Mindfulness is a state of awareness that allows one to focus their attention to the present moment without distraction or judgement. Using mindfulness allows you to observe what is happening internally and externally. This includes your surroundings as well as your internal thoughts, feelings, and sensations such as touch, taste, smell, sight, and sound. Mindfulness is not about trying to stop these thoughts or control these experiences, but rather, it allows you to observe or acknowledge what is happening without being distracted.
Mindfulness is a useful technique for coping with emotional stress and difficult situations. Without mindfulness, it is easier to react negatively to stressful thoughts or feelings or dwell excessively on issues from the past, present or future. Practising mindfulness may allow you to anchor yourself in the present moment and acknowledge your thoughts and feelings without judging or chasing them. This can be beneficial in reducing any stress or anxiety.
In the early stages of a migraine, the pain is usually severe and focused to one side of the head. The head may throb, and the person may feel increased sensitivity to light and sound causing nausea and vomiting. Lasting anywhere between a few hours and a few days, a migraine can be quite debilitating affecting the everyday activities of the person affected.
Once you are comfortable with this exercise, you may want to incorporate abdominal breathing. Breathe in gently through your nose, paying attention to your ribcage expanding as you breathe in. Then slowly breathe out. Your upper chest should remain still. This allows your diaphragm to function more effectively rather than breathing shallowly with the chest.
Regularly check in with yourself by asking yourself how you are feeling. Label any thoughts or feelings you have. For example, ‘I feel anxious’ or ‘I feel happy’. Once you have acknowledged and labelled these thoughts and feelings, you can let them go without judgement, and return your focus to your breathing.
When you consume food or drink, pay attention to how it looks, smells, and tastes, and notice the texture of the food or drink. Eliminate distractions such as television or phones. This intuitive exercise may allow you to enjoy food more and help you to stop eating when you are full rather than over-eating.
For more information, speak with your GP especially if you have any concerns or questions on whether mindfulness is suitable for you. There are apps such as Headspace that you can listen to for guided mindfulness sessions, and videos in the links below.