Mindfulness is now regarded as a fairly ubiquitous medical term, but its power has become undeniable as it is applied to a growing list of conditions and mental states. One such area where mindfulness has made a difference: chronic illness, which itself has become a broad categorical label in medicine. Mindful thinking has been linked to improvements across a variety of stubborn conditions — some of which are largely detrimental to one’s quality of life.

Still, mindfulness, in this regard, can be difficult to understand — after all, how can one reverse a longstanding ailment by changing their way of thinking? This confusion, while justified, can be mended by simply taking a closer look at how medical mindfulness is applied to several aspects of chronic illness.

Addressing surface level stressors

Unfortunately, most chronic illnesses do not always stop at physical hardship alone; they can also create a variety of mental stressors stemming from physical symptoms and their incompatibility with certain life events. For example, a sufferer of an autoimmune disease may experience anxiety when planning to attend a social outing, fearing a potential flare up that could ruin their participation in the event.

Mindfulness can make these situations more manageable from a mental standpoint, as it is rooted in present thought, a powerful concept that keeps practicers attached to the foreground. This, in turn, makes it easier to forgo the dread sometimes associated with future plans. While this remedy may not eliminate the condition at its source, it can make it much easier to handle, which itself is a step towards a stronger quality of life.

Redefining wellbeing

Depending on your current physical and mental state, can be easy to embed yourself in a specific definition of “wellbeing.” This definition subsequently defines what we feel we must do to maintain our interpretation of wellbeing — whether that is engaging in regular exercise, talking to a specialist, or focusing on eating better.
If your unique take on wellbeing is not yielding their intended results, however, it may be time to return to the drawing board in terms of what is effective and/or realistic. Mindfulness can make this process much easier, as it forces us to “rewire” ourselves, deepening ourselves as human beings and making us increasingly self-aware from the inside out. This practice, according to breakthroughs in brain imaging, can alter the structure of the brain, ultimately leading to natural neurological changes en route to better living.