Suchness and Mindfulness by Ed Glauser, M.Ed., N.C.C., LPC

November 21, 2013 at 6:33 pm | Posted in Adolescents, Insomnia, Migraine Headaches, Mind Body Medicine, Mindfulness, Pain Management, Pain Relief, Self-Regulation, Sleep Health, Stress Management, Trauma, Underserved Youth | 1 Comment

The word “suchness” has become one of the most helpful words I have used to deepen the practice of mindfulness and to heal areas of distress not only for myself but also in my clinical psychotherapy practice with clients. Saying the word, “suchness” immediately takes the edge off the pain and suffering I may be feeling at the time, and allows for a kinder, accepting approach to any distress I may be encountering.

I have found that saying, “this is the suchness of my present moment experience” creates ease and peace, which are useful resources to draw upon when I feel any kind of mental or physical distress. Suchness goes to the very root of mindfulness practice. The essence of mindfulness is being in the present moment, accepting what is in the present moment, knowing it is temporary, and that we are much more than our present moment experience. It is an experience of non-judgment, acceptance, kindness, compassion, and allowing for what is to come next.

Suchness creates an ideal space to just experience what Martin Buber calls the, “I and Thou,” or in more Buddhist terms, the experience of “equanimity,” where we can be in relationship to the present moment with an experience of fullness, awe, appreciation, and gratitude.

When I am counseling my clients, I do my very best to accept the suchness of their way of being, their unique experience of their issues of concern, and engender acceptance, ease, and warmth with them in each moment. The energy of suchness then creates the conditions for healing, space, and freedom for my clients to tap into their own self-healing resources.

So the next time you are aware of a mental or physical distress, you may consider saying, “this is the suchness of my present moment experience.” You may then want to breathe in and out while being aware of all the temporary mental and physical formations for a few minutes, returning to each moment with the experience of the suchness of the present moment, and allowing the healing to begin anew. In this way, we are bringing a refreshingly open attitude to the infinite creative and healing possibilities of the present moment in service of our highest good.

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(with contributing editors Heather Butts, JD, MPH, MA, Larry Cammarata, Ph.D., and  Linda Cammarata, RN, RYT)


Self-Soothing, Part 2: A Mindful Practice for Health & Wellness Linda Cammarata, RN, RYT Consultant, Contributing Editor

November 13, 2013 at 12:53 am | Posted in Insomnia, Mind Body Medicine, Mindfulness, Pain Management, Self-Regulation, Sleep Health, Stress Management | 4 Comments

 self soothing part 2 pic

Self-soothing practices to consider:

  • Maintain an attitude of gentleness in your communication. Practice this gentle manner of communication with yourself and especially with those you are closest to in your life. This is a method of emotional regulation, which supports and balances your moods.
  • Participate in mindful movement classes like yoga and qigong. Learn how slow movements can help you to self-soothe and enhance your health and energy.
  • Along with movement classes, if possible, receive regular therapeutic massages.
  • Ventilate your thoughts, emotions, and actions by taking a 20-30 minute walk everyday. Walk by yourself or with another person who embodies compassion. A compassionate, caring presence (internally or in relationship to another) can create conditions for greater ease and acceptance that support self-soothing.
  • After taking a shower or bath, take time to rub your entire body with a favorite natural oil or cream. You can add your favorite soothing aromatherapy to the oil or cream to deepen your relaxation. Feel and enjoy the texture of your skin, notice the contours of your body, and relax into this ritual with slow deep breaths.
  • Nourish your body with healthy foods. Over time, you will begin to notice your body’s response to healthier food choices. Eat a fresh green salad loaded with your favorite vegetables and notice how soothing this feels to your body. Look at the colors and textures, taking time to experience the scent of your food prior to ingesting.
  • Take time out to connect with others by rubbing the back of your child, spouse, partner, or friend. As you relax, notice how the other person begins to relax. This practice is especially necessary if you have not grown up with healthy, safe touch as part of your daily life. We need more of this connection in life to enhance self-soothing. Why wait when you can begin self-soothing today!


