6 Enjoyable Ways to Meditate When You’re Sick

7 enjoyable ways to meditate when you're sick

It’s an indisputable fact that mindfulness meditation offers remarkable benefits. But who wants to focus on their body or breath when they’ve got aching bones or a runny nose? It’s natural to not feel like doing anything when we’re sick. However, there’s no better time to meditate than this. The body and mind need relaxation during this period, which is precisely what meditation provides.

To meditate when you’re sick, take it as a challenge. Forget about posture because meditation is an act of awareness, and you can also do it while lying down. Notice your mental states and stop resisting your condition. Lastly, take it easy; don’t overthink & remind yourself that things will change.

In this article, we’ll discuss six enjoyable ways to meditate when you’re sick. These meditation techniques will make you feel lighter, calmer, and energized. We’ll first look at a few tips to stay meditative during your illness. Then, we’ll discuss the meditation techniques and the benefits of meditating for sickness.

Table of Contents

Tips for meditating when you’re sick

Physical sickness also affects our mood. We may not feel like meditating when we’re sick or in pain. But if you want to stick to your practice, you must show some discipline.

So before we dive into the meditation techniques, here are a few things you can do to stay meditative even when you’re ill:

Have a positive perspective

I don’t mean you should be happy about getting sick. You and I haven’t reached the state where bodily pain bothers us no more. What I’m saying is that rather than seeing cold or flu as a hindrance to your practice, take it as a great challenge. It will give you the energy to stick to your practice regardless of the powerful sensations.

When the body is stressed, the mind becomes more restless. It means you must put more effort to keep your mind on the object of meditation. The number of times your mind gets distracted will increase manifold, but that’s all part of the challenge.

Drop resistance

When you’re sick, you’ll often have thoughts like I shouldn’t be feeling this way or This isn’t right; why am I sick? These thoughts are resisting the truth of how your body is feeling. They’re the primary source of distraction and make the mind restless.

If instead, we drop the resistance and allow ourselves to feel the discomfort, we would be more at peace. It’ll allow us to focus on our practice and feel better. Again, it’s not about rejoicing in our sickness; it’s about lovingly accepting the situation. Don’t pretend to be happy; just acknowledge that this is how you feel, and eventually, it will change.

Pay attention to the physical sensations and embrace them with no labels or judgments. You may have difficulties accepting everything at first, but it’ll become easier after some time.

Forget posture

We’ve talked about the importance of correct posture in one of the other articles: Meditating on a chair vs on the ground ­–which is better?

However, since you’re ill, I’ll suggest you forget about the posture. If you can cross your legs, great. If not, that’s okay.

So don’t stress yourself about the position in which you meditate. Be patient with your situation and kind to yourself.

Be easy on yourself

Meditation is restorative. So, when you meditate while being sick, you’re allowing the serenity and patience of meditation to treat your body with love and care. When mindfulness removes all our labels and negative reactions, the body and mind can work together to recover.

While meditation is marvelous, sometimes rest is what the body needs the most. So when you’re sick, don’t fuss about missing a day or two of meditation in favor of rest. Don’t go too hard on yourself. Know that you’ll come back stronger after the rest.

Also read: 4 Simple Meditations to Stop Overthinking Immediately

6 types of meditation to try when you’re sick

Before we dive into the techniques, let’s answer a question.

Can meditation cure fever? Is there any meditation for cold and flu? While meditation helps your body relax and work optimally, it doesn’t directly cure fever, cold, or flu.

However, it makes things easier for you. You’ll be less stressed and more prepared to deal with the situation. So here are 6 meditation techniques for when you’re sick:

1. Deep breathing

Meditation is anything that can calm your mind and improve your focus. You can easily get your mind off sneezing and sniffing by using your breaths to train your attention. You can do it in any position you like—sitting on a chair, lying down, or sitting on the ground.

It has remarkable health benefits, such as increased immunity, lowered heart rate, improved core muscle stability, and lowered blood pressure. Apart from the physical benefits, deep breathing also makes you calm and reduces stress.

The serenity that comes with deep breathing feels ethereal. Also, when you’re not stressed, your immune system can function at its full capacity, enabling your body to recover faster.

This meditation may be difficult to do if your nose is stuffy. In that case, skip it. Mindfulness meditation will be an excellent choice if your illness makes deep breathing a challenge.

How to do it

  • Start by taking a few deep breaths. Make sure you’re breathing from your belly.
  • Notice the subtle physical movements that follow your breathing. Be aware of each inhalation and exhalation.

