How to Make Mindfulness Practical When You’re Chronically Ill

How to Make Mindfulness Practical When You’re Chronically Ill

Talk of mindfulness is everywhere. You have no doubt heard people recommending mindfulness as a method of coping with all sorts of health issues. While it’s no ‘quick fix’ or ‘miracle cure’, mindfulness truly can be extremely beneficial for those of us with chronic illness, and it has proven results!

The benefits of mindfulness for chronic illness

Mindfulness is all about being present in the moment, which promotes a sense of calm and relaxation. This alone can provide a feeling of comfort and relief when we’re going through a lot in our lives. This 2019 study defines the practice of mindfulness as: “intentionally observing the body and mind nonreactively while embracing the individual experience and accepting things as they are.”

When you live with chronic illness, you are often in a prolonged state of ‘fight or flight’, which means that your stress response is overworked. Your body and mind are not designed to handle this prolonged stress, which can understandably take its toll. Stress can contribute to chronic pain and other chronic symptoms. Thankfully mindfulness can markedly reduce stress levels, easing chronic symptoms and reducing the negative effects that come with being in a state of stress for so long.

It’s not only stress that mindfulness can help with: regular mindfulness practices can help us to gain greater control over our emotions and enable us to regulate them more effectively. This creates a more stable mood and an enhanced sense of wellbeing. This increased emotional regulation can even help with mental illness (such as anxiety and depression) which so often accompanies chronic illness.

The benefits of mindfulness for chronic illness

Often the experience of living with chronic illness can create a sense of fear of doing something that may worsen your symptoms (which is completely understandable). This fear can lead to fear-fuelled avoidance, meaning we avoid certain activities in the hope we can avoid a ‘flare’. Unfortunately, this fear-fuelled avoidance can actually worsen symptoms over time. Mindfulness can help us to overcome those fears and deal with them in a calmer, more constructive way. 

When you live with chronic illness, it can be incredibly hard to sleep. Often even when we do sleep, it’s non-restorative and restless, meaning we don’t feel much of the benefit. Mindfulness can help with more restful, regular sleep. Mindfulness can even help us to be more self-compassionate and build our confidence, as well as helping us to feel more motivated to self-manage our chronic illness.These are only a few of the benefits of mindfulness for chronic illness!

Making mindfulness practical:

Now that you know just how useful mindfulness can be, you might be wondering how to get started. It can be tough to know how to engage in mindfulness in a practical, realistic way. Let’s go through some tips to help you introduce mindfulness into your day to day life.

Figure out what type of mindfulness works for you. There are so many different types of mindfulness such as meditations, visualization and guided imagery, mindful movement, body scan meditations, progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) and more! This variety is great because it means that if you try a style of mindfulness and discover it’s not for you, it doesn’t mean mindfulness can’t work for you! Take your time to do some research and experiment until you find what feels best for you. 

Figure out what type of mindfulness works for you.

Start off with 5 minutes at a time. You don’t have to dedicate lots of time to mindfulness to feel the benefits, especially not when you’re just starting out. Starting out with 5 or 10 minutes at a time can be a sustainable way to introduce mindfulness. You don’t even have to do this every single day to gain the benefits (although if you can this would be fantastic)! 2 or 3 times a week would be a great way to start out. Being as consistent as possible is key. You don’t need any special equipment to get started. Find 5 minutes in a quiet space where you won’t be disturbed or distracted, and you’re ready to go. 

Don’t worry about sitting in a specific position. You don’t have to sit with your legs crossed in an upright position for mindfulness to work. Don’t worry if that simply doesn’t work for you. There’s no magic pose that you have do to gain the benefits of mindfulness. Sit or lie down in any position that is comfortable for you. 

If you feel pain or other symptoms, don’t overthink it. Let’s face it, it’s likely that while you’re sitting and trying to quiet your mind, you might experience pain or other symptoms of your chronic illness. That’s ok. Don’t worry! Mindfulness is about being present in the moment and engaging your senses. If you are experiencing a symptom, feel what you’re feeling as part of the present moment. Try not to overthink it or worry about it. That sounds easier said than done, but with practice it can get easier. Of course that might not always be possible. If you’re having a flare or a severe symptom, you might need to stop your mindfulness practice for the time being. That’s totally valid too! You can always try again later. It doesn’t mean you’ve failed or that you can’t practice mindfulness. 

Find guided mindfulness resources. You don’t have to sit and meditate alone. There are plenty of guided mindfulness sessions online you can access (and many for free!) which will guide you through a meditation step by step. Some people find guided audio or video mindfulness sessions really helpful because it gives them a voice to focus on and clear, relaxing guidance to follow. 

Find guided mindfulness resources to help you be mindful.

Consider mindfulness courses and mindfulness therapy. There are mindfulness courses you can engage in which can help guide you through learning mindfulness skills. You may be able to find some in your local area which you could attend in person, or you could find an online course or app. Mindfulness is often integrated into other types of therapy to treat chronic illness and mental health issues. You could ask your doctor, specialist or therapist if this is something you could involve in your sessions. Alternatively, you could seek a specific mindfulness therapist. If you do so, ensure they are properly qualified

Utilize mindfulness in bed to help you sleep. If you struggle to sleep, you could practice mindfulness a little while before you go to bed at night to get you in a relaxed mood. Another great way to utilize mindfulness to help you sleep is to listen to a guided mindfulness session in bed to help you drift off. Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) is really great for this purpose because it takes you through relaxing each area of the muscles in your body. This can ease muscle pain as well as encourage relaxation. 

Consider trying mindful movement. For some people, sitting or lying still and trying to relax simply doesn’t work. This is where mindful movement can come into its own. Mindful movement typically involves slow flowing movements. While you’re doing these movements you pay attention to your breathing, to how your body feels and to what is happening in that moment. Yoga and tai chi are types of mindful movement. You can even make other exercises mindful, such as going for a mindful walk. When you’re walking, you might pay attention to how your feet feel as they are hitting the ground. You may notice what sounds you can hear and what you can see around you for example. You’re focusing on exactly what is happening in that moment on your walk, not on the past or the future. Mindful movement brings all of the same benefits of mindfulness, as well as incorporating the benefits of exercise and activity for those with chronic pain. It’s all about what works for you!

