Mindfulness and pulmonary fibrosis

Mindfulness is a type of meditation that helps restore and maintain calm by focusing on how we feel in the present. It can help people with health conditions that are caused or worsened by anxiety and stress.

What is mindfulness?

Through meditation practices, mindfulness encourages a focus on how you’re feeling in the moment, clearing your mind of any judgments and thoughts about the future. It uses different breathing and thinking techniques to make you feel more relaxed and grounded.

Mindfulness can help people with respiratory conditions like pulmonary fibrosis by restoring control when they are anxious or out of breath.

Mindfulness is easy to get the hang of. You can practise mindfulness anywhere as long as you have the ability to feel calm and comfortable – although a quiet place is best.

How mindfulness works

If you’re new to mindfulness, try this simple breathing exercise and consider the following:

  • Take note of how much your breathing starts to slow, and how relaxed you become as a result
  • Notice if your mind starts to wander; when it does, try to focus back on your breath, the noises in your surroundings and the space around you
  • Do not be hard on yourself if you struggle to relax or clear your mind. Remember that some days you will find it easier than others
  • Shift focus away from your lungs if you are anxious and out of breath. Instead, gently move your attention to your nostrils, focusing on how the air feels cold as it goes in through your nose, and warm as it comes out through your mouth

Practising these mindfulness techniques regularly can:

  • Support you to avoid re-activating your ‘fight of flight’ alarm system in the future

Getting started with mindfulness

There are lots of easy ways to get mindful moments into your day-to-day life:

  • Speak to your care team: find out what’s being offered in your area
  • Download a mindfulness app: explore the app store to find apps offering a range of recorded mediations with different time lengths, voices and themes to suit your needs
  • Sign up to a mindfulness and meditation class: with a huge amount of virtual and in-person sessions available, a big benefit to this is direct contact with an instructor who can give advice and answer any questions