Mindfulness for Angelman Syndrome Caregivers
It can be quite stressful and exhausting to care for a person with Angelman syndrome, a disease characterized by a range of intellectual and physical disabilities, including limited speech capabilities, seizures and difficulties with movement.
A practice called mindfulness may help you cope with your day-to-day caregiving responsibilities.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the practice of being aware of your thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surroundings. Rather than rehashing the past or imagining the future, mindfulness means tuning in to what you are sensing at the moment.
The Institute for Mindfulness-Based Approaches offers a stress-reduction program. This is based on intensive mindfulness training. It teaches that you can’t always change your circumstances, but you can choose your response to them. By being in touch with present thoughts, sensations, and emotions, you can gain a different perspective on what you’re going through.
Practicing mindfulness each day can help you perform your duties without becoming overwhelmed or overly stressed. It can help keep you grounded and at peace, while allowing you to be of service to those in your care.
Examples of structured mindfulness
Examples of structured mindfulness include body scan, sitting, and walking meditations.
In body scan meditation, you lie on your back and focus your attention slowly and deliberately on each part of your body, being aware of any sensations, emotions, or thoughts.
Sitting meditation is similar, but done while seated comfortably. You focus on your breath moving in and out of your body, concentrating on what you feel and think.
In walking meditation, you begin to walk slowly, focusing on the experience, and becoming aware of the sensations of standing and the subtle movements that keep your balance.
How do I incorporate mindfulness into my daily life?
Ways to bring mindfulness into everyday life include paying attention to your environment, and taking the time to experience your surroundings with all of your senses. Another way is to bring your attention to everything you do. Mindfulness means, essentially, “living in the moment.”
Acceptance of yourself and the person you are caring for is very important. Treat yourself the way you would treat your best friend. When you have negative thoughts, sit down, take a deep breath, and close your eyes. Focus on your breath as it moves in and out of your body. Sitting and being aware of your breathing, for even a minute, can help to clear your thinking.
Keeping a journal of your feelings and experiences may also help, by bringing focus to all that you are doing and accomplishing.
Last updated: August 10, 2020
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