Managing inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is both physically and mentally challenging. While much of the…
A Lesson In ‘Kindfulness’ From Tara Cousineau, PhD
If you have a digestive condition, you may have been told to practice mindfulness as part of your treatment plan. This is because doctors are learning more about the importance of the “gut-brain connection”, or the communication between your digestive system and your brain and nervous system.
To help us learn more about caring for our body with our mind, we recently had an incredibly powerful conversation with Tara Cousineau, PhD on the Gastro Girl Podcast. Dr. Cousineau, author of The Kindness Cure, provided us with four actionable tips that you can start using today!
According to Dr. Cousineau, kindfulness is “being aware of the present moment with heart.” She explains that “we are designed to be kind” and that we need to become reacquainted with that inner wisdom.
A few ways to be kind to yourself are spending time in nature or taking a walk outside. Dr. Cousineau suggests that you can use these moments to check in with yourself and tap into your calm.
Find Your Balance
While it’s important to use kindfulness to focus on the good, Dr. Cousineau cautions against getting sucked into the trap of “toxic positivity”.
It’s not possible to be positive all the time. Dr. Cousineau tells us that “it’s not your fault when you think negatively” because this tendency is part of our nature. Instead of trying to be positive 24/7, practicing kindfulness means that you’re constantly working to find the balance between the positives and the negatives.
If you have a digestive condition, you’ve likely dealt with your fair share of negatives. But Dr. Cousineau reminds us that it’s possible to be optimistic without denying that there are hard things in your life.
Kindsight is 20/20
Dr. Cousineau shares the concept of kindsight, which she defines as “viewing your life experiences with tenderness and understanding.”
Here is an exercise from Dr. Cousineau to help you start using kindsight:
Find a photo of yourself at an age during a difficult time in your life. This could be a time when your digestive symptoms were at their worst, or could be at an age when you lost a loved one.
While looking at the photo, acknowledge that it was a challenging time for you and what you went through has likely shaped your life now. Think about the impact the experience had on you and send that aspect of yourself kindness.
These three tips can go a long way towards reframing your mindset around your digestive condition. This is why Dr. Cousineau’s book, The Kindness Cure is the February book of the month! Grab your copy today to learn more about living a life of kindness.