Following my daughter’s diagnosis of neurofibromatosis, a complex incurable genetic condition, I needed a path to reduce risks to her health.
She was a year old at the time and I had to do all I could to protect her. I read extensively about the diagnosis and its complications as well as evidence on factors that improve health.
It then become clear to me just how important lifestyle is in improving health and reducing or reversing disease. I couldn’t believe the weight of evidence supporting such simple measures as eating healthily, exercising more, sleeping better and de-stressing. All things that anyone can do without any serious side effects!
Meditation results in neuroplacticity, the brains ability to grow new neurons and change structurally”
Since then I practice lifestyle medicine as part of my routine general practice and recommend these measures to all my patients. I wouldn’t be focusing on it with my daughter unless I believed in it so much. Genes may deal out your cards but you can decide how you play them. Lifestyle medicine can help reduce your risk of future disease, even if it does run in your family.
Committing to daily meditation became essential after a series of difficult events in my life. My daughter’s initial diagnosis and numerous hospital visits was obviously challenging for me, even as a medic. Then, I was divorcing with an 8 month old baby and 2 year old who was facing her own challenges as well as being a busy GP.
Juggling work and home life was tough, I seemed to be racing the clock from morning till night. As if all that wasn’t enough, my fears were confirmed when my daughter was later diagnosed with a brain tumor. That was my sink or swim moment. That’s when I realised that I needed meditation to help me cope. Yes, it was difficult at the start and hard not to be distracted by how much I had on my plate.
Make time to find time”
However, I committed to regular practice, knowing if I stuck with it, I would eventually feel the benefits. Now, I feel in the driving seat of my life and I feel more positive, energetic and healthier than ever. I couldn’t take anything off my plate but I learned to make my plate bigger! I also practice it with my daughter and I know she is getting so much benefit from it.
There is so much scientific evidence to show that meditation leads to improved health and wellbeing and I have experienced this first hand, so as doctor I feel obliged to share this knowledge. I hope this spaces enables me to do this and for others to benefit from meditation as much as I have.