Providing constant care and supervision for a child with aromatic l-amino acid decarboxylase (AADC) deficiency can be emotionally and physically exhausting. The disease leads to developmental delays, along with symptoms such as uncontrollable movement, weak muscle tone, fatigue, and vision problems. A practice called mindfulness may help you cope as a caregiver.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of your thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations, and the surrounding environment. It involves tuning in to what you’re sensing in the present, rather than ruminating about the past or focusing on the future.
A stress-reduction program offered by the Institute for Mindfulness-Based Approaches teaches that circumstances aren’t always alterable, so how you respond is key. Being in touch with your thoughts, sensations, and emotions can help change your perspective of your caregiving experience.
How can mindfulness benefit me?
Caregivers have a habit of neglecting their own well-being for their patient’s or loved one’s sake. Practicing mindfulness daily can help you perform your duties without becoming overburdened with stress. In fact, mindfulness-based stress reduction is a meditation therapy that was originally designed for stress management, but it can also help people caring for patients with chronic diseases.
What are the different kinds of structured mindfulness?
Body scan meditation, breathing meditation, and walking meditation are examples of structured mindfulness.
Body scan meditation
This involves lying on your back with your legs extended and arms at your sides, palms facing up. From toe to head, or head to toe, focus your attention slowly and intentionally on each part of your body. As you do that, be aware of any sensations, emotions, or thoughts.
Sit comfortably with your back straight, feet flat on the floor, and hands in your lap. Breathing through your nose, focus on your breath moving in and out of your body. Note when physical sensations or thoughts interrupt your meditation, then resume your focus on breathing.
Locate a quiet place that’s 10 to 20 feet (three to six meters) in length. Start walking slowly, focusing on the experience. Throughout, remain aware of the sensations of standing and the fine, delicate movements that help maintain balance. At the end of your path, turn around and continue walking, while maintaining awareness of the sensations you’re experiencing.
How can I practice mindfulness?
Simple ways to incorporate mindfulness into daily living include:
Intentionally use all your senses — touch, sound, sight, smell, and taste — to experience your environment.
Bring open, accepting, and discerning thoughts to the things you do throughout your day.
Being compassionate with yourself
Show yourself compassion. Treat yourself the way you would treat a good friend.
Taking a ‘breather’
Try to quell negative thoughts (even if only for a minute or two) by sitting with your eyes closed, taking deep breaths and focusing on your breath as it moves in and out of your body.
Last updated: April 15, 2020
AADC News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.
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