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12 Important Things to Remember About Crohn’s Disease

12 Important Things to Remember About Crohn’s Disease

If someone in your life has Crohn’s disease, you might be curious about what exactly this condition is and what kind of problems that it brings. But you might be nervous about bringing the subject up or talking about it with your friend or loved one. This article serves as a guide to Crohn’s disease and the things you should remember if someone in your life has this difficult condition.

They deal with a lot of pain

Crohn’s disease causes inflammation and can affect any area of the digestive tract–most commonly the small and large intestines. This inflammation causes sometimes severe abdominal pain that can be difficult to control, especially during the flare-up. If the pain is chronic, it can interfere with general activities of daily living.

They have other digestive symptoms as well

Apart from abdominal pain, people with this condition can have other digestive problems as well. They will frequently suffer from diarrhea or constipation, abdominal cramping and bloating,  and bleeding from the rectum. They will sometimes also develop fistulas, usually around the rectal area.

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They might have a very restricted diet

While everyone with Crohn’s disease is different, there are some foods which researchers suspect can make the problem worse. Many people with this condition find that a low dairy, low fat and low residue diet are the most helpful for managing digestive problems. So don’t be offended if they don’t want to go out for pizza; it is probably not on the list of things that they can eat.

They often need supplements

Because their diet can be so restrictive, sometimes people with Crohn’s disease do not get enough nutrients in their diet. They will often have to also take oral supplements, like those for calcium, vitamin D or iron. They might also get shots, like B-12 injections, in order to make up for this deficit. In extreme cases, if they are not able to get enough food down, they will have to be fed through a g-tube or through an IV.

They can get infections easily

Sometimes, in order to control their condition, people with Crohn’s disease have to be given special medications like Imuran, which suppress their immune system. While Imuran can help those with Chrohn’s, it also means that the person’s body is less able to fight off infections–and this can make it a lot easier to get sick.

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They have to deal with severe side effects from medications

Apart from lowering their immunity, there are other side effects from medications that can make life difficult for those with this condition. Azulifidine, for example, is a common treatment but its side effects can include nausea with vomiting and diarrhea, as well as heartburn and headaches. Steroid treatment is also common to reduce inflammation, but it can cause problems like swelling of the face and hands, water weight and general weight gain and insomnia, just to name a few.

They might require surgery

In about half of all cases, Crohn’s disease becomes severe enough that surgery is required to remove the affected part of the digestive tract, such as a portion of the intestines. However, this usually only brings temporary relief and often the disease will occur again.

They might need help to manage stress

While stress does not cause Crohn’s disease, it can make it worse. Learning stress relief techniques like deep breathing exercises or meditation can help them manage their day to day stress and hopefully help prevent a flare-up.

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They might use complementary therapies

Many people with Crohn’s disease also turn to complementary or alternative medicines to help with day-to-day management of their condition. This can include supplements like probiotics or fish oil, or even techniques like acupuncture, which have been shown to help control several disease symptoms.

They have more treatment options than in the past

One positive thing about this condition is that there are more treatment options for it than in the past. Research is underway with techniques, like stem cell treatments and fecal transplants, that might help to greatly improve the lives of those with Crohn’s disease.

They still have sexual needs

Just like anyone else, people with Crohn’s Disease have sexual desires and feelings. However, because of pain and digestive problems like diarrhea, this disease can make sex more of a challenge. With good communication and a willingness to experiment with different positions and techniques, a satisfying sex life is still possible.

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They need emotional support

Because of the challenges that people with Crohn’s disease can face in everyday life, emotional support of family and friends is vital. Just being there for them and letting them know that you want to help can make a huge difference!

In short, this is not an easy condition to live with. Simple things like eating, going to the bathroom, being intimate with someone, or even just being free of pain can present huge obstacles for people with Crohn’s disease. Again, simply having the support of family and friends can help with an overall positive attitude and emotional health even in the face of these challenges.

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Brian Wu

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Last Updated on August 13, 2020

12 Benefits of Meditation That Improve Your Body And Mind

12 Benefits of Meditation That Improve Your Body And Mind

As a mediation teacher, I am constantly confronted with these two questions regarding the benefits of meditation:

1. Why can’t I enjoy the benefits of meditation continuously?

I ask back: Is it maybe because you see mediation as a technique, performance, or some exclusive activity? The answer is: yes!

Or, because your mind is constantly evolving on the past negative attachments and traditional habits? After careful thinking they answer: yes, probably!

Although meditation is very simple and challenging at the same time, in the above mentioned case, it’s not easy to benefit from meditation, especially when approached with the idea that it has to be learned, studied, or applied. Meditation is to be seen as a natural, mental cleansing process that happens on a basis of awareness on a moment-to-moment experience. When that takes place, the benefits of meditation are continuous.

2. What is the purpose of meditation?

The purpose of meditation is to accomplish a level of consciousness for mastering the mind and uniting with the finest, deepest, and subtlest part of yourself as a being.

It is a conscious process of observation of the mind—helping the meditator to understand the structure of its mind and the quality of its content. During this process, countless benefits of a physical, mental, and spiritual/philosophical nature arise for the meditator.

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Meditation as a Fixer and Benefactor

In this article we’ll have a look at the primary and the ultimate benefits of mediation, which improve your body and mind at the same time. For the sake of clarity, readability, and tangible experience, I have separated the benefits into three groups.

You can change just about anything you don’t like about yourself (psychologically, as well as physically) through meditation. However, this is only possible with a specific approach, when your brain allows the benefits of meditation to do their work.

This means not to interrupt the benefit with other thoughts, but to let their effect implement itself in your body and mind. This approach is crucial.

The following exercises will make you feel the benefits of meditation instantly, but the continuity of the benefits of meditation on your body and mind depend on the discipline of your brain, how you manage external stimuli and your thoughts.