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(with contributing editors Heather Butts, JD, MPH, MA, Larry Cammarata, Ph.D., and  Ed Glauser, M.Ed., N.C.C., LPC)


Mindfulness and Adolescents, Part 2 in a 4-Part Series By Heather M. Butts, JD, MPH, MA

November 7, 2013 at 3:27 pm | Posted in Adolescents, Mind Body Medicine, Mindfulness, Self-Regulation, Sleep Health, Underserved Youth | Leave a comment
Heather Butts, J.D., MPH, MA

Heather Butts, J.D., MPH, MA

As I stated in Part 1 of this 4-part series, I spend a great deal of time working with at-risk youth in New York City.  Much of my time is spent trying to think of inventive ways to keep these young people engaged given all of the external and internal distractions that they face. Most of the young people that I work with come from very difficult home lives, do not have an intact family, or have environmental influences that make their ability to lead healthy, productive lives quite challenging. In an age where bullying, depression, anxiety, and suicide are major health issues for all young adults, but particularly at-risk, underserved youth, there is an increasing focus by the medical and healthcare community on finding solutions to what ails this population.  One of the culprits, especially for young adults, may be a lack of mindfulness coupled with dwelling on the “negative.”  This blog post will address that through looking at the work of clinical psychologist and mindfulness educator Larry Cammarata, Ph.D.  According to author Stephen S. Ilardi, Ph.D., in his book The Depression Cure, “rumination appears to be an instinctive human response when something goes wrong.  It is as if we’re hard wired to replay our recent trials and tribulations over and over again in the mind’s eye.  But some people stay at it long past the point when enough is enough” (pp. 92-93). According to Ilardi, this can make individuals less active, depressed, and ultimately withdrawn. This is key as we think about mindfulness as a potential solution to some of the mental health issues plaguing young adults.

In a recent panel discussion on the L.E.A.R.N for Life Consulting, LLC radio show entitled Stable, Focused, and Open: Mindfulness for Teens (, Larry Cammarata, Ph.D. spoke to the role mindfulness can play with youth ages 15-24 who are at risk for mental health issues, stating, “mindfulness can be a skill that can reduce depression, isolation, and self-denigration.”  Referencing psychologist Daniel Goleman, Cammarata spoke about how mindfulness can support emotional intelligence, “…meaning empathy and motivation, self-awareness and self-regulation.” Cammarata quoted Jon Kabat-Zinn’s (1994) definition of mindfulness as, “…paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally” (p. 4), and stated that for adolescents, the, “ABCs of mindfulness” – attitude (patience, openness, intellectual curiosity), body awareness, and concentration, are particularly important.

Cammarata expanded on his thoughts with me in a one-on-one discussion talking about why he finds mindfulness such an effective tool for young people. Those working with adolescents were reminded to take note of the wide range of focusing ability in this population. Cammarata encouraged practitioners to “start really slowly” utilizing “small chunks of times” in the beginning but to watch for adolescents with “excellent concentration skills.”

With respect to at-risk youth who come from challenging home environments, Cammarata suggests such young people connect their breath with something calming like music or a pet. He specifically suggests that mindful movement practices such as qigong, tai chi, or yoga may be of particular use with these adolescents. Ultimately, according to Cammarata, all of us deserve to be, “kinder to ourselves… mindfulness can be an important way to integrate positive attitudes that are healthy for the body and mind.”

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(with contributing editors, Larry Cammarata, Ph.D.,  Linda Cammarata, RN, RYT, and Ed Glauser, M.Ed., N.C.C., LPC)


Self-Soothing: A Mindful Practice for Health & Wellness by Linda Cammarata, RN, RYT Consultant, Contributing Editor

October 3, 2013 at 11:58 am | Posted in Mind Body Medicine, Mindfulness, Pain Management, Pain Relief, Self-Regulation, Sleep Health, Stress Management, Trauma | 2 Comments


A soothing backrub was a nightly ritual for my sister and I. Those backrubs warmed us during the cold winter nights and helped us doze quietly off into a deep sleep. Thoughts of my nightly backrubs have created a sweet, soothing childhood memory for my sister and myself.

Has our increasingly busy lifestyle contributed to the lost art of self-soothing? I wonder; if we engaged in more self-soothing, would we have less anxiety, restlessness, and insomnia? Does our health and wellbeing suffer as we become more disconnected from the practice of self-soothing? Has technology displaced our deeply rooted need for touch, connection, and feeling soothed? How does the rise of using medications for stress, anxiety, and pain reflect our diminished relationship to self-soothing?