Make daily tasks mindful. We don’t always have the time or energy required to dedicate to setting aside specific time for mindfulness each day. However, as you learn the skills of mindfulness, you can make daily tasks mindful that you would be doing anyway. As we learn to pay attention to what is happening in the moment, (if our mind wanders we simply bring our attention back to the present) we are being mindful. Over time this can become a positive habit, and will feel less like a conscious effort. This study explains that, “repetitive attempts to increase state mindfulness leads to an incremental escalation of the general tendency to be mindful in a more automatic manner.”

An example of doing daily tasks mindfully could be eating a meal mindfully. Take your time to focus on how your food smells and looks before you eat it. As you taste it, take the time to really take notice of the flavours, the movement of your mouth and tongue, and the feeling of enjoyment you may experience. You could make taking a shower mindful. Pay attention to how the water feels on your skin. Take notice of the smells of your shower gel or soap. Think about what colours you can see (maybe the bottles in your shower or your sponges are a certain colour). 

Make daily tasks mindful.

Be kind to and encourage yourself. If things don’t go to plan, for example if you can’t quiet your mind or you miss a week of your mindfulness practice, don’t be too hard on yourself! It doesn’t have to be perfect. Remember you’re learning a skill and that takes time. Encourage yourself and be kind to yourself. If you try all sorts of different mindfulness techniques and are just finding that it’s not for you, that’s completely valid too. There are plenty of other chronic illness management options that you can explore. It doesn’t mean you can’t try mindfulness again later down the line if you want to, so don’t worry!

Mindfulness is about you!

Fundamentally, mindfulness is about what works for you. If you can find ways to integrate mindfulness into your life, it can be well worth the effort and have wonderful benefits. Remember that there’s no specific ‘right way’ to practice mindfulness. It’s all about what works for you and your life.

About the Author:

Ann-Marie D’Arcy-Sharpe is 33 years old and works as a freelance writer and blogger. She lives with bipolar disorder, fibromyalgia and arthritis. She writes for Pathways Pain Relief, a chronic pain relief app and blog. The app is created by pain patients and backed by the latest pain science. The app uses mind body therapies to help pain patients achieve natural, long lasting pain relief.

How Watching “Paw Patrol” Helps Me Cope With Anxiety (Tools To Coping With Anxiety)

We all have different coping skills when it comes to handling anxiety and the challenges it brings. One of my coping mechanisms is watching Nick Jr.’s animated show Paw Patrol! Although I’m 24 -years old and in college, studying creative writing, you might be wondering what is Paw Patrol and how did I get introduced to paw patrol? 

What Is Paw Patrol

Paw Patrol is an animated series shown on Nick Jnr following the adventures of Ryder and his gang of pups living in Adventure Bay. Each episode sees the pups face a problem that needs solved either on land or sea. There are 8 different pups, each having a specific profession based around the emergency services.

My Introduction to Paw Patrol 

It all started for me a few years ago. When I first struggling with the feeling of being trapped in my body because of my cerebral palsy. And trying to deal with the reality that I’m stuck in a body that I don’t have much control over and that my brain will never be free form this condition. Which causes me to have sleepless nights, spasms 24-7, or struggle to do task that others might find simple like putting on shoes or going to bathroom. All of these constant obstacles cause me to have struggle with anxiety which is common for young adults with Cerebral palsy.  

When I first discovered that I was suffering from anxiety, I felt like I was not getting any relief out of the things I was told I needed to do to reduce my anxiety attacks from happening. I felt lost, and that I had this constant feeling of having a plastic bag over my head. Which felt like it was taking the life out of me every day, causing me to suffer from anxiety attacks over and over again.

It wasn’t until my then boyfriend recommend I watched Nick Jr’s Paw Patrol with him. He too had cerebral palsy and he had the same struggles as I did.  

From the minute, I saw Chase, Marshall, Skye, Zuma, Tracker, Rocky, Rubble and Everest, my body becomes relaxed and I instantly feel like I could breathe again!  

What I’ve Learned From Paw Patrol

As I watch paw patrol I remember through the lessons being taught that a problem always has a situation. And most of all the feeling that I have when I face issues with my anxiety every day! I remember that it takes baby steps and that nothing gets easier but you have to keep going despite the obstacles you’re facing in your life just like I do with my anxiety and spastic Cerebral palsy. It has taught me that I can’t give up on my challenges because I’m having a rough day with feeling anxious or having a lack of movement due to my chronic pain with Cerebral palsy.  

Thanks to watching Paw Patrol I’m reminded that I’m a strong woman and I could overcome anything that comes in my way and I will overcome anything just like the characters on the show.

About The Author

Tylia Flores is a 24-year-old born with cerebral palsy. Although her condition has affected her mobility, it has never affected her will and determination to make a difference in the world. Through her many life challenges and obstacles, she discovered her passion for writing. Tylia’s goal in life is to share her stories with the world.

It’s Only One Day, (But You’re a Superhero!!)

Thinking about things like upcoming holiday gatherings with large crowds of people can bring on anxiety for people who don’t even usually have anxiety issues.  Face it, the holidays are stressful. When you have bowel troubles, being in crowds, coupled with food to which you simply cannot say no, and a sketchy or unknown bathroom situation can make the already “standard level anxiety” explode into a world of unknown possibilities that would make Willy Wonka’s world of pure imagination seem dull.  I spend the holidays with Crohn’s disease and anxiety together, and it always makes me wonder if I am on Santa’s naughty list. I seriously wish I would just get a lump of coal instead.

I spend the holidays with Crohn's disease and anxiety together, and it always makes me wonder if I am on Santa's naughty list.  I seriously wish I would just get a lump of coal instead.

Christmas Before Chrohn’s Disease

When I was a little girl, we always spent the holidays at my grandparents’ house.  It was a huge, old, three-story home, complete with a creepy basement. There were lots of wooden pillars between each room and a beautiful wood and marble tiled hearth, with a mirror around the fireplace.  The stairway was located down the hallway between the family and living rooms. The stairway “secret passageway”, as I remember calling it, mysteriously somehow led into the kitchen, the basement, and the upstairs area where the bedrooms were, all behind the same magical door.

The bathroom was upstairs, also.  The one bathroom.  The one bathroom in the whole great big house.  The one bathroom that all of us, and there were over fifty people, had to use when we gathered for the holidays at Grandma and Grandpa’s house.  There was even a little couch on the landing area just up the stairs that sat outside the bathroom, because you were inevitably going to have to wait for it to be your turn. As a child, this didn’t bother me at all.  I used the time to explore the upstairs bedrooms and look around at all of the things I wasn’t allowed to touch.  I was particularly interested in my Grandpa’s ship in a bottle – I still don’t know how that thing got in there!!

