Mindfulness. A Cure for the Hiccups?

The next time you have the hiccups, try this:

Get someplace quiet, where you can be undisturbed for 5-10 minutes, and sit comfortably.  Close your eyes, and notice your breath for a minute or two.  Just allow the hiccups to be, as they are, and allow your reaction to them to soften.  Next, allow yourself to become totally curious about hiccupping.  Really notice what it feels like to hiccup.  Where in your body do you feel it?  What does it feel like?  Don’t judge it, or try to change it.  Just notice it as clearly and fully as possible.  Then, try to notice what it feels like as your body is preparing to hiccup – the “pre-hiccup”, if you will.  Where in your body does it come from?  What does it feel like?  What is the sequence of events that actually leads to the hiccup?  Become completely and openly curious about this thing happening in your body.  Do this until you feel done.

So what did you notice?  Please comment below, or email me, because I would love to know.

I know what my experience has been, which I’ll share below, but I’d love it if you’d try the exercise before you read it, so as to not potentially influence your experience.  I’m really curious about whether my experience (and yours) is universal or individual.  If I get enough responses, I’ll pull them together and share with you what I’ve learned.

So, here’s my experience.  I found … that my hiccups stopped.  Not just once.  But 3 different times, on 3 different occasions!  As soon as I became very curious about my hiccups, and tried to really feel one from beginning to end, I didn’t hiccup again.  I’m not quite sure why, but I’ve never done this and had my hiccups continue.  Very curious.

I think it has to do with mindfulness.  I’ve heard and read a lot about mindfulness … the practice of being totally in the present, noticing what is, not trying to figure out or change things, becoming openly curious.  I’ve read about the healing properties of this practice.  I’ve experienced how much more sane and happy I feel when I am fully “in the present”.  And I’ve worked with my clients to have them become more present in their bodies, to become more curious about their pain … and seen how helpful this can be.  So I think there’s something about mindfulness that changes things.
But I also think it might have something to do with the power of the observer.  Quantum physics has shown that the very act of observing an event changes that event (see this article: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/02/980227055013.htm for a fascinating description of this study).

So perhaps the very act of observing the hiccups changes them?

Who knows?  But it sure is interesting.  I hope to hear from you about your experience with this.


4 thoughts on “Mindfulness. A Cure for the Hiccups?”

  1. Johannes Bronkhorst

    I think you are right. It has worked with me many times. I think it has to do with the fact that the line between conscious and unconscious processes is flexible. Hiccups are unconscious processes. Mindfulness (or at any rate the method you follow in stopping hiccups) shift that line.

    1. That’s a good point … the line between conscious and unconscious being flexible! I hadn’t thought of it in that way before. Thank you!

  2. yeah this certainly works. I did it before I knew what mindfulness is. just focus on the breath and noticing precisely where its coming from simply eliminates the hiccup. However in my case they tend to come back after a while

  3. Easier: Get your stopwatch out and count the amount of hiccups for about 2 minutes… Just by counting and focusing on that, the hiccups will disappear.

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