Atlanta-based physician Anne Namnoum, M.D. has written an excellent article entitled Self-Soothing vs. Self-Medicating. In her article, she explores the importance of self-soothing in the face of today’s anxiety, stress, and discomfort. She makes the distinction between the health benefits found in self-soothing and the challenges found in self-medicating. She points out that self-medicating includes numbing and avoidance, whereas self-soothing promotes acceptance and the decision to do something that will become helpful for our wellbeing in the long-term. She also shares that the hazards of self-medicating vs. self-soothing can result in addiction, obesity, emotional disorders, physical complications, plus a variety of other potential health risks.

The attitude of acceptance that Dr. Namnoum shares in her article reminds me of the mental attitudes found in the practice of mindfulness. Mindfulness helps us to stay in the present moment. Mindfulness promotes a mental attitude of curiosity, gentleness, and flexibility, with a willingness to face reality on reality’s terms. There is something quite soothing about the idea of letting go and accepting each moment as it unfolds before us. We can learn to relax and cherish every moment and every breath.

Today, there is an active movement of nurses providing hands-on-therapies for their patients. Medicine is returning to the healing power found within therapeutic touch. I recall the nightly backrubs we provided to our patients when I first began my career as a nurse. Providing soothing touch was an integral aspect of our healing work. Self-soothing can relax the nervous system, reducing pain, anxiety and stress. It is an expression of our human need for connection.


·       Dr. Anne Namnoum






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(with contributing editors Heather Butts, JD, MPH, MA, Larry Cammarata, Ph.D., and  Ed Glauser, M.Ed., N.C.C., LPC)



“What is Your Bell of Mindfulness?” by Ed Glauser, M.Ed., N.C.C., LPC

September 24, 2013 at 2:04 pm | Posted in Mindfulness, Pain Management, Pain Relief, Self-Regulation, Sleep Health, Stress Management, Trauma, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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bell 4

I love introducing the bell of mindfulness to students and clients in my school-based and community counseling practice whenever distress shows up.  The bell of mindfulness beckons the listener to come back to the present moment, listen to the sound of the bell, take mindful in and out breaths, and compassionately observe thoughts, feelings, sensations, or images. The bell of mindfulness can also be a metaphorical reminder for us to return our awareness to the present moment. For example, physical or emotional distress can be such a “bell” that activates mindful awareness upon a location within the body that is experiencing tension. Focusing attentively with acceptance and compassion upon that part of the body provides a space for healing and centering.

The bell of mindfulness can be the sound of a meditation bell, the sound of a phone ringing, a dog barking, the voice of a loved one, or it can be an image of what is of value to each person.  In my own life, the bells of mindfulness that I use when I am in distress are images of loving family members, places in nature that are connected to my family, or simply being aware of the in and out breath in the present moment as I walk, listen to good music, or eat something healthy.

I invite you to take a moment to think of what nurtures you and come back to that as a bell of mindfulness, breathe in and out, and be compassionately aware of the present moment as you encounter any distress.  You may be pleasantly surprised with how much you can heal yourself in the present moment by finding your own bell of mindfulness. What is your bell of mindfulness?

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(with contributing editors Heather Butts, JD, MPH, MA, Larry Cammarata, Ph.D., and  Linda Cammarata, RN, RYT)



The Five Rs of Self-Regulation for Sleep by Larry Cammarata, Ph.D., copyright 2012

December 18, 2012 at 8:27 pm | Posted in Insomnia, Mind Body Medicine, Mindfulness, Self-Regulation, Sleep Health, Stress Management | 10 Comments
Somewhere Else by Eric Zener

Somewhere Else
by Eric Zener


Self-regulation has been succinctly defined as, “processes that maintain the functioning of the individual in optimal ways” (Siegel, 2012, p. AI-73). Self-regulating practices contribute to the health and wellness of individuals, couples, families, and communities. At the individual level, self-regulation can be as simple as taking time out for slow, intentional, conscious breathing. Self-regulation practiced in a community setting can involve singing, dancing, praying, chanting, mindful walking, and drumming.

The Five Rs of Self-Regulation

The Five Rs of Self-Regulation comprise a framework for understanding and applying some of the essential mechanisms of self-regulation. Let’s now review each of these principles as they relate to self-regulation for sleep, noting that these points can also be applied to problems of chronic pain, stress, and illness.