You can also add positive visualization to boost the effects of this meditation. With every inhalation, feel that you’re breathing in the healing energy of the universe. As you breathe out, exhale all the negativity or tension.

You can also use guided instructions to make it easier to meditate this way. Here’s an excellent resource:

2. Mantra meditation

Mantras are repetitive sounds that work as affirmations and elevate our consciousness. They aren’t only self-suggestions though. Mantras have power, and we can tap into their energy to heal ourselves.

Your illness can make you tired and you may not want to concentrate on your breath or observe sensory experiences. With mantras, you don’t even have to close your eyes if you don’t feel like it. You can chant them out loud, whisper them to yourself, or recite them in your mind.

Chanting a mantra when you’re sick will make you feel better and energized. It’s a wonderful way to stick to your spiritual practice.

How to do it

  • Pick your desired mantra. It can be a spiritual mantra or an affirmation.
  • Gently repeat it to yourself. Again, you can either chant it out loud, whisper it to yourself, or recite it in your head.
  • You can also sync it to your breath, repeating it with every inhalation and exhalation.

Here are some simple affirmations or mantras you can use. You may feel that the affirmations aren’t true for you, but repeating them will have positive effects on your physical and mental health.

  • Om (best one)
  • I love myself in totality and I radiate energy.
  • I am peaceful.
  • Om Mani Padme Hum (meaning “The jewel is in the lotus,” or “praise to the jewel in the lotus.”)

If you would like to know more about mantra meditation, read this article on the purpose of mantra in meditation.

3. Mindfulness meditation

I’ve experienced being stuck with an endless stream of thoughts while I lay feverish on my bed. It’s an undesirable experience. Mindfulness meditation teaches us to slow down the racing thoughts and calm both the mind and body.

Mindfulness is a mental state that’s fully focused on the present moment. It’s when your mind isn’t wandering, and you’re able to recognize and accept your thoughts, emotions, and sensations without judgment.

How to do it

  • Close your eyes and relax.
  • Notice any discomfort in your body. There’ll always be some unwanted sensation in some parts of the body. You can also scan your body and acknowledge all the unique sensations.
  • Another way to practice mindfulness is to focus on your breath. Pay attention to your belly rising and falling, or the sensations of inhalations and exhalations in your nostrils.

I’ve seen that guided meditation can be excellent when you want to practice mindfulness for a few minutes. Here’s a wonderful mindfulness session:

4. Visualization

Visualization is a technique that allows you to feel the positive feelings associated with the fulfilment of a future goal. Anyone wanting to improve their lives can use it. You want to visualize positivity and physical well-being filling your body.

Before you visualize though, I would suggest you meditate for at least a few minutes. When you’re in that calm, meditative state, it’s easier to imagine vividly, and it also boosts the effects of visualization.

How to do it

  • Relax and close your eyes.
  • Meditate for a few minutes. It can be deep breaths, mantra chanting, or mindfulness meditation.
  • Now, start visualizing. You can keep your eyes closed or open them if it suits you better.
  • Imagine roots growing from your feet. They keep growing and ultimately connect with the core of the earth. The earth, with its gravitational force, pulls all the negativity and stress from your body.
  • Now, imagine branches growing out of your head and reaching into the sky. They keep growing and ultimately connect to an enormous ball of energy. This source of energy pours positivity and love into your body.
  • You can also do this when you go to bed. That way, the earth, and the sky will keep nourishing you throughout the night.

5. Loving-kindness

This Buddhist practice aims to instill kindness within us. It’s a popular self-care technique and is very effective in making us more compassionate. In this meditation, we send loving energy toward ourselves and others.

Research shows that we can use loving-kindness meditation to boost our well-being and reduce stress. It’s a wonderful practice, and It’ll instantly make you peaceful and have a healing effect on you.

How to do it

  • Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths to settle in.
  • Repeat three or more positive phrases to yourself. Here are a few, but you can also create your own:
    • May I be happy
    • May I be safe
    • May I be peaceful, healthy, and strong
  • Enjoy this feeling of compassion and peace for a few moments.
  • Now, imagine other people, starting from your loved ones and eventually the entire mankind. Repeat the same phrases for everyone:
    • May they be happy
    • May they be safe
    • May they be peaceful, healthy, and strong
  • When you feel that the meditation is complete, open your eyes.

