Learn more about gaining self compassion with your vestibular condition and how to adapt mindfulness practices to best suite your needs. Fellow Vestibular Group Fit member Melina is a certified mindfulness instructor and shares her expertise on self compassion and mindfulness but with a chronic illness and vestibular focus.
Melina is a certified mindfulness educator who offers classes in her community and as a professor at the University of Rochester. She is also a member of Vestibular Group Fit. Her research and teaching interests include music and the body, the history of somatic practice, and embodied pedagogy. Because she lives with recurrent BPPV and vestibular migraine, much of her meditation teaching focuses on mindfulness for chronic illness and pain.
What is Self Compassion
Self compassion can feel like this ellusive thing everyone talks about but doesn’t really understand. Melina offers a great definition. Self compassion is about acknowledging struggles, offering ourselves comfort, and extending kindness to ourselves and others facing a similar experience. You are not alone, others have felt exactly what you are feeling now, and that shared human experience unites us to humanity.
Basically, self compassion is treating ourselves the way we would a close friend who is struggling. We want to extend ourselves the same acceptance we have for our close friends or family. We embrace them for who they are, imperfections and challenges and all. Self compassion is doing the same for yourself.
Self compassion has positive benefits, including calming our nervous system, and can be an important tool in healing and growth. Self compassion can enhance other mindset work you’re already doing for continued growth and impact. Using self compassion with a vestibular condition can assist in weathering flares or daily challenges while becoming resilient for future challenges.
How to adapt mindfulness practices for you
1.Have a gentle approach. Don’t force changes in thought. Allow yourself to be present in your discomfort. Respond with kindness and allow your body to focus on other thoughts, feelings and sensations as one retreats and another announces its presence.
2. There is no set guidelines you must follow. Pick and choose what you like. There are different anchors available to work on being in the present. A popular anchor is focusing on your breathing. Try the “choose your own anchor” practice. For this practice, be aware of your vestibular symptoms, and in addition to ours symptoms, focus on something pleasant or neutral. This acknowledges your challenges while finding moments of peace and balance within.
Not sure about positive or neutral areas to focus on? Visit the post on mindfulness and critical thinking that dives into this more here.
3. Create a mindful and safe space. This can be in any position you find comfortable, finding anchors that best fit to your style and needs, picking and choosing different practice aspects that you enjoy.
Melina also recorded three tracks to work on self compassion, mindfulness, and with a vestibular focus. These are available to vestibular group fit members, if you’re interested in becoming a member click here.
Other helpful tips for Self compassion with a Vestibular condition
1.Treat yourself like you’d treat your best friend. Having symptoms is not your fault, don’t beat yourself up. Treat yourself how you would a friend going through the same struggle.
2. Finding kindness for yourself. This can be stating a phrase like “May I be kind to myself at this moment?” or “it’s okay, I’m here for you”. Consider imagining a pet or person and what you’d say to comfort them. Imagining them may also generate a feeling of kindness or warmth.
3. Remember that you are not alone. Part of the shared human experience is suffering. Say to yourself “I am not alone”. This shared experience connects us to so many others, people we know and strangers. All of this is part of being human.
If you’re interested in learning more, Melina recommends David Treleaven’s work “Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness”. Learn more about his work here.
Want to learn more about mindfulness, listen to recorded tracks to guide you through self compassion, other vestibular tools from the experts and be a part of a supportive community to get back to your daily life? Find out more at this link: https://thevertigodoctor.com/about-group/
Remember: this post is for informational purposes only and may not be the best fit for you and your personal situation. It shall not be construed as medical advice. The information and education provided here is not intended or implied to supplement or replace professional medical treatment, advice, and/or diagnosis. Always check with your own physician or medical professional before trying or implementing any information read here.