Rooting refers to being harmoniously connected to your body as well as sources of social and environmental support. An individual who is “rooted” experiences a stable and safe connection to their body, social relationships, and the environment. Methods that facilitate rooting include body awareness practices such as yoga, tai chi, qigong, and some forms of meditation. As applied to the sleep environment, rooting is exemplified by a comfortable connection to one’s bed and pillow that allows for “surrendering” into sleep.

Rooting is about relationship, which can include the relationship to one’s body, others, and the environment. When you are in opposition to your body, other people, or the world, you are likely to experience conflict and tension, which can challenge your ability to maintain harmonious connections. The antidote for this stressful oppositional stance is creating peace through “acceptance”. Acceptance, however, is different than a feeling of resignation and self-defeat. Acceptance is about being aligned with reality on reality’s terms, which can feel energizing, joyful, and uplifting.

With regard to sleep problems such as insomnia, although you or your clients naturally don’t “like” the problem, a lack of acceptance of the problem can result in additional stress, shame, guilt, anxiety, or denial. As with so many other chronic conditions (e.g., pain), for those suffering from sleep disorders, acceptance is a powerful first step towards creating peace and opening the door to receiving help. Acceptance is further reinforced by belief, which creates a positive expectancy that your efforts will relieve suffering and result in healing. Rooting supports stability, acceptance creates peace, and belief provides the nourishment necessary for healing to occur.  Practice: As you enter your bed, allow yourself to yield to gravity as if your body was sinking deeply down into your mattress. Let yourself feel the comfortable connection between your body, mattress, bedding, and pillow as a welcoming invitation to the realm of sleep.


Relaxation involves letting go of tension, a softening or loosening from a prior state of constriction. The process of relaxation is more easily facilitated when an individual feels stable and safe. Therefore, the deeper the stable “roots” (connection) you have to your body, relationships, and environment, the more effortlessly you can let go and relax. The opposite of relaxation can be seen in states of hyper-arousal, as when an individual suffering from severe PTSD is continuously “on-guard” and vigilant against external dangers. Practices and methods that can facilitate a state of relaxation include biofeedback, self-hypnosis, relaxation training (e.g., progressive muscular relaxation and Autogenic Training), and various breathing exercises. In relationship to sleep, relaxation of the musculature is often experienced as a sense of heaviness and softness. Practice: One relaxing self-suggestion that can support sleep is, “My body is heavy and relaxed”. Silently repeat this statement several times as you lie upon your bed, without trying to feel heavy or relaxed.


Respiration as a self-regulatory process refers to more than simply breathing. Respiration refers to breathing in a way that is natural, unimpeded, and slow. Just as rooting supports relaxation, relaxation supports self-regulating respiration. Practices that facilitate self-regulating respiration include yogic breathing exercises, tai chi, qigong, and various forms of meditation. In the ancient Chinese healing art of qigong, practitioners are often trained to breathe in a manner that is slow, long, deep, smooth, calm, and fine. Breathing in this intentionally self-regulated way can induce profoundly deep states of relaxation. Breathing with an emphasis upon an extended exhalation can activate the parasympathetic nervous system, providing a tranquilizing effect without the use of sleeping medications! Over time, the practice of intentional self-regulated breathing results in a respiration pattern that is naturally calming without conscious control. Practice: Take 5 to 10 slow, long, deep, calm inhalations and exhalations throughout the day and prior to bedtime, allowing your relaxed belly to expand upon inhalation and contract upon exhalation.


Rhythm refers to a repetitive pattern over time. Rhythm can be expressed by internal and external actions. With regard to the internal process of respiration, it’s easy to see how the rhythm of one’s breath can be relaxing (e.g., characterized by slow, long, deep, soft-bellied, evenly spaced inhalations and exhalations) or contributory to tension (e.g., characterized by a constricted abdominal region with rapid, shallow, unevenly spaced inhalations and exhalations). Rhythm can also be expressed through your external movements and speech. For example, when walking and talking, you express movement and sound in a patterned way. This pattern can be relaxing or activating, depending upon the pace and intensity of your behavior.