Crohn's Disease child adult focus chronic illnes holiday strategies

Christmas with Crohn’s Disease

Now, if I had to go to a one bathroom house for any kind of get together, I would panic.  There is no way I would be able to negotiate any kind of celebration with that many people and only one bathroom. Even if there is a super comfy couch to sit on and wait my turn. Because of Crohn’s disease, I can’t wait.  When I have to go, I have to go immediately. And the thought of just being somewhere that I don’t have immediate access to restroom facilities creates a level of anxiety that freezes me in my tracks and keeps me from doing so many of the things I want to do.  Even if the people are family and understand my situation, it doesn’t make the anxiety stop – not even a little bit. It does make me wish I just got a lump of coal instead, though.

Holidays & Social Anxiety

The feelings of “what if this,” or “what if that,” happens regarding my bowel issues are one thing – and a horrifying thing at that.  But then there is the social anxiety that I have to contend with on top of bathroom anxiety. I don’t like large crowds. I don’t like loud noises, especially sudden or startling noises.  I don’t like to hear small children or babies crying uncontrollably. It is very difficult for me to make small talk, even if it is with people I know and genuinely enjoy being around. It’s actually terrifying for me.  And I cannot explain what it is, or why it is, in any way that makes sense to someone who has never felt this way. It’s just emotionally and physically painful. I always try to fend off these feelings with humor and sarcasm, laughing so I don’t appear so uncomfortable. But deep down, I’m in very real agony. I’ll take that lump of coal now instead, please.

Crohn's Disease  social anxiety family stress  Holiday strategy

A lot of people say they get it. I often hear, “I understand, I don’t like crowds either,” “I don’t like loud noises,” or “The screaming kids get on my nerves too.”  No, that’s not exactly it, but I appreciate the sentiment – sort of. Other times I’m met with a downright denial of my feelings altogether, “It’s just one day, you can get through it.”  I honestly wish it were that easy.

Anxiety around the holidays for me is two-fold because not only do I fight with the anxiety of being around a lot of people, I am also fighting the fears about the bathroom situation at any given time.  It’s been years since we all gathered in the one bathroom home of my Grandparents. My family gets together now in places with multiple bathrooms, which helps ease that problem just a little, but bathroom anxiety never truly goes away when you have bowel problems.  

Well-meaning Relatives…

There is always that kid that pounds on the bathroom door even though they just saw you go in there. There is always that super overly concerned, but well-meaning relative that asks you if you are okay all three times they see you come out of the bathroom. There is the other relative who automatically knows how you feel and tries to empathize with you because they have a lactose issue or a spastic colon. So they have to make a huge deal about how alike the two of you are – usually loudly and in front of everyone – doling out the same ridiculous advice they give you every year that is sure to “cure” all your problems.  And then there is the jokester, who tries to make fun of you going to the bathroom again and again. Even though they are trying to be funny to make you feel less self-conscious, they always end up making you feel worse. But hey, it’s only one day. It takes several weeks to mentally prepare and four days to recover from that one day, but, it’s only one day. Lump. Of. Coal. Please

There is always that super overly concerned, but well-meaning relative that asks you if you are okay all three times they see you come out of the bathroom.

Not Just One Day

For me, and so many like me with anxiety, it isn’t just one day.  It isn’t just one hour. It isn’t just sucking it up and doing something you don’t want to do like emptying the cat litter or getting that pesky flu shot.  It is literally all the days leading up to that one day. It’s the fret and worrying and concern and overthinking that is involved in mentally trying to prepare for every possible scenario that might occur in that one day. It’s also knowing you will never be fully prepared enough, so you start freaking out about that.  Then it’s the actual event itself, which is almost never as bad as it seemed like it was going to be all the days, weeks, or sometimes months before that you worried about it. Except, even knowing that doesn’t ever stop the pre-worry. It doesn’t end there, though.

For me, and so many like me with anxiety, it isn't just one day.  It isn't just one hour. It isn't just sucking it up and doing something you don't want to do like emptying the cat litter or getting that pesky flu shot.  It is literally all the days leading up to that one day.

It’s also all the days after the events suffering from extreme exhaustion and the need to come down from the high levels of stress and anxiety and all the interactions with other people.  The physical fatigue and genuine body pain from having to endure such a distressing ordeal, coupled with the havoc that it all wreaked in my gut, puts me out for days afterward – even if it is just having dinner with my family at Christmas. It’s all of those days and it’s exhausting. I feel that anyone who has to deal with chronic illness in any form, on top of the normal holiday stress, deserves superhero status and a sweet cape.

  I  feel that anyone who has to deal with chronic illness in any form, on top of the normal holiday stress, deserves superhero status and a sweet cape.

It’s not about not wanting to be around my family.  I desperately want to be around them because I rarely see them.  I desperately want to spend time laughing and eating and having a good time enjoying the holidays, or any other celebration, without a care or second thought about anything – just like I did at my grandparents’ house when I was little.  But now, anxiety happens. I can do my best to control it, I can take my medication, I can do my self-care, and I can be funny and pretend I’m okay. But the bottom line is the anxiety is still there. The irrational fear is still there.  The “what if’s” are still there. I get that, technically, it is just one day – except it isn’t. I do understand what is happening. I even have insight into how illogical it is. That doesn’t make it stop, though. I wish it were as simple as being able to tell myself that it’s just one day and I’ll get through it.  Seriously, where is that lump of coal instead?

This, my friends, is what makes people with chronic illnesses so very special.  We really are superheroes. Everyday superheroes endure these kinds of situations, mostly silently, and we do it well.  We’ve done it for years and we will continue to do it because that’s what superheroes do. That, and we don’t really have a choice.  So let’s go don our invisible capes and get through our holidays and remember, that when it’s all over, we don’t have to do it again for a whole entire year!  Now, isn’t that more fun than just getting a lump of coal? Eh, I’m still not sure. Happy Holidays!

About The Author

Jenni Lock is the creator of Jenni’s Guts blog and writes about her journey with intestinal nonsense and other chronic health issues. Her sense of humor, sarcasm, and willingness to talk about the things most people just think are all part of her charm. Learn more about Jenni and her guts at

To The People Who Think I’m Not “Independent” Enough (I’m Trying My Hardest).


