Positive psychology is a rapidly growing field that focuses on developing positive psychological states such as happiness, fulfillment, and well-being. One way to achieve these states is through mindfulness, which involves being fully present and engaged in the current moment. The Mindfulness-to-Meaning Theory suggests that mindfulness can lead to greater meaning and purpose in life, which can have a positive impact on overall well-being. This theory can also be applied to the recovery process of vaginismus, as it can help women develop a positive mindset and find meaning in their healing journey.
Chronic pain and addiction are two areas where the Mindfulness-to-Meaning Theory has been applied successfully. Researchers have found that mindfulness-based interventions can be effective in reducing chronic pain and substance use, as well as improving overall quality of life. By focusing on the present moment and developing greater awareness of one’s thoughts and emotions, individuals can develop a more positive and meaningful relationship with their pain.
The same principles can be applied to the recovery process of vaginismus. Women with vaginismus often experience significant pain and discomfort during sexual activity, which can have a negative impact on their overall well-being, quality of life, or relationship with their partner. By incorporating mindfulness practices into their recovery process, women with vaginismus can develop a more positive and engaged attitude towards their healing journey, therefore improving their overall quality of life and relationship with their partner.
Mindfulness can help women with vaginismus become more aware of their thoughts and emotions, which can help them identify negative beliefs and attitudes that may be hindering their recovery. For example, a woman may hold beliefs such as “I will never be able to have sex without pain,” or “My body is broken.” These negative beliefs can contribute to greater levels of pain and distress, and can prolong the recovery process.
Through mindfulness practices such as meditation, strategic breathing, and body awareness, women with vaginismus can learn to identify and challenge negative beliefs and develop a more positive and hopeful attitude towards their vaginismus recovery. By focusing on the present moment and developing greater awareness of their bodies and sensations, women can become more comfortable with the use of dilators and other challenging interventions.
Furthermore, the Mindfulness-to-Meaning Theory suggests that finding meaning in one’s experiences can contribute to greater overall well-being. Women with vaginismus may find meaning in their healing journey by focusing on their personal growth and development, as well as the positive impact that their recovery can have on their relationships and overall quality of life.
For me, my vaginismus healing journey showed me how externally derived beliefs were impacting not just my sexual healing, but also my entire being. I was not aware of how much external influence I was subjecting myself to- my beliefs about myself, God, my husband, my body… they were all mostly externally derived. Practicing introspection and mindfulness during my vaginismus journey revealed many negatively impacting belief patters I was holding onto. Once I recognized this, I was free to be healed not just from vaginismus, but these harmful and limiting beliefs. Which, of course, greatly impacted my quality of life, improved my relationship with God, and allowed me to more vulnerably connect to my husband.
The Mindfulness-to-Meaning Theory can be a useful framework for understanding who you are in your vaginismus recovery journey. By incorporating mindfulness practices into your recovery journey, you can develop a more positive and engaged attitude towards your healing, identify and challenge negative beliefs, and find meaning in who you are and what you’ve experienced.
Pain-free Intimacy has developed a comprehensive and holistic 12-week journey based on mindfulness-to-meaning theory, as well as many other researched-based approaches to help you heal from the mind-body-pain cycle of vaginismus to enjoy fun, pain-free sex the way it was designed to be! For more information, click the link below to schedule a consultation.
- Garland, E. L., Froeliger, B., & Howard, M. O. (2014). Mindfulness training targets neurocognitive mechanisms of addiction at the attention-appraisal-emotion interface. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 4, 173. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2013.00173
- Eric L Garland, Barbara L Fredrickson (2019). Positive psychological states in the arc from mindfulness to self-transcendence: extensions of the Mindfulness-to-Meaning Theory and applications to addiction and chronic pain treatment. Current Opinion in Psychology, Volume 28, Pages 184-191, ISSN 2352-250X, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.copsyc.2019.01.004.