The pace of your behavior creates a metaphorical space in your mind and body that reinforces the process of slowing down or speeding up. Self-regulating rhythms can therefore be slow or fast. Practices and activities such as tai chi, yoga, meditation, drumming, dancing, singing, chanting, spoken prayer, poetry recitation, running, and walking can all potentially activate the power of self-regulating rhythms. It’s important to keep in mind that slow is the fast route to sleep-inducing rhythms. Slowing down will get you to sleep more quickly!

Just as the sleep state involves a slowing down of physiological processes, slow rhythms are supportive of sleep. In preparation for sleep, it’s advisable to speak slowly and softly, move slowly, and breathe slowly, allowing this slow rhythm to follow you into the bed in preparation for sleep. After all, when have you ever heard of the admonition, “hurry up and get to sleep”? Practice: Take time to walk slowly, allowing for one slow inhalation of your breath to be coordinated with one stride of your left leg and one slow exhalation coordinated with the stride of your right leg. Let this breath-movement rhythm be supported by firmly rooted footsteps, a relaxed body, and calm breathing.


Remembering refers to mindfully integrating the principles of “rooting”, “relaxation”, “respiration”, and “rhythm” that are described above. Integration takes practice; consistent repetitive practice leads to self-mastery over time.

A famous saying tells us that, “repetition is the mother of skill”. Although a highly skilled tai chi master might not have to remember to relax, most people can benefit from reminders such as “soften your belly”, “relax your shoulders”, and “breathe calmly”. Reminders can be received in the form of external instruction (e.g., guidance from a tai chi teacher, yoga instructor, or therapist) and can also be a result of ongoing self-regulating practices. For example, an advanced tai chi practitioner knows when their shoulders are holding excess tension because of the refined body awareness cultivated through the intensive practice of their art. In this way, “the practice becomes the teacher”.

Being mindful can help you to remember what is supportive of healthy sleep. Mindfulness has been succinctly defined as, “…awareness…of present experience…with acceptance” (Germer, 2005, p. 7). Mindfulness informs you about the present state of your mind, words, and actions. The formal practice of mindfulness meditation has been associated with several physical, cognitive, and emotional benefits, including emotional regulation (Chambers, Lo, & Allen, 2008).

The practice of mindfulness is like a clear reflective mirror that allows the practitioner to learn about the state of their mind, body, and emotions through the process of non-judgmental observation in the present moment. Mindfulness helps you to remember the intention, focus, practices, and attitudes that can support you in your journey into restful sleep. Mindfulness supports self-regulation and can be practiced formally as a meditation or “organically” through self-reflective awareness throughout your waking day.

A mindful daytime can contribute to comfort and ease during the nighttime, paving a royal road to sleep and dreaming. The invitation to you, dear reader, is to practice “remembering”.

Larry Cammarata, Ph.D.

Larry Cammarata, Ph.D.

Please join Larry Cammarata, Ph.D., Linda Cammarata, RN, RYT, Heather Butts, JD, MPH, MA, and Ed Glauser, M.Ed., N.C.C., LPC for a lively, interactive and informative webinar  entitled “Eight Keys: A Pathway to Natural Sleep,” on Sunday, January 13, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. EST.  This webinar will be an introduction to the upcoming online Mind Body Medicine Sleep Training that will be starting in Spring 2013.  For more information and to register for the January 13th webinar, please go to



Chambers, R., Lo, B. C. Y., & Allen, N. B. (2008). The impact of intensive mindfulness training on attentional control, cognitive style, and affect. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 32, 303–322. doi:10.1007/s10608-007–9119-0

Germer, C.K. 2005. Mindfulness. In C.K. Germer, R.D. Siegel, & P.R. Fulton (Eds.), Mindfulness and psychotherapy (pp. 3-27). New York: Guilford Press.

Siegel, D.J. 2012. Pocket guide to interpersonal neurobiology. New York: W.W. Norton.