As a young adult with chronic illness, I have received a lot of snide comments from people about their perception of my lack of independence. I also find that I receive snide looks when I let it slip that I require help with things that other people may not.


These snide comments or looks can come from anyone; whether it be family, people close to me, medical professionals, or even complete strangers. Independence can be difficult to retain and maintain when you have a chronic illness, and it doesn’t help when people point out that they think it’s lacking, especially if your independence is one of your insecurities 

Unsolicited Outside Opinions.

I recently saw a post online saying that the only way to help someone with chronic pain is to NOT help them at all. Apparently, if you do things for someone with chronic pain, they aren’t going to want to learn to do those things for themselves.

As someone with Fibromyalgia, I find this assessment extremely flawed. Sure, it may be accurate for those recovering from an injury or surgery, however, it is certainly not accurate for those with chronic illness. For many people with chronic illness, there is no recovery.

Sure, symptoms may become better managed, however, they may never go away. So, refusing to offer someone help when they do need it just because they may not need it in the future seems pretty illogical to me.

This isn’t the first time I have encountered people with this kind of thinking in my chronic illness journey. When I was about 13, my mother was told by an intern psychologist that the reason I didn’t do things around the house that ‘normal’ kids would do, such as packing their own lunch every single night or fetching dinner from the kitchen, was because I simply didn’t want to.

My mother was told that I didn’t struggle to move, I just had behavioural issues and lack of motivation. This obviously wasn’t true. My parents didn’t listen to this person, however, because they saw the slow progression of my condition. They saw the nights I laid curled up in a ball, whimpering or crying in pain, unable to move.

They saw how I became more and more dependent on my crutches (I’ve now switched to a walking cane) because I was in too much pain to bear my own body weight. I’m so glad my parents did what they knew to be right for me, as it was only with their help that I was able to make it through high school without becoming more overcome with fatigue than I already was.

Moving Out of Home.

Moving out of my parent’s home was a massive step for me when it came to gaining more independence. It felt good because I was doing something completely for myself. I searched for flats, I wrote up budgets and did everything else that came with planning to move.

It all seemed to be coming together perfectly. It was during the first few weeks of moving that I received my first reality check. Moving my stuff from my parent’s place was both time consuming and extremely exhausting. I needed a lot of help and my pain levels skyrocketed, both from the physical task of moving as well as the stress.

Once I was finally settled, I realised I was drowning in all the housework. I was pushing myself to my limit and not really getting anywhere. It wasn’t long before I realised that no matter how hard I tried or wished it was so, moving out of home didn’t make me require help any less.

It really struck me one night when I was lying in bed, having a pain flare, wishing I had the energy to get up and get my medication. I was far too sore to move, and I didn’t have anyone to ask to for help like I would have at home. I felt extremely lonely, and I cried myself to sleep that night.

Relying on My Mother for Care.

Despite the fact that my mobility is hindered due to my chronic pain, I do not fit the criteria for a caregiver. I was refused carer hours when I applied for it after my 18th birthday, and again after I moved out, despite the fact I had received carer hours prior to my 18th birthday.

They apparently don’t provide help to people over 18 who don’t have a diagnosis that is on their checklist, no matter what the person’s physical ability is. At one stage I was even told: “well if you were diagnosed with [insert diagnosis with similar symptoms to mine] we’d be able to help you.” 

As a result of this, despite me not living at home, my mother drives me around, does my washing, and helps me tidy my room. I feel bad for needing her help because she has two boys to look after, both of which have autism as well as one of them having a Chromosome Deletion.

However, I have no choice. I am in a place where I simply can’t do these things for myself. Believe me, I’ve tried. Just this morning I started tidying my room before my mother arrived to help hang up clothes, and by the time I was finished, I was shaking with exhaustion.

I could barely hold myself up in a sitting position, despite the fact that all I had been doing very little activity. My mother is honestly my hero. I wouldn’t be able to function without her.

Not long after my application for carer hours was denied after moving out, I was talking to someone about how I had been refused help and how I was frustrated. When I tried to explain my situation, they replied: “well, maybe it’s because they want you to be independent.” I was shocked.

This implied that I was choosing to be dependent and that I could just switch my dependence off. I was torn between wanting to laugh and wanting to cry. 

I would be fully independent if I could.

People with chronic illness don’t ask for help ‘just because’. They ask because they need it. This idea that the chronically ill should be left to do everything for themselves is extremely harmful.

Sure, there are the people who have chronic illnesses who are fully independent, and I respect them for it. However, not everyone can manage that. One thing that I don’t think people that haven’t experienced chronic illness (first or even second hand) understand is that if I could do these things for myself, I would.

I’d have my driver’s license, I’d be living in a student apartment on my own all the way across the city, and I’d be studying full-time, doing the course I dreamed about throughout high school that I had to give up due to my health. 

The one message I want to convey in this article is that my dependence is not a choice. It’s me doing the most that I can.

About The Author

Amy Clements is a 20-year-old who has lived with chronic pain, the result of Fibromyalgia, since childhood. In her teens she was diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome in her wrist, which was the result of a netball injury. Amy lives in New Zealand and studies Business part-time at University. She enjoys reading novels and writing. She especially enjoys writing about her experience with chronic illness.

The Benefits of Meditation (How to Relax Your Body and Mind)

The Benefits of Meditation (How to Relax Your Body and Mind)

If you find yourself feeling anxious and stressed more frequently than usual, it’s time to take a break before you find your bucket overflowed with stress. You can achieve this by pampering your mind and body with meditation. Meditation is one of the best ways to cope with stress as it releases tension from our muscles and encourages the supply of oxygenated blood to our brain. It gives us a moment for self-reflection and helps in finding the answers to our problems within. It is also very relaxing.

How I Like to Meditate:

Focusing attention to the different parts of the body through meditation is a good way to quiet the mind. You may start practicing meditation by sitting comfortably while closing your eyes. Relax your shoulders by placing your hands on your lap. Take a few slow and deep breaths and exhale the stress from your body with each exhale. After that, start focusing on the different parts of your body starting from the toes, legs, and hips with each breath. Picture yourself sending vibrations of relaxation to each body part and release your tension as you do so.

