Pelvic Pain Q&A Series
In this pelvic pain Q&A series I discuss mindfulness and meditation with Jiva Masheder. Jiva has been teaching Mindfulness for over 10 years. She holds an MSc from Bangor University in Mindfulness and she has taught her 8 week MBSR course over 100 times. I know from personal experience how profound the 8 week MBSR course is and how good a teacher Jiva is too. I often refer patients to take up the distance learning MBSR or visit her in Brighton for group classes . In addition Jiva also teaches the MBSR at The Mindfulness Project, London
I encourage many of my patients to take up a mindfulness practice to manage and reduce their pelvic pain symptoms. What are some of the benefits to mindfulness and why should pelvic pain sufferers consider it as part of their recovery strategy?
Mindfulness practices are great for learning to live with unwanted circumstances, whatever they are, and not cause ourselves extra stress and difficulty by ruminating and worrying. These kinds of thoughts just tend to make us more tense which as well as being an unpleasant space to be in, also makes physical pain worse in many cases. So mindfulness training helps us to relax long-term by not making ourselves tense with worry thoughts, and also gives us tools to live with difficulties of all kinds, both physical and emotional.
Is mindfulness simply about being blissed out and clearing the mind of all thoughts?
Neither! sometimes the practice is pleasant and relaxing and other times it is not – both are useful. It is also neither possible nor necessary to ‘clear the mind’ at will like that – I wish that phrase was not around! We learn to not be dominated and pulled around by thinking, but even when there are clear moments in the mind, thinking will always return. Far more useful to learn to have a better relationship with it – seeing that they’re just thoughts, not facts – than to attempt to clear the mind which while pleasant, is less useful.
A common barrier to a regular meditation and mindfulness practice is how busy our lives have become. Many patients struggle with the value of sitting for 20 minutes when there are so many other things that need to be done. How do we overcome this?
Indeed a common barrier – I hear this all the time. However often if we look really carefully at our lives, it’s a priority call – how long are we spending reading various websites, watching TV, or just generally faffing? usually when we look more carefully we can see that we can make time – we won’t find it, we need to make it, and make meditation a priority. This is easier when we’ve seen the benefits and come to want to do it. In the initial stage, before the benefits start to appear, it is usually helpful to either go to a class or to make a fixed time in the day – not necessarily the same time every day, but a time each day – to do the practice. If we wait til we feel like it, particularly when we’re new, it tends not to happen, so a bit of structure like this gives us the best chance of doing enough to actually get some benefit.
What 3 tips would you give to a patient considering a mindfulness practice to manage and reduce their pelvic pain symptoms?
1 – try to come at it with an open mind, letting go of expectations of how it’s going to be, particularly if they involve blissing out and clearing your mind
2 – be patient and persistent – this takes a while to help
3 – keep a diary of practice and levels of pain to see if it’s helping. Give it at least 2-3 months – brains don’t change overnight.
Thank you once more Jiva for being involved in this Pelvic Pain Q&A series. Mindfulness can form part of a successful recovery plan from Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome/Chronic Prostatitis
Here is a video Jiva has out together to answer common questions on mindfulness
For a range of mindfulness meditations follow this link. You will find a comprehensive collection ranging from 20 minute sitting meditations to 40 minute movement based meditations
Here is a link to the Facebook page for Mindfulness Brighton
PELVIC PAIN Q&A SERIES:
Sandy Hilton, Dr of Physiotherapy. Pelvic health expert
Nick Woods, clinical psychologist and sufferer of pelvic pain
Robert Wells, author of ‘Back, Sack and Crack (and Brain)’ and sufferer of pelvic pain
Jiva Masheder, mindfulness instructor
Tim Parks, author of “Teach us to sit still’ and pelvic pain sufferer
Meg Burgess, specialist nurse at Prostate Cancer UK
Bert Messelink, vice chairman of the European association of urology
Carl Giardinazzo, former director of the Pelvic Pain Foundation Australia and pelvic pain sufferer