When a child is living with a skin condition like psoriasis or eczema, their parent’s mindset may impact the whole family’s quality of life. A recent study in the journal Mindfulness suggests that cultivating mindfulness may help.
Mindfulness can be described as “living in the moment,” or focusing on the present, rather than on the past or future. The practice entails noticing one’s own internal feelings as well as what is going on in the surrounding world. Past studies have found that people who are more mindful tend to have less stress, anxiety, and depression. In this study, researchers sought to learn more about mindfulness in parents who were caring for children with skin conditions.
Researchers found that parents’ mindfulness affected both the parents’ and the children’s well-being. They also found that stress, anxiety, or depression adversely impacted parents’ levels of mindfulness.
“These findings suggest that parents who are able to pay attention to their current activities without distraction, whilst also being able to recognize thoughts and feelings without being self-critical, are less likely to experience high levels of parental stress associated with parenting a child with a chronic skin disease,” the researchers concluded.
For the study, authors asked 210 parents of children with psoriasis or eczema to fill out questionnaires. Participants were recruited from social media and dermatology clinics in the United Kingdom. The questionnaires analyzed various aspects of mental health and quality of life, and measured how mindful the parents were. Most of the children also filled out a questionnaire in which they reported the ways in which their skin disorder affected different parts of their life.
Many books, websites, and smartphone apps are available to help people develop mindfulness. Some meditation exercises can help with mindfulness, such as focusing on your breathing or performing a body-scan meditation.