You can practice this for five to ten minutes before you go back to your regular tasks. Here are some of the benefits of meditation:

Using Meditation to Calm The Mind

It Reduces Stress Levels Within Your Body and Can Lessen Inflammation

Stress causes the release of hormones such as Cortisol. It produces harmful effects on your body and releases cytokines, which is an inflammation-promoting chemical. These hormones and chemicals can promote disturbed sleep, anxiety, and depression. It also leads to cloudy thinking and fatigue. People often use meditation for stress reduction. A study shows that if you do mindfulness meditation for more than eight weeks, it can lower the harmful effects of inflammatory hormones on our body. Meditation can also improve symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, bowel syndrome, and fibromyalgia.  

Helps Control Inflammation

If you feel less stressed, this can lead to you feeling less anxious. If you start practicing meditation you could experience a reduction in your anxiety. Along with that, it also reduces the symptoms of anxiety such as paranoid thoughts, phobias, social anxiety, panic attacks, and obsessive-compulsive behavior. Meditation can not only reduces the symptoms of anxiety but can also help you cope up with the stress related to the high-pressure working environment.

Helps in Decreasing Blood Pressure

Meditation helps in reducing the strain on your heart. High blood pressure creates pressure on the heart, and it has to work harder to pump the blood, which leads to poor heart function. With time, high blood pressure contributes to narrowing the heart arteries, and atherosclerosis, which can be the main cause of heart stroke and attack. When you practice meditation and chant non-vocalized words, it can help in reducing high blood pressure. This can lead to a controlled nervous system and coordinated heart signal.

Using Meditation to Help Decrease Blood Pressure

Helps You to Bear Pain

Your mind plays an important role in perceiving pain, and it can pain levels can increase if you’re in a stressful condition. A study shows that if you practice yoga on a regular basis, it helps you make less sensitive towards pain and decrease in chronic pain. Meditation helps in diminishing the perception of the pain in your brain. This process can help you cope with intermittent pain. 

Can Improve Your Sleep Pattern

Half of the population of the world struggles with insomnia at some point in their lives. If you practice mindfulness meditation techniques regularly, you’ll notice an improvement in your sleep. Meditation not only helps you sleep easily but also makes sleep more satisfying. Our racing thoughts, stress, and anxiety don’t let our brain relax, and that leads to insomnia. Meditation calms these thoughts and helps in relaxing our brain, releasing tension and putting you in a peaceful state. 

Aids Addiction Recovery

Meditation helps in increasing self-control, which can help you to get rid of any kind of dependencies and increase awareness for triggers towards addictive behavior. A study shows that regular practice of meditation helps people to increase their willpower, redirect their attention, control impulses, and more. For people who are taking medication and treatment for drugs or alcohol addiction, meditation can serve as the perfect aid for controlling your cravings. Meditation also helps in controlling food-related cravings and is helpful for disorders like obesity.

Using Meditation to Help Control Addictive Behavior

Can Also Increase Positive Feelings Such As Generocity

Regular practice of meditation helps in increasing positivity towards yourself and others. Love kindness meditation is a technique that helps you to develop kind thoughts towards yourself and others. You start developing mercy and forgiveness, first to yourself then gradually towards an acquaintance and finally towards your enemies. Not only does this encourage love and kindness, but also it helps in reducing marriage conflicts, social anxiety, and aids anger management. This meditation technique is an excellent way to learn compassion and empathy towards others and to look upon life with positive feelings.

Bipin Baloni is a passionate Yogi, Yoga Teacher and a Traveller in India. He organizes 200 hours of yoga teacher training in various cities in India and Nepal. He also conducts AyurvedaCourses in Kerala He loves writing and reading books related to yoga, health, nature, Himalayas and Trekking in Nepal .

How Bear In The Big Blue House Helps Chronic Illness

How Bear In The Big Blue House Helps Chronic Illness

Learning how to cope with Chronic Pain and Illness means different things to different people. Today we hear about a beloved child’s character with the power to help heal.

Watching As A Child

Welcome to the blue house
Hello from the small mouse

Growing up in the early 2000’s I watched a lot of Disney related movies and shows as everyone did. One of the TV shows that I loved to watch as a young child was Bear in the Big Blue House created by Mitchell Kriegman.

How Bear In The Big Blue House Helps Chronic Illness

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the preschool children series, it’s about a Bear who lives in a big giant blue house with all his friends and with each episode, a topic is focused on and a lesson is taught to the viewers at home. 

Watching As A Grown-up

I know I’m 23 years old (almost 24) but you know what people say – there’s an inner child in you somewhere. To be honest, the reason why I still like watching Bear in the Big Blue House is that its musical numbers and the way puppeteer Noel Macneal brings Bear to life once he begins to talk just gives you a welcoming feeling that you need to feel when you have a panic attack and you’re thinking that it’s the end of the world.

Bear reminds you that it is going to be okay and that if you’re feeling awful, Bear always makes you feel better about your situation that you’re in as you watch him go on adventures with the gang.

How Bear In The Big Blue House Helps Chronic Illness

What I enjoy about Bear and the Big Blue House is the musical notes in the show. My favourite song to listen to when I’m having a panic attack is the Goodbye Song which is sung at the end of each show with Luna the Moon.

How Bear In The Big Blue House Helps Chronic Illness

A lot of my friends think I’m weird for watching a show for preschoolers at almost 24 but they don’t understand what it’s like to have a body that doesn’t understand your wants.

How A Bear Solves Problems

You need something to distract you from what you’re feeling when you’re having a full-blown panic attack. When you watch an episode of Bear and Big Blue House, you can just become relaxed with all the musical numbers and seeing all characters be happy and joyful

Every time I watch, it makes me forget about every single worry I have in the world at the moment and makes me focus on what’s going on in the episode and the lesson being taught within the show. Overall I love Bear and Big Blue House for many reasons; from its musical numbers to the way Bear makes you feel right at home.

Bear always makes me feel better and that is something I will always love him for!

About The Author:

Tylia Flores is a 24-year-old born with cerebral palsy. Although her condition has affected her mobility, it has never affected her will and determination to make a difference in the world. Through her many life challenges and obstacles, she discovered her passion for writing. Tylia’s goal in life is to share her stories with the world.

I Swiped Right to Finding Love with Chronic Illness

Dating with Disability and Chronic Illness

The idea of putting yourself out into the dating world when you’re single and you have a visible disability can be horrifying. What if you can’t find the right person for you who is able to look past your condition and your additional needs? As a young 23-year old woman with Cerebral palsy, as well as chronic illnesses and anxiety, online dating for me has been an adventure, to say the least.

