The world can be overwhelming thanks to the deadly coronavirus pandemic, especially for someone dealing with muscular dystrophy. On top of the daily struggles — lack of mobility, physical exhaustion, and steroid-related side effects — there’s also the worry of getting sick and feeling the virus’s financial toll.
To help overcome the anxiety, take time to be still, focus on breathing, and block out surrounding noise. It’s an opportunity to understand your body’s needs, to mentally reset and prepare for the day ahead.
Even before the pandemic, I constantly rushed to get ahead in the proverbial rat race. I rarely took a break — a real break. When I think of a break, I think of video games. Others might consider going to lunch with a friend or watching Netflix. However, many of these “mental breaks” involve engagement, so they’re not the best rest. For example, video games can demand intense focus and emotional energy.
Western society has conditioned you to do something, anything, at all times. Being busy means being successful. Society frowns upon stillness because it’s incompatible with the mindset that differences are made only by constantly moving toward goals. Telling a friend you worked 60 hours the past week can feel good. But if you are working just for the sake of working but getting nowhere, then what’s the point anyways?
Constantly thinking about the next step is overwhelming. Start swimming against that mindset before you drown in it. By training yourself to take a moment to clear your mind and think about only the present moment, you’ll lighten the burdens of your to-do list and loosen the binds of what society says you ought to be doing. It’s freeing. Limiting anxiety-inducing factors can help you cope with the awfulness in today’s world while countering the notion that inactivity equals failure. Being still puts life in perspective and helps you to figure out your priorities.
With muscular dystrophy, it’s important to listen to your body, and stillness helps with that. My dad constantly encourages me to “feel the stretch” when we do physical therapy. I understand that when my muscles feel tired, I need to stop what I’m doing and rest. Being still forces you to focus inward and understand how you are really feeling. Developing an understanding of your body’s limits is crucial in battling muscular dystrophy.
Starting off with a blank slate by being still in the morning boosts your potential by preparing you for a day full of productivity. You allow your mind a break from constantly thinking, debating internally, and replaying myriad what-ifs.
Maybe you’re thinking, “This sounds great, but how do I actually practice stillness?” It’s something you need to train yourself to do. I’m far from perfect at being still, but my suggestion is to start in small chunks — even 30 seconds if you have to — and do absolutely nothing. Don’t even try to clear your mind, because then you’ll be thinking too hard. Just be.
Whether through meditation, prayer, or sitting in silence, we all have our own ways of being still. I encourage you to take a few minutes out of every day to allow the world to pass you by, and be OK with it.
Note: Muscular Dystrophy News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Muscular Dystrophy News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to muscular dystrophy.
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