Five Fundamental Principles of Mind Body Medicine: An Integrative Approach for Optimal Psychological and Physical Health

November 29, 2012 at 8:04 pm | Posted in Insomnia, Migraine Headaches, Mind Body Medicine, Pain Management, Pain Relief, Sleep Health, Stress Management | 4 Comments

 Published on November 29, 2012 by Ed Glauser, M.Ed., N.C.C., LPC

There are five fundamental principles that account for the effectiveness of using an integrative mind body medicine approach in teaching people how to self-regulate symptoms associated with numerous psychological and physical conditions.  So much of what I have learned about mind body medicine comes from my mentor and friend, Mark Weisberg, Ph.D., a well- known health psychologist from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Whether you are a clinician, client, patient or just interested in the power of mind body medicine in bringing healing to health related issues, you will be pleasantly surprised to discover how learning and applying just a few of Dr. Weisberg’s five fundamental principles in mind body medicine can affect the power of your mind to confidently self-regulate and even alter pain and distress pathways.

Dr. Weisberg is one of the leading experts in the United States in the fields of mind body medicine, clinical hypnosis, and health psychology. He is currently in private practice as a health psychologist and operates an integrative pain clinic in partnership with physicians in the Minneapolis, Minnesota area. Dr. Weisberg has published scholarly articles, books, and presented at many national and international conferences on integrative mind body medicine, clinical hypnosis, and health psychology. Being able to have Dr. Weisberg as one of my primary supervisors as I worked on and received a certification in both mind body medicine and clinical hypnosis was one of the most valuable learning experiences of my professional life as a clinician. It was due to Dr. Weisberg’s outstanding affirmation and guidance that eventually led me to establish the Mind Body Medicine Network, an international online educational webinar provider for clinicians and the lay public.

I believe that you and the people you would like to share these mind body medicine principles with will discover effective and easy to use tools for self-regulation that can contribute significantly to life-long health, vitality and wellbeing. Dr. Weisberg often cites the following five fundamental principles as the foundation for mind body medicine practice.

First: Believe in the power of mind body medicine and your ability to heal. We all have the internal healing resources necessary for healing or to significantly lessen any suffering that comes from many health related conditions.

Second: Our internal healing resources can be found both within and outside of our conscious awareness. We can access these resources through the visceral belief and confidence in our capacity to heal by tapping into experiential and evidence-based mind body medicine principles. Dr. Weisberg states that a mere cognitive understanding of these mind body medicine principles is not enough to bring about healing. To heal, we need an internal experience of change that is experienced experientially, emotionally, and viscerally. A neurobiological explanation that affirms this deeply felt experience is demonstrated by both understanding our brain architecture and confidently engaging the parts of our brain that will bring about mind body healing. When we experience a novel and visceral experience, the pre-frontal cortex of our brain fires up and allows us to over-ride the amygdala that often triggers emotional suffering and physical discomfort including inflammation. We can all benefit from an understanding of the tremendous capacity of the power of the mind to influence the healing of the body. Further validation of these mind body medicine principles comes from exploring the latest research that documents the neuroplasticity of the brain and the burgeoning field of psychoneuroimmunology (PNI).

Third: Each of us has our own unique set of psycho-physiologic triggers that communicate early warning signals that distress or illness is approaching. Being mindful of our intrinsic power to recognize and heal these triggers as they arise early on can help us to more confidently and effectively bring down symptoms of distress or pain.

Fourth: Focus on noticing the little changes of improvement to our health to gain more confidence along the way. Even if the minor improvements are temporary or the pain or illness manifests in another part of our mind or body, we can see how to self-regulate.  This will play an important role in changing pathways from pain and illness to resilience and confidence. We all have the capacity to be mindfully aware of all the subtle ways to self-regulate and slowly titrate down any physical pain or psychological discomfort. If we can appreciate even the smallest improvements to our health issues, we will eventually be on the path to significant healing.

Fifth: From Dr. Weisberg, I learned the efficacy of honoring each person’s unique path to healing. The notion of allowing people to heal in their own time, in their own way, and at their own pace gives both clinicians and people who suffer with pain and illness the freedom to discover their own terms for healing and at the right time. This individual perspective alleviates the pressure on the clinician to be the expert in picking the “perfect” time, way, and pace for their patient’s healing to occur.

In my own clinical practice, I do my best to honor all of these fundamental principles of mind body medicine practice that I learned from Dr. Weisberg. Whether I am engaged in talk therapy or sharing any experiential mind body medicine modality like clinical hypnosis, I am consistently reminded of the beauty and healing power found within each client to heal in their own time, in their way, and at their pace.