What I’ve Learnt

If I’m honest, dating for me as always been an adventure in general; from the time I entered middle school and had gone through the normal things young ladies go through. While in middle school, I really had a desire to have an able-bodied boyfriend. This was because I felt that maybe, if I had a boyfriend, then I would be able to fit in with the rest of the girls in my grade. Needless to say, looking back, if I could tell my younger self anything it would be to not worry about rushing into relationships. I would have told her that once you learn to love yourself above anything else, then the love of your life will come along.

Self love and Confidence is important to have when dating with Disability and Chronic Illness

That’s one of the main takeaways that I want you guys to gain from this article. In order to put yourself out there in the dating scene, you must have confidence in yourself. Only then will the person you are dating be able to see you past all your disabilities and chronic illness. This being said, I think it’s very important that you be open and honest about your conditions.

Online Dating

For example, when I was single and was on Tinder, I made sure that when I was setting up my profile I wrote in my “about me” section that I’m a 23-year old with Cerebral palsy and chronic illness. I wanted any young man that was interested in getting to know me to know that I did have these conditions and that I’m not ashamed of it. Most of the young men that messaged me were okay about it, while some were complete jerks about it. These negative experiences, however, didn’t take away from my experience of online dating and learning about how it works.

Know What You’re Looking For

The truth of the matter is that dating with chronic illness can be difficult, but as long as you know your boundaries and what qualities you’re looking for in a person that you may potentially date, it then becomes easier.

I personally look for someone who is from a good family, who has a life plan and a stable career. I also look for someone who is excited to explore the world and try new things. Positivity is an especially important characteristic for a partner to have in my opinion because when you have a condition such as mine, I think it’s important to date someone who is going to simultaneously push you and support you.

Positivity is important to look for when dating with Disability and Chronic Illness

The most important thing I have learnt about dating with disability and chronic illness is that when it comes to the dating process, it all starts with you.

Tylia Flores is a 24-year-old born with cerebral palsy. Although her condition has affected her mobility, it has never affected her will and determination to make a difference in the world. Through her many life challenges and obstacles, she discovered her passion for writing. Tylia’s goal in life is to share her stories with the world.

My Experiences with Anxiety and PTSD

My Experiences with Anxiety and PTSD

When I was first diagnosed with anxiety, PTSD, and OCD; I asked my counselor how I could have PTSD when I had never been in the military. There is so much misinformation and stigmas about anxiety and PTSD in our culture. If you have any mental illnesses, and if you have one that is normally tied to certain lifestyles/experiences, you aren’t supposed to talk about it. I have heard many times that it’s all in my head and to get over it; that if I just change the way I think, I will be fine. I developed my PTSD from a car accident I was in and some assaults that had happened while I was in college. Eventually, I had to admit to my “issues” and then talk about it with my counselor in order to try and find the best way to work through it or find coping skills/tools to be able to function in society.  I was working at the time and still am working, but I need to watch my surroundings for triggers.

There are days where I struggle with my body, both physically and mentally.  I feel like I should be helping more, but cannot due to my body that day. My anxiety makes me argue with myself and go rounds in my head, fighting the mental battle in what I should be trying to accomplish. On bad days, I second guess everything and am afraid of being judged. I give excuses for my choices and slip them into the conversations to defend my choices because I think they are judging me. No one told me that anxiety and PTSD would control every decision I make. I was never told how much it could impact my life and that I would have almost no friends because I was too anxious to go hang out.  

After having my daughters, I was diagnosed with PPD and PPA. Prior to this I had only heard about PPD because of the episode from Scrubs and never truly knew how often it was diagnosed. I just thought that it sometimes happens, I was never informed that if you already have anxiety or depression you are more prone to developing PPD or PPA or that it could develop any time up to two years postpartum. 

My Experiences of Parenting with Anxiety and PTSD

My anxiety symptoms

I had such high anxiety that I did not take my daughters anywhere and refuse to go out into public. I have fears that I am being judged as a “bad” parent, when in all honesty I am doing the best that I can physically and mentally do. I have that guilt as a parent that I am not doing enough and then I hear small comments that my daughters don’t get interactions with others their age. It then takes me a few weeks before I try to set up a playdate, and then cancel it again a couple days before to the day of.  Sometimes I have to cancel due to my body not functioning and other times I cancel because my anxiety gets in the way. It is a vicious cycle that won’t ever stop.

I had gotten a service dog to help mitigate my disabilities, mostly physical, but some mental. My service dog helps with alerting to anxiety/panic attacks and she helps lessen my triggers for my PTSD.  I have only recently become comfortable, to an extent, to talk about these things. I never wanted to admit to having PTSD or anxiety and struggled letting my husband know about them when we got engaged. I felt broken and damaged when I realized that they don’t go away, you can do counseling, therapy, etc and they will always be there.  

Unfortunately, having my service dog with me can cause more anxiety in certain situations or when I’m having a bad day mentally. Some people can be outright rude when confronting me about my service dog because I don’t seem blind (I am not blind) or I don’t look like I have served in the military (I have not). These are the stigmas in society that can cause misinformation being spread and therefore making it harder for me to get out of the house.

My PTSD Symptoms

Some of the symptoms I have to deal with because of my PTSD are: nightmares (night-terrors), guilt, poor judgement (happens a lot to me, especially through social media), flashbacks, insomnia, anxiety (with having anxiety from separate issues this is a double whammy), avoidance (I do this a lot because I play “what if” scenarios in my head), startle response (my service dog is trained to help lessen these), negative self-image, stress, and isolation. These are some of the symptoms of PTSD, there are many more, but these are the ones that I experience almost daily.

My service dog is trained to help with my PTSD and anxiety by alerting or doing a few other coping mechanisms.  She will alert when she notices my heartrate rising before I notice it, which is an indicator that I am about to go into an anxiety/panic attack.  Typically, she will then guide me out to my car or to a quieter area where I can then sit on the ground with her. She will sometimes put herself between me and what is stressing me out (I struggle with crowds).  When I am putting myself in a situation that I know will cause me to panic or have a PTSD flashback, I will give her a command to guard/watch. This is where she will turn around facing behind me, which gives me a sense of security.  If my flashbacks, anxiety/panic attacks persist after she’s guided me to a quieter place, she will then do DPT, which is deep pressure therapy. She will also use DPT for another thing that she alerts to, but this is not associated with my mental illnesses.

