, and wellness blogger. She uses her experience and knowledge, reaching out to support & empower fellow sufferers through her blog at www.fibrofantastic.com she is also a regular contributor at https://kale.life/
She is proof that there is hope after diagnosis, that you can function like a normal human being, hold down a job, look after a family and have a decent quality of life. Her motto is “to thrive, not just survive”.