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Hi Everyone,

I am new here and am enjoying reading the helpful posts. I just wanted to share this resource with all of you who are dealing with the extremely high stress of caregiving.

I worked for many years in hospice as a caregiver (CNA) and currently am a part-time family caregiver for my mom. I am also a former Buddhist monk and a meditation instructor.

Mindfulness meditation is one of the most simple and helpful things that I have found when caregiving. It has allowed me to feel more calm, happy and attentive, and has helped me to work with my self-judgments and feel more self-compassion, which I feel has helped me to have a lot less frustration and more compassion towards others.

You may think that you have no time to meditate, but actually it only takes a few minutes to begin to feel a difference. And because mindfulness is simply the practice of paying attention to the present moment, it can be brought into any of our caregiving activities, making them more enjoyable and relaxing.

Here is a very simple mindfulness meditation that you can try right now, if you like:

Ask yourself, "Do I have a body?" Then just notice all the sensations in your body for a little while. If you notice any tension or pain, rather than resisting these sensations and wanting to make them go away, try opening to them just as they are, with a sense of gentleness and care. It can help to close your eyes.

Even doing this for a minute or two can make a big difference. And this is just one example of how mindfulness meditation can become a practice of self-compassion.

If you are interested in learning more about this, I offer regular free online mindfulness webinars for caregivers at http://CalmCare.org

Warmly,
Matthew

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I'm sorry to hear about your backache. I have chronic back pain too -- and it was made worse by the years of lifting people as a CNA.

Good point: pain can make it hard to forget our body. And when practicing mindfulness, amazingly that can actually be turned into a blessing. The pain brings us into our body and into the present moment. Then instead of resisting the sensations, if we can relax and open to them, and breath with them, it is amazing how that can help the pain to ease, while also calming our mind. If we do this with a sense of self-compassion, it can also be very heart opening.

Sorry if my post sounded sales-y. I guess I get excited about mindfulness and how it has helped me. The majority of the mindfulness instruction that I have done has been totally for free. It feels so great to share it, and there are some unique ways that we can use this practice as caregivers.
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Um, you wouldn't be advertising, would you?

Mindfulness meditation is not something new to caregivers, at least in my area. Classes have been held on it for the general public.

I can't help replying to your suggested topic of "do I have a body"? Not to be sarcastic, but I could never forget I have a body; it reminds me every time I garden and end up with a backache.
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