It is an honor to host our next Mind Body Medicine Network webinar with Mark Weisberg, Ph.D. on Sunday, December 9th at 7:00 p.m. EST during a 90-minute interactive experience where all of us can engage in a deeper learning of these mind body medicine principles for change and healing. For more information on Dr. Weisberg’s webinar and to register, please go to:

Ed Glauser, M.Ed., N.C.C., LPC

Owner and Principal Clinician

Mind Body Medicine Network, LLC

Eight Keys to Natural Sleep Recovery

October 12, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Posted in Insomnia, Sleep Health | 4 Comments

by Linda Cammarata, RN, RYT

I recently came across a quote that was attributed to the Buddha. The quote reminded me of how everything we do really does matters. Everyday life experiences influences our health, our well-being, and our ability to let go into the sacred night of sleeping and dreaming.

The quote reads: “My actions are my only belongings: I cannot escape their consequences. My actions are the ground on which I stand.” We repeat our actions over and over again and again everyday some are positive and some are negative actions. Building the bridge of “awareness of our actions” can be a direct practice of cultivating a life with peaceful sleep.

Eight Keys to Natural Sleep Recovery is educational in nature and can be used in conjunction with your current healthcare providers approach in treating your insomnia. 

Somewhere Else by Eric Zener

Eight Keys to Natural Sleep Recovery explore practices that strengthen your awareness in relationship to your actions, reactions, daily habits, rituals, and your beliefs resulting in deeper peace, increased relaxation and improved sleeping patterns. The eight keys offer teachings in self-regulation. Self-regulation is a mindfulness practice that leads to healthier days and healthier nights.

In our revved-up culture many of our actions have become reactions, resulting in habitual unhealthy stress referred to as “hyper-arousal”. Chronic “hyper-arousal” can lead to overstimulation of the sympathetic nervous system. That overstimulation can interfere with our natural rhythms that lead to states of healthy deep sleep. Thinking we “escape” what we do during the daytime is an illusion. Our life does not stop when we get into our bed at night. Our day can follow us into bed at night. Perhaps you can recall a recent event that haunted your restless sleep. Remembering these restlessness nights helps to craft a healthier daytime life, one that is more reflective of peace, acceptance, and equanimity. The good news is you can learn how to decrease hyper-arousal through self-regulation practices.

Learning how to manage daytime stress can reduce the frequency of interrupted sleep. Feeding the pattern of “hyper-arousal” with reactive negativity may result in anxiety that can keep you awake at night. Your body and mind is attempting to toss and turn away the state of hyper-arousal. The first practice is to discharge the pent-up energy that has been stored throughout the day prior to sleep at night. The practice that follows is to learn how to self-regulate the amount of energy you take in and give out throughout the day. Your body is very intelligent and will “hunt” for ways to release, relax and let go into deeper states of sleeping and dreaming.

You can think of hyper-arousal as overstimulation of the sympathetic nervous system. Overstimulation may result in sleeplessness, middle of the night ruminating about the past and up the next day feeling fatigued and frustrated. Night after night we rob the body of specialized natural healing that occurs only during sleep. Learning skills of “self-regulation” paves the way to healthier sleep, a healthier body and a healthier mind.

Natural Sleep Recovery offers Eight Keys for understanding and exploring the art and science of “self-regulation”. Natural Sleep Recovery defines “self-regulation” as mindfulness-based practices that influence a healthy relationship to sleeping and dreaming. Though mindfulness roots come from the study of Buddhism it is to not a religious practice. Mindfulness is educational in nature. Mindfulness can be simply defined as: experiencing your life with an attitude of acceptance while cultivating a relaxed, present-centered awareness.

The Eight Keys of Natural Sleep Recovery assist you in making the shifts that are required to experience deeper states of relaxation, sleeping and dreaming. The  Eight Keys to Natural Sleep Recovery provide a clear understanding of what habits and challenges keep you from deep restorative sleep. Today, we understand that healthy food, adequate exercise, positive relationships, and healthy attitudes of equanimity lead to deep restorative sleeping and dreaming.

Within each of the Eight Keys there are a number of specific skills that you can explore. Each key point will help you learn how to improve your sleeping and dreaming. Natural Sleep Recovery opens your life to reclaiming deep sleep.