6. Tonglen

Tonglen is another Buddhist practice aimed at awakening compassion. It seems counterintuitive at first. Why would you want to breathe in the suffering of others when you are sick? That’s the point of this practice—realizing that people are suffering more than us and sending out love and compassion to them.

Practicing tonglen frees us from our usual patterns of selfishness, opening our hearts and connecting us with our true, compassionate nature. It helps us see that we’re not the only ones suffering XYZ. Many people have gone through equal or more pain and emerged healthy on the other side. Or they’re going through it and need healing and positivity just like ourselves.

How to do it

  • Rest your mind in the state of stillness for a few seconds, opening yourself to the limitless compassion within you.
  • Focus on any painful situation. Here, you’ll focus on the illness you now have. Many people are in the same or worse plight.
  • Breathe in the fear and pain of all the people struggling with an illness, including yourself. Imagine these feelings fading in an emptiness within you.
  • Breathe out positivity, health, and clarity for all these people.

Won’t I become heavy and full of negativity if I do this? No. Tonglen is about opening the door to our compassionate nature. The negativity and suffering you breathe in will vanish in the unlimited spaciousness of shunya (emptiness or nothing) within you.

I’ve written a full article about the technique and benefits of Tonglen meditation. Read it here: Tonglen Meditation: What It Is and How to Practice

Benefits of meditating while sick

While we may not feel like doing anything when we’re sick, meditation is what our body needs, along with rest and medical treatment. Medicines will cure the body, and meditation will free the mind from fear and stress.

Here are a few remarkable benefits of meditating when you’re sick:

Meditation reduces stress and anxiety

As we’ve said, physical illness affects our mood. The body may release stress hormones into the bloodstream or the mind may become anxious. Meditation can relieve stress and anxiety, allowing us to go through this tough period with grace.

Studies show that meditation reduces cortisol levels in our body, which is associated with stress. When we’re in a meditative state, the body also releases endorphins, which are natural pain relievers and mood elevators. Another review of studies shows that meditation eases anxiety as well.

So meditation will not only help you deal with the illness mentally, but it’ll also support the body in its recovery.

Meditation lowers heart rate and blood pressure

Meditation helps the body stay calm and restore itself. It works to reduce anxiety and stress in the mind, which lowers the heart rate and blood pressure. Research also shows how eight weeks of mindfulness meditation reduced the blood pressure of patients with hypertension.

It also offers various other health benefits, such as improved self-regulation, enhanced emotional health, and increased self-awareness and immunity.

Meditation improves your sleep

Most of us typically have difficulties falling asleep. The wandering thoughts continue to interfere with our sleep, and we keep tossing and turning in bed. And that’s when the body is healthy.

When we’re sick, it may become more difficult to slip away into a restful sleep. Meditation doesn’t solve the problem altogether, but it can help. Research shows that meditation is useful in treating insomnia.

If we meditate just before going to bed, the mind will be calmer, and it’ll be easier for us to fall asleep.

Meditation and chronic illness

It can also help you cope with a chronic illness. Having a mere common cold or flu can be stressful, leave alone chronic pain—symptoms that’ll never really go away. Mindfulness reduces stress, which has an immense impact on our mental and physical well-being.

A study even found that patients had actual changes in their gene expression following an eight-week meditation course. These changes were related to chronic illness: inflammation, glucose metabolism, and circadian rhythms. All the participants struggled with hypertension and more than half of them found meditation to be helpful.

Meditation and cancer

If we’re sick with a life-threatening condition like cancer, we constantly face stressful and difficult situations, such as side effects and decisions about the treatment. Any cancer is difficult to deal with, but the terminal or difficult-to-cure ones, like mesothelioma or last stage-cancers, are especially traumatic.

A study compared two groups of cancer patients, one of which practiced mindfulness. The patients who practiced meditation experienced reduced stress, by as much as a third, as compared to those who didn’t meditate.

So while meditation may not directly help with chronic or life-threatening diseases, it can make our lives easier and help us handle it.

Final thoughts

We’ve discussed how meditation and illness affect each other and meditation techniques for a sick person along with their benefits. I hope you found this article useful.

Remember, you might have to show some courage to meditate even when you’re sick. At the same time, don’t be too hard on yourself, and take a break if you need to.

Good luck and happy meditating! 😊

About the author

I was introduced to spiritual practice at the age of 12. I didn't find it intriguing back then, but my curiosity about life has brought me to spirituality again, and I've been reading others' insights and learning from life for over three years. You can read more about me here.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply