By James A. Heuer, PA
In recent studies, mindfulness proved to help improve the cognitive state of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) patients. It is said that mindfulness assists TBI patients with keeping their focus on the present moment. In short, mindfulness is the state of awareness resulting from consciously paying attention.
Since healing from a traumatic brain injury as we know takes time, plenty of steps of healing along the way vary from patient to patient. A traumatic brain injury can impact the way one receives messages from the communication of nerve cells in the brain. Using mindfulness as a form of therapy to recover can help in maintaining attention and reacting appropriately to situations and surroundings.
TBI patient recovery implements mindfulness based cognitive therapy to be aware and present. This type of therapy marries together a meditative practice with cognitive therapy techniques letting participants’ process thoughts and feelings. Meditation, simplified, means to bring mindfulness. This type of program typically spreads out into weekly sessions. A variety of meditative practices include meditations, mindful yoga, and mindful walking. Within each season comes an emphasis on attitudes of acceptance, patience, and nonjudgmental attention.
Mindfulness is all about being present. Focused breathing is the most common form instructed. Instead of focusing on the event causing the TBI, patients can focus directly on breathing in through their nose and out through their mouth. Focusing along with filling the lungs and lower abdomen reduces stress levels, and the mind and body can connect again without PTSD thoughts that come along with brain trauma.
Benefits to participation in these MBCT programs include reduction in medical and psychological symptoms such as anxiety, stress, and isolation relief, along with improvements in memory, attention, and other cognitive functions. Thus far the only obstacle has been the difficulty of getting meditation to spread and adapt to the population due to lack of research, trust, and unfortunate lack of interest. Processing painful experiences such as a car accident all at once can sometimes be hard to wrap your head around. Using mindfulness can improve TBI patients’ way of life in the form of self-efficacy and self-regulation.
James A. Heuer, PA is a personal injury attorney helping individuals with TBI after suffering one himself, he is located in Minneapolis, Minnesota.