Manage Your Mind
My mind can wander all over the place. I’ll be talking to a friend about my transplant and thinking about a doctor’s comment at the same time. Then I will come back into the conversation with my friend, and still have a nagging worry about cancer, or feel a heaviness hit in the pit in my stomach. It’s tough to manage our mind when we don't feel good. When we have illness from hepatitis C, we can work at it.
Here are some tips to help you manage your mind
Sit in a quiet place
Choose a place in your house that no one will disturb you. My family knows that I have a couple of places where I sit in silence. It’s a Leave Me Alone Zone. If you have a lot of people around, turn a chair to face the window.
Close your eyesYou will want to open your eyes to see what’s going on. Resist the urge and just keep your eyes closed. Look into the darkness behind your eyes and try to relax your gaze there.Notice your thoughtsAt first your thoughts will be busy. Listen to them like you would pay attention to anyone else. “Hmmm….. I’m thinking about this,” or “Wow! Those thoughts keep coming back over and over”. It’s kind of fun to listen to your inner self-talk.Relax your bellyStart noticing how your belly expands on your inbreath. Then your ribs stretch out. Soon your shoulders rise. Focus on this belly breathing for a bit and relax.Straighten your spineAs your belly softens, lift up through the crown of your head. Keeping your chin level with the floor, continue the soft belly breathing.Tuck your shoulder blades togetherRelease them down toward your lower back. As you exhale, see if your shoulders can fall down, back, and away from your ears.Just breatheOnce you have the breathing routine in place, begin to take longer and deeper breaths. You might count slowly 1-8 on the inhale and 1-10 on the exhale. This way you won’t hyperventilate!Notice your thoughts againYou’ll think of things to do. Conversations will play in your head. It’s funny how our mind will tease and play around a certain story or topic.Start overYou may have lost focus on your breath already. If your eyes opened, close them. Come back to your soft belly, straight spine, shoulders back breathing.SmileWith your eyes closed, you can feel joy that you are now being mindful of this very moment. You are managing your thoughts.Once you learn to manage your mind, it’s addictive. Your body will feel less stressed. Your worry about ascites, cat scans, and lab tests will fade. You can start off with 5 minutes a day. You may end up loving it so much that you go for longer periods. I always suggest 5 minutes for the first few weeks. You will begin to make a habit of being mindful soon!
Do you try to follow a liver-friendly diet?