Self Compassion to Reduce Stress Response in ME/CFS and FM

Cort

Founder of Health Rising and Phoenix Rising
Staff member
I wish there was an easier way - some drug that would just work - but absent that self-compassion is a very good thing to have - with ME/CFS/FM or not. I heard one Landmark Education leader say - if someone said the things about you that you say about yourself - you'd punch them in the mouth!​
So even if harsh self-criticism did not have a role in your disease onset, it may slow down your recovery –it is very hard for someone with such a disease to avoid self-criticism in the presence of such disability and possibly lack of understanding from health care professionals and friends and family who might think that you are malingering rather than sick.
Self-compassion to reduce the stress response in ME/CFS/SEID
May 2, 2015 by info@breathingremedies.co.uk 1 Comment
Most lists of self-help tips for ME/CFS/SEID will emphasise acceptance of the disease as important; the patients who accept rather than push and rail against the disease tend to have a better prognosis. Hostile resistance also increases hyperventilation. These patients may be thinking “but I can’t afford to be ill”, or “what am I if I cannot do the work that defines me”, or “I am useless if I cannot support my family” –and judge themselves harshly.



So self- compassion is the order of the day, again something I hear about a lot, but listening to self-compassion expert to Kristen Neff’s video I understood it more clearly: self-criticism and harsh judgment of ourselves can be considered as part a primitive defence response – a harsh motivator that can help us succeed – but it can activate the fight or flight or sympathetic (threat) part of the autonomic nervous system, releasing stress hormones and contributing no doubt to breathing disorders.

(I wrote a blog post about a link between ME/CFS/SEID and fight or flight or freeze)

So even if harsh self-criticism did not have a role in your disease onset, it may slow down your recovery –it is very hard for someone with such a disease to avoid self-criticism in the presence of such disability and possibly lack of understanding from health care professionals and friends and family who might think that you are malingering rather than sick.
“With self-compassion, we give ourselves the same kindness and care we’d give to a good friend”.

So learning self-compassion can be a step towards switching from “fight or flight” to parasympathetic “relax rest and restore”.
Breathing can be considered to be the bridge between the emotions and the body, and breathing retraining for ME/CFS/SEID also helps calm the sympathetic nervous system and restore a more healthy breathing pattern – where parasympathetic activation is favoured -that can get oxygen more efficiently to all body systems.

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Nans125

New Member
That's the truth about some of the things we say to ourselves. I know I am super hard on myself and it certainly doesn't help anything. Thanks for posting this, Cort. I've also been interested in the Buteyko method as I find myself having more and more difficulty breathing and it is nice to see someone using it specifically with this illness.
 

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