Less Physical, More Psychological

Even though the practice of meditation is more psychological and less physical, the first benefit we’re going to experience is both physical as well as mental.

This benefit happens literally immediately, right at the moment of meditation. It is the essence of mediation basically.

The First Benefit of Meditation

The first benefit of meditation is twofold:

  1. Improving inward attention (sharpening the mind)
  2. Relaxation of the body

Let’s do it right now. This benefit consists of only one step, and it is very simple to perform. It goes like this:

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Sit still and pay attention to your exhalation.

That’s it! Technically, the whole journey into the world of mediation begins here and nowhere else. And right here, you benefit from this step in the following way:

When you pay attention to the flow of your exhalation (gentle, deep, effortless exhalation), your body begins with the process of relaxation instantly (your heart rate slows down, your nervous system calms, and tension in your muscles is relieved).

When the nervous system calms, your mind calms down, and, more specifically, less thoughts are produced by your mind. How, exactly? By applying one of the most valuable mental skills—attention—the mind follows the breathing and has no space and time to generate any other thoughts. Only when the attention goes off the breath, other thoughts are constructed, and the mind is accelerating with thought production again.

Keeping the First Benefit Effective and Ongoing

Here you apply the approach of not letting the relaxation and attention process get interrupted; rather let the effects of these benefits implant in your body and mind as deeply as possible.

This is to say, the instant relaxation and inward attention happen at the same time when you follow the flow of your breath. Repeating this process—creating a constant rhythm out of the breathing and the attention—you create a process of meditation.

Keep your attention on the flow of your breath and see how the calmness of body and mind begin to rule your present moment. The longer you stay connected to your breathing, the stronger you’ll feel the benefit. Start with 3-5 minutes at a time without doing anything else, and increase to 10-20 minutes and onwards.

Can you think of a better, simpler and quicker exercise that can relax the body and improve attention in this way, at this speed?

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This benefit takes you to the second one.

The Second Benefit of Meditation

While still working with the first benefit of mediation, you slowly start to see the second benefit of mediation, which is fourfold. I call it the major value of mediation:

  1. Energy (physical and mental strength)
  2. Observance
  3. Peacefulness (stillness, and space of mind for deeper observation)
  4. Patience

Peacefulness is the source of a blissful life. The energy is the fuel to express that blissfulness. Whatever we want to accomplish in life we need: 1) Physical and mental strength, 2) Observance of that energy, 3) Peacefulness—the calmness and stillness that creates space for freedom of being and creative thinking, and 4) Patience for the process of accomplishment.

You can only get creative in thinking and boosted with physical and mental energy when you get in touch with the deepest levels of yourself—when you harmonize your mental and physiological activities. How do you do that? Let’s try it right now:

This step involves the observation of the two separate movements of your breath. After paying attention on your exhalation, you have prepared your body and mind to really see and feel what true peacefulness and true energy means.

1. Energy

Keep your attention on your inhalation (inhaling gently, deeply and lightly) and feel the new energy (new oxygen) flowing in your body. The inhalation is the symbol for aliveness and vitality. It is the the primary act that connects the baby’s body with the outside world after coming out of the womb[1]. Each inhalation is a new opportunity for your body to revive, regenerate, and renew itself.

2. Observance

The observance comes during the process of meditation, enabling you to see the physiological benefits of introducing new energy to your body. Use that benefit by utilizing its effects, and create deeper observation into yourself. With every single inhalation, this observation will enable you to generate even more energy, mentally and physically.

3. Peacefulness

Keep your attention on your exhalation, and feel how, out of the relaxation, peacefulness is spreading throughout your whole body. The exhalation is the symbol for relaxation and peacefulness. Only through meditation can you realize what absolute peacefulness means.

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4. Patience

The meditation delivers the previous benefits to you immediately and opens up the possibility for many other benefits and great virtues. A specific one to mention, which is essential for reaching the ultimate benefits of meditation, is patience. If you have experienced the aforementioned benefits, it means that you have invested a certain amount of patience into mastering yourself and your mind.

The Ultimate Benefits of Meditation

Patience is a key quality when it comes to the ultimate benefits of meditation.

Since the mind is the tool that reveals everything, mediation is the method for the proper utility of the tool.

The above mentioned benefits of mediation lead to the ultimate benefits of mediation—qualities that depict what makes a human being human. As you dwell in a meditative state of being, the following benefits begin to emanate:

  • Diligence: the persistence for righteous effort to reach an intrinsic value; inner strength.
  • Temperance: to express self-control and show excellence in managing the physio-biological and mental necessities
  • Courage: using righteous effort and braveness to look into the weaknesses of yourself and at the hardship of your life, endure it and patiently overcome the obstacles
  • Loving kindness and Compassion – a capacity to care, understand, and tolerate other people’s state of being, wishing them freedom from suffering.
  • Wisdom: the moment when you feel that mediation gives you the feeling and the knowledge that what you do relating to life and practical affairs is just.
  • Equanimity: that puts you in a state of composure, and you experience an ongoing blissful state of being.

These are the 6 ultimate benefits of meditation that put your body and mind in a state of health and balance.

Final Thoughts

Mediation exists to put order in your mind and awaken the best of you, to reconnect you to your goodness and your inborn intelligent capabilities.

Meditation is the window to your true Self. It gives you a panoramic view of your heart’s greatness. It shows you the true meaning of love, freeing you from the dungeons of ignorance and despair. The power of meditation dismantles the evil that’s trying to cloud the beauty of your heart.

Your heart, body, and soul are the bridge over which the challenges of life frequently carry their heavy load. Meditation is the support of that bridge. Make use of that support.

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Featured photo credit: Mor Shani via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Medline Plus: Changes in the newborn at birth

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