I Am Thankful For The Support I Recieve

With my service dog, I am able to cope better with my symptoms and function out in society better. I did not initially get a service dog to help with these things, these tasks came about soon after I was diagnosed with PTSD, which was around 3 years after I had gotten my first service dog. There are other tasks that I have added slowly as my body physically gets worse over time and as I am learning that I need more help.

Having Support from my Family and Service Dog While Coping With Anxiety and PTSD

Along with my service dog that helps me cope and function on my own, I am grateful for a great support system.  My parents, parent-in-laws, husband, and a couple friends; help me be able to enjoy life and don’t guilt me (that often) when I bail out or am struggling mentally.  I truly believe that if I didn’t have the support system that I do have, I would not be able to function as well as I do. Sometimes all I need is a good listening partner so that I can process how I am feeling and why I don’t want to leave the house.

It also helps when I have someone be able to go out on errands with me so that I do not have to be alone. Other times, they gently push me to do things that I wouldn’t normally have the guts to do, like write this article. My anxiety got in the way and it took me three weeks to write this in fear of being judged.  Lots got deleted, put back in, deleted, and then put back in again. My support system helped me to feel comfortable to write this and have it published in this blog.

What It’s Like To Have Testing Anxiety

It’s normal to feel a little nervous and stressed before a test. Just about everyone does. And a little nervous anticipation can actually help you do better on a test.  But for some people, test anxiety is more intense. The nervousness they feel before a test can be so strong that it interferes with their concentration or performance.

Test anxiety is actually a type of performance anxiety — a feeling someone might have in a situation where performance really counts or when the pressure’s on to do well. Here’s how our Guest Author described the situation for herself. 

What It's Like To Have Testing Anxiety

The Challenge

A B C or D? I look down at the test and I freeze. I feel as if my mind’s going in 15 million directions as I look up and I hear the sound the clock: tick-tock! Time is running out. My body begins to sweat and my mind begins to shiver as I stare at the test thinking I have no mercy.

That’s the life of a college student with testing anxiety which has been a part of my life from the time I was in third grade. I believe that’s when my journey with testing anxiety began.   

I was always an overachiever from a very age and I was always a child that loved school. I made it a point to make sure I received A’s and B’s (or sometimes a ”C” if it was in math) and I also made sure that I was on the honor roll and studied hard for all my tests.

Due to my Cerebral Palsy, I was placed in special education classes from kindergarten to about the 2nd grade. That’s when my special education teacher Mrs. A saw that I was ready for mainstream classes.  

After that, an IEP meeting was held, which is an individual education plan for students with special needs that attend mainstream school. My parents and they decided it would be best for me to go into regular classes since I was able to handle most of the workload, just like any other student. I simply had to receive my work in moderation. For example, if the class had an assignment where they had to answer 25 questions, I would only have to answer 10 of them.

Writing The F.C.A.T.

I was fitting in well and had a great year overall but I was starting to become anxious about the upcoming F.C.A.T., which stands for Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test. 

The F.C.A.T was mandatory for students that were in mainstream classes and throughout the year I had prepared for it as much as I could. I would take many practice tests to see how well I was doing and worked hard on my math and reading as well.  I would also do the worksheets my teacher sent home so overall I was as ready as I could be.

When it came to the day of testing I was nervous and I didn’t have the right testing accommodations. It got a bit overwhelming for me and I wound up doing poorly on the F.C.A.T. which resulted in me being held back a year.  So despite my good grades and being successful in mainstream classes, I still had to repeat a whole year which I felt was completely unfair. This lowered my self-esteem and made me think twice whether I was going to be able to be successful in school.

After that, whenever my teachers would mention a test I would freeze and sometimes even cry because I was in fear of constant failing. Finally, in 10th grade, I received the official diagnosis of ”Testing Anxiety “. I have dealt with the struggle since then, but even now (while in college) I think back to the time when I was the little 3rd grader who loved reading Flat Stanley and Captain Underpants and it makes me sad.

Getting Better

Now I’m an online college student but it’s not easy. At times I feel like my mind is glitched, especially when I have a panic attack and think back to that time in the 3rd grade. I just take a deep breath and remember to take my time. What I find helpful now when I’m tested is to put on some headphones and jam out to Blake Shelton music. It makes me forget about why I’m having a panic attack and it makes taking the test easier.

I hope that my experience helps others who suffer this way.

About The Author

Tylia Flores is a 24-year-old born with cerebral palsy. Although her condition has affected her mobility, it has never affected her will and determination to make a difference in the world. Through her many life challenges and obstacles, she discovered her passion for writing. Tylia’s goal in life is to share her stories with the world.

The Internal Struggles We Face with Multiple Chronic Illnesses.

Chronic illness is like eating potato chips – you can never have just one. At least that's true for me. I was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease in 1995 and since then I have had an avalanche of multiple other chronic illness diagnoses. From Depression and Anxiety to Fibromyalgia and Bile Salt Malabsorption to Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Insomnia. I think the chronic nausea and diarrhea are there just for fun. I might have even missed a few, but you get the idea. I have a gamut of chronic nonsense happening writhing my body.

Chronic illness is like eating potato chips – you can never have just one.  At least that’s true for me. I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease in 1995 and since then I have had an avalanche of multiple other chronic illness diagnoses. From Depression and Anxiety to Fibromyalgia and Bile Salt Malabsorption to Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Insomnia.  I think the chronic nausea and diarrhea are there just for fun. I might have even missed a few, but you get the idea. I have a gamut of chronic nonsense happening writhing my body.

The Day to Day: What will flare and what won’t?!

Sometimes everything can remain in check.  My bowels remain relatively calm and only give me somewhat minor issues. My depression and anxiety are held at bay with more positive things that might be occurring in my life. My insomnia gets tired and finally goes to sleep so I can rest. And I can sometimes even manage to move just enough, or just little enough, that my Fibromyalgia is mostly quiet and I don’t hurt as much as I usually do. Though these moments are super rare, they do occasionally happen. It’s never for long and never, ever predictable, but the moments do occur. And in those moments I feel like what I imagine a healthy person feels like; or at least someone less like myself.

Then there are the days when everything works against each other to cause complete and total anarchy in my body and brain.  A typical day like that is one of the toughest because I’m not only fighting one of my chronic illnesses, I’m fighting all of them at once. When these days happen the illnesses are just continually feeding off of each other.  It’s like fighting a Hydra – cut one head off and three more grow in its place. These days are challenging and just as unpredictable as the really good days, but somehow they happen more often.

