Welcome to part two of the ‘Mindfulness for Eczema’ series. In this post we will be following up the mindfulness principles discussed in post one with a discussion on the ‘notion of impermanence’.
The notion of impermanence is a key concept of mindfulness, and it can help you try to let go of the stress of suffering from eczema. Understanding it can help you to keep life’s challenges in perspective during your eczema healing journey!
Technically we all understand impermanence on a basic level. We understand that change is inevitable; we say things like “nothing lasts forever” and “all things come to an end”.
But do we really understand impermanence at a gut feeling level, not just at an intellectual level?
If we can understand the notion of impermanence at a gut feeling level it can help us to cultivate a deeper appreciation of the present. It can also help us to suffer less by giving us perspective of our situation.
By truly understanding that everything is temporary, we can relax with the present moment whatever it may be.
Can you see how this would be a powerful tool during your eczema healing journey?
You may be thinking.. “OK I see what you are saying, but how on earth am I supposed to know if I am feeling something at an intellectual level or a gut feeling level?”
The answer, like all of the key concepts of mindfulness is… practice!
As your mindfulness practice grows, your awareness will improve. We will be discussing ‘awareness’ in our next blog post topic. So lets get back to Impermanence.
It is important to understand that one of the biggest constant things in life is impermanence. Everything is constantly changing and nothing is fixed or certain. The physical symptoms of an eczema flare as well and the thoughts that accompany it, are as changeable as the weather. They blow in and they blow out.
Many of us fear change and resist the changing nature of life because of the false sense of security that comes with that perspective. But the truth is that the law of impermanence is actually very freeing.
It allows us to let go and flow with life’s changes instead of fighting them. We can deepen our acceptance that all situations, thoughts and feelings have a beginning and an end. Everything is temporary.
When we understand this, we can relax with the present moment whatever it may be… relaxing with itchy irritated skin, relaxing with anxiety, relaxing with fatigue. Not resisting the fact that things end, things pass, things have no lasting substance, and that everything is changing all the time.
As discussed in post 1, as much as we would like to be able to control everything, we are actually not at all in control of most things, but we do have some control over how we respond to them!
Yes, much of what happens to us is beyond our ability to control. If you wake up with an eczema flare on a day that you have a hot date planned, or a big meeting at work, it is easy to spend the day stuck in the desire to change and control your situation.
This cycle that many of us automatically fall into sets us up for misery and even more suffering. A different response would be to assess and acknowledge how you are feeling.
Use this as a starting point for your day and live the best you can within those limitations, while keeping in mind that an eczema flare does not necessarily mean you will have a bad day.
It does not define you and the nature of it, like everything else in life is impermanent. As poet and novelist, Rainer Maria Rilke said “Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final”.
Contemplation on Impermanence Exercise
As discussed above, to truly make an impact in our lives, the notion of impermanence must not just be understood, but also experienced.
One beneficial practice is contemplating on impermanence. This contemplation is derived from an exercise taught by the popular Vietnamese monk, Thich Nat Hanh. It takes only a minute or two and can have a profound impact on your state of mind.
Here is what you do:
- Stop what you are doing, close your eyes and take 3 deep breaths
- Continue to breathe mindfully as you contemplate the following question: What will I have become 300 years from now?
- Contemplate this question for as long as you like, although sometimes 10 seconds can be enough to give you a fresh perspective
- Continue with your day with a fresh perspective
Thank you so much for reading and stay tune for part 3 of the mindfulness for Eczema series, where we will discuss ‘Awareness’.
Learn more about my Conqueror Dry Skin Soothing Balm or visit my eBook links below to learn more about how you can heal your skin:
- The Elimination Diet: A Guide to Conquer Eczema & Food Sensitivities
- Healing Eczema: Why Dieting Is Not Enough
- The Power of Thoughts: How Mindset Shifts Can Help Eliminate Eczema
- My Detailed Eczema Healing Treatment Plan
Chelsea has worked in the health and wellness industry for over a decade. She is a Holistic Nutritionist, Certified Pilates Instructor and Registered Yoga Teacher. She currently teaches at the Toronto Athletic Club where she is the Director of Pilates and Yoga and also provides nutrition consulting services, specializing in Autoimmune diseases. After almost a decade of bizarre neurological symptoms Chelsea’s health took a downward turn in 2015 when she was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and later that year was diagnosed with late stage Lyme disease and co-infections. Through conventional and holistic practices (lifestyle, mindfulness, diet, and supplementation) she has been able to recover most of her health. Chelsea is passionate about helping others in their journey to get well and believes that everyone can thrive with chronic illness! She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.