There are many diagnoses associated with lung function and breathing. Asthma, chemically induced pulmonary injuries, interstitial lung diseases, lung cancer, chronic obstructive lung disease. Not being able to ‘catch your breath’ or breathe deeply enough to satisfy your lungs is scary. I now because I have asthma, or some doctors refer to my condition as hyperactive airway disease. This means that my lungs get upset by many, many airborne smells and conditions. Embarrassingly, I once had to get up from my desk in a computer lab and go ask another woman if the next time she uses the lab, she would consider not using her particular brand of colonge or perfume or using less perhaps, because I was having difficulty breathing. On that day, I chose to leave and put off that particular set of work until another day when fewer odors were in the room (she couldn’t know I might be there and I happen to have this issue-going-on). On another day we were both in there, and it was fine!
The point is that it happens to some of us and it can be distressing not to be able to go for a walk in the fall due to the decaying beautiful leaves or not to take our kids or grand kids out to play in the spring sunshine due to the bushes and trees trying to maintain their species (pollen counts!). We may even have to be careful being around others with colds, since our colds turn so quickly into pneumonia.
It can get downright depressing as we lose energy, perhaps feel isolated or alone with our mostly invisible problem, or we imagine the worst – succumbing to an indoor, controlled environment for the rest of our lives. What about the places to go, things to do, and people to do it with – that we love and long for?!
Well, mindfulness cannot remove our illness or force our lungs to behave differently; but it can (and has) helped individuals with pulmonary difficulties. If you are so inclined, join us in an MBSR class and see if you benefit from MBSR, as others have.
Research has demonstrated that pulmonary patients who attended Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) training experienced improvements in:
- Role limitations due to physical problems
- Role limitations due to emotional problems
- Social functioning
- Mental health
- Mood states (reducing negative moods)
- Psychological distress
- Negative rumination (less)
- Arefnasab et. al. (2013). Effect of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction on Quality of Life (SF-36) and Spirometry Parameters, in Chemically Pulmonary Injured Veterans. Iranian Journal of Public Health, 42(9), 1026-1033.
- Schellekens et. al., (2017). Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Added to Care as Usual for Lung Cancer Patients and Their Partners: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Thoracic Oncology, 12(15) S1416-S1417.
- Sgalla et al., (2014). Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction in Patients with Interstitial Lung Disease: A Pilot Study. European Respiratory Journal, 44 (58), 777-