I'm not only fighting one of my chronic illnesses, I'm fighting all of them at once. When these days happen the illnesses are just continually feeding off of each other.  It's like fighting a Hydra – cut one head off and three more grow in its place.  These days are challenging and just as unpredictable as the really good days, but somehow they happen more often.

Inside My Mind and Body with Chronic Illness

Chronic illness is like eating potato chips – you can never have just one. At least that's true for me. I was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease in 1995 and since then I have had an avalanche of multiple other chronic illness diagnoses. From Depression and Anxiety to Fibromyalgia and Bile Salt Malabsorption to Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Insomnia. I think the chronic nausea and diarrhea are there just for fun. I might have even missed a few, but you get the idea. I have a gamut of chronic nonsense happening writhing my body.

Follow me down this rabbit hole of chronic illness overload to experience what my body goes through, and how it talks to itself.

It usually starts in the early hours of the morning between 4:00am and 6:00am.

Brain:  “Wake up!”

Anxiety:  “Hey remember that feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you’re going down a roller coaster? That weird adrenaline rush feeling? Here you go. Do you feel it?”

Stomach:  “Ahh! What the heck??!!”

Body:  “Please, I’m tired.  Let’s sleep. Nothing is going on.  I’m safe. I’m warm. I’m okay. Just sleep.  Please.”

Anxiety:  “Nope. We have things to worry about.”

Body:  “Don’t wanna.  Wanna sleep.” Tries to roll over but realizes it hurts.  Elbows and wrists are stiff and achy. Legs feel heavy.

Brain:  “Nope. Not happening.”  

Bowels:  “Hey, guess what’s up?  I am! And I gotta go. NOW!”

Brain:  “Can’t we ignore you, bowels? You never play fair.”

Bowels:  “No way – gotta go – NOW!”

Body:  Manages to sit up. “Ouch, my back!”

Body:  “Must to run to the bathroom.” Quickly realizes everything hurts. Screams silently from every muscle and joint but knows we must make it to the bathroom or we’ll have an accident.  Curses bowels.

Bowels:  “We’re done.  For now. Heh, heh.”

Body:  “Please let’s go back to sleep now.  Everything hurts.” Manages to lay back in bed and get covers on top of me.

Brain:  “You can try but it isn’t going to work. I’m getting cranky.”

Anxiety:  “Remember that thing that you said but you should have said this instead?  Let’s think about that and replay the conversation twelve different ways over and over even though we know it will never happen. C’mon, it’ll be fun!”

Brain:  “No, that’s dumb.  Don’t think about anything.  Just lay here and be quiet.”

Body:  “Yes! Let’s sleep more.”

Bowels:  “NO! Let’s go again!”

Body:  I’m so tired.  I hurt so bad. Okay, I guess we’re doing this.  Throws covers off and runs to the bathroom again.

Brain:  “Maybe I am tired now.  But now I hurt. I’m going to ache and throb now.”

Depression:  “I hate everything.  I wish we could just hide under the covers and never get out of bed again. Like, ever.”

Body:  Drags self back to bed. Attempts to get comfortable.

Stomach:  “Hello? Yes, I still hurt.  I’m still here. Here’s a bad cramp because I’m feeling left out.”

Anxiety:  “What if…”

Brain:  Throb, throb, throb.

Body:  “Drink water. I need water. I’m dehydrated. Get up and get water.”

Stomach:  “Don’t do it.  I’ll reject any sort of hydration or nutrition you give me.”

Bowels:  “If Stomach doesn’t reject it I will.  Oh hey, let’s go AGAIN!”

Body:  “Ugh!” Runs to bathroom again.  “I’m so tired. I just want to lay down on the floor.  That bathroom rug looks comfortable. Let’s lay down.”

Brain:  “That floor is going to hurt so bad.  You might get down there but how are you going to get back up?” Throb, throb.

Bowels:  “Oh we’ll make sure she gets up. Heh, heh.”

Body:  “Fine, forget the floor.  I’ll go to bed.” Finally gets back to the bed and gets somewhat comfortable. “Why do I hurt so bad?  I did nothing yesterday that would cause this pain. I need a hot shower. Hey Bowels, how long until the next …. oh!” Runs to the bathroom again.

Bowels:  “Yeah, we’re doing this every fifteen minutes.  No shower for you today!”

Body: “Meh, I’m too tired to shower now anyway.”

Brain:  “What time is it now?” Throb, throb.  “Oh, we’ve only been awake an hour? It’s going to be a long, bad day.”  Throb, throb, throb.

Depression:  “I’m so tired of this. No one possibly understands how bad this is.  No one cares. This isn’t living. This is terrible. If we lay here still enough can we just stop breathing?”

Anxiety:  “But what about all the things you need to do?  What about all the things you have done? Let’s stop and reassess everything in your life right now.  Hey, remember that time in third grade when…”

Brain:  Throb, throb,  “No please, no.  Just everyone shut up!  I’m hurting.” Throb, throb, throb.

Body:  “Hey, I’ve been hurting and just want to sleep but no one is listening to me!”

Inside my mind and body with multiple chronic illnesses. Sometimes all I want to do is sleep!

Stomach:  “I don’t feel so good either. Brain pain is making me feel sick.  I think might throw up.”

Body:  “Oh no, I cannot handle retching right now.  It’s going to hurt so bad and it already feels like someone took a baseball bat to my back. Let’s try to lay back down.”

Bowels:  “Haha! No!”

And so on and so forth throughout the day as the never ending cycle of what happens when all my chronic illnesses come together and work as one, slowly feeding off of each other in another attempt to destroy me.  It’s excruciating and it’s exhausting. But somehow, every single time I make it through. These days are the worst, and even though at the time when my body is continually arguing with itself, I somehow always know that I will make it through.  The next day might not be so bad, or the day after that. So I hang on, just one more day. Because eventually, I will get one of those good days where all my chronic illnesses play nice with each other. And those are the best days.

Jenni Lock is the creator of Jenni’s Guts blog and writes about her journey with intestinal nonsense and other chronic health issues. Her sense of humor, sarcasm, and willingness to talk about the things most people just think are all part of her charm. Jenni is a nurse, however is unable to work due to struggling with Crohn’s disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Bile Acid Malabsorption, chronic nausea and diarrhea, Fibromyalgia, Anxiety, Depression, Insomnia and PTSD. Learn more about Jenni and her guts at