A Benefit of Chronic Dry Eye Treatment: Time for Meditation And Mindfulness

Meditation and mindfulness have become “buzz” words recently, especially in the chronic health and wellness community. On my journey, I had no idea how much of an impact it would have on me personally. In this case, I have chronic dry eye to thank for that.

Struggling to stick with meditation

I tried starting and sticking to a meditation practice for quite a few years prior to even finding out I had chronic dry eye. However, I just couldn’t get myself to stick with it for the longest time. My thoughts and physical symptoms from dealing with various health conditions always seemed to be overpowering, to the point it was just a daunting task for me. Sometimes, I would start and keep up with it for a few days, and then stop again. As with starting any new habit, typically, it was difficult to stick to.

How my chronic dry eye diagnosis helped

However, a few years ago, when I was diagnosed with chronic dry eye, that changed. I was instructed by my doctor to use a Bruder mask - a microwaveable mask you put on your eyes for about ten minutes to stimulate the meibomian glands and hydration for the eyes, typically twice a day.

When I started doing this, I knew I had no choice as I wanted my chronic dry eye symptoms to get better. In turn, it pushed me to practice mindfulness and meditation for at least ten minutes a day in the evening.

Finally, after a while, it became a habit as I got used to both activities together. It even became enjoyable and not so scary.

I am healthier with regular meditation and mindfulness

Now, meditation and mindfulness continue to be a huge part of my healing journey and a big part of my “toolkit” for living with chronic health conditions. I have found it helps me reduce stress, as well as be more present in my body and life in general.

It has also helped me cultivate more awareness of myself, my experiences, and those around me. Through these practices, I’ve come to a place of acceptance about both my eyes and other health conditions and symptoms. And paradoxically, as I started to accept them more, the symptoms improved as well. Of course, that doesn’t mean I stop my treatment and don’t deal with symptoms, but it does help me deal with them better, and take the necessary steps quicker and from a place of ease, rather than stress and pain.

Silver linings of chronic dry eye

This is one of the reasons I’m grateful for my diagnosis of chronic dry eye. One small task of having to use warm compresses on my eyes for ten minutes a day changed my entire life in many ways, and continues to. It’s often easy to get stuck in a victim mentality when we struggle with any health condition, but it’s important to remember we still have power within us, despite any symptoms our bodies are experiencing.

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