Your physical condition is an important component in how fast your body will heal from wounds. But did you know that your psychological condition can also affect your healing?
Research has shown that psychological stress can negatively impact recovery from wounds. In recent years, the link between our minds and bodies has been clearly established. What we think and feel affects our physical health more than we ever thought possible.
Chronic stress actually weakens the immune system, increasing the chances of wound infection. Stress also promotes bad habits, such as insomnia or smoking, which further weaken immune function. It is clear then, that managing stress is a great way to jumpstart your immune system to fight illness and infection.
One easy way to reduce stress is to meditate. According to Mayo Clinic, meditation offers relief from symptoms of asthma, chronic pain, depression, heart disease, and high blood pressure. It also reduces the body’s cortisol level and boosts the immune system.
Serious health problems such as chronic wounds are enough to cause stress in even the most psychologically healthy individuals. Other worries about money, the loss of a partner, or missing your family can add even more stress. Meditation is an effective tool to use against stress and promote wound healing.
There are many types of meditation. They all involve quieting the mind and letting go of intrusive thoughts and feelings. When you meditate, you still have thoughts and feelings, but they are not a part of you. You detach from the stressful emotions, and they lose their harmful effects.
Here is a simple mindfulness technique for beginners:
Get as comfortable as possible in a seated or lying positing. Close your eyes and breathe naturally.
Focus on your breathing and the way your body feels as you breathe. When you notice your mind wandering, bring it back gently to concentrate on your breathing. Let go of everything else and focus on your chest rising and falling. Notice the physical sensations. Observe your thoughts and feelings, but don’t engage them.
Start with two minutes a day, and increase your meditation time each day.
As you get more comfortable with meditation, you can introduce visualization. Visualization is a very powerful tool you can use when your mind is already in a quiet state. Because of the mind–body link, you can visualize successful physical outcomes, and your body will respond.
To try visualization, begin with meditation for a moment or two.
Then, with your eyes still closed, create an image in your mind of what you want. Imagine your wound healing, your blood pressure improving, or your chronic pain disappearing. Think about every tiny detail—how it feels, sounds, smells, and looks. Your mind is limitless, so imagine and visualize the exact outcome you desire.
Exercise visualization for 10 minutes every day, using the same images.
The positive effects of mindfulness and visualization can boost the advanced medical techniques used by Park Crescent’s wound care program to result in quick and lasting healing.