Key # 1: Recognize: Rhythms and cycles are essential to all life on our planet. Our fast-paced lifestyle has pulled us away from our natural rhythms and most people today are “simply out of synch with their circadian rhythms”. Being out of synch with your circadian rhythms can result in serious health challenges. Circadian Rhythms are our biological internal clock that regulates physiological changes necessary for maintaining health. Circadian Rhythms are influenced by light and the darkness found within a 24-hour period. Along with light and darkness our habits have a direct influence on the health of our natural rhythms. Daily habits can be healthy and many daily habits are simply not healthy, we have lost touch with our rhythms. Circadian Rhythms are essential to our body being able to have a natural sleep-awake cycle. Take a few moments to explore your daily habits. Recognize that what you do during the day influences how well you rest at night.

 Key Points to Remember:

  • How much natural light are you exposed to during the morning and the evening?
  • 20 Minutes of being outside in natural morning light and 20 minutes of late afternoon natural light will help to set your Circadian Rhythms.
  • How much blue light exposure do you consume during your awakened hours? Blue light is basically our electrical lights, TV, computer screens etc.
  • Blue light exposure is a concern in the evening. Too much TV/Computer exposure in the evening can delay Melatonin production.
  • To decrease blue light exposure in the evening wear Blue Blocker glasses after 7 pm. Reduce the amount of blue-light exposure beginning with 10% less exposure. Turn you house lights to a dim setting in the evening.
  • Is your room completely blackened with no light exposure at night?
  • Blocking out all light in your bedroom will influence Melatonin production resulting in healthier Circadian Rhythms.

Key 2: Examine: Examine your natural rhythms in an honest, open manner. Examining your patterns and habits in this honest, natural manner can strengthen your ability to deep states of sleeping and dreaming.

 Key Points to Remember:

  • What is your nightly pattern of retiring to bed?
  • Conditioning a pattern of nightly bedtime in a healthy relationship to sleep that supports your overall mental and physical health.
  • Begin by going to bed by 10 pm 5 nights a week, eventually extend that time to 6 nights per week. Your body will naturally signal you that it is time to go to bed. Be patient it can take several months of practice to synch with your circadian rhythms.
  • Examine your thoughts throughout the day. Remember what we think, how we respond to our life and how we utilize our daytime energy influences how well we can let go at night. Thoughts carry powerful messages into our mental and physical body. Begin to mindfully catch yourself prior to a knee-jerk pattern of communicating.
  • Allow and cultivate more friendliness in your personal life, begin at home with those closest to you.

Key 3: Explore: Explore your relationship to sleep and allow your relationship to become loving, patient, appreciative, and compassionate.  One of the greatest challenges with chronic insomnia is that you may have developed a pattern of anxiety in relating to your living life. This can be a result of chronic hyper-arousal. Hyper-arousal stimulates your sympathetic nervous system, which is over-stimulating, tiring, and conflicts with deep relaxation and sleep. Explore the possibility of learning to let go of your habits of reaction that may include: anxiety, frustration and anger. Replace those reactions of hyper-arousal interference with caring, patience and appreciation. We can learn to fall back in love with sleeping and dreaming.

 Key Points to Remember:

  • Develop a morning ritual that may be a simple reading that helps you remember your loving-heart.
  • Get outside in the morning light to get a dose of self-regulation.
  • Pace your energy throughout the day to include brief periods of deep, slow, long breaths. This will activate the parasympathetic nervous system resulting in conscious deep restorative relaxation.
  • Self-regulate your emotions during the day by increasing peaceful and thoughtful responses to your personal daily challenges.

Key 4: Track: Track your patterns with a mind and body of curiosity and interest.Practice inviting your observing mind into your life. Your observing mind is open to opportunities that will lead you to managing your mental and physical well-being. Tracking your life practices leads you into healthier, deeper and more restful sleeping and dreaming.

 Key Points to Remember:

  • Track your daily habits like: caffeine, nutrition, alcohol and exercise. Begin with realistic goals:
  • Decrease your caffeine consumption by 20%.
  • Decrease your sugar consumption by 20%.
  • Decrease process food consumption by 20%.
  • Decrease alcohol intake by 20%.
  • Add 20% more water, fruit and veggies and natural foods into your daily intake. Know what you consume makes a difference in how you sleep.
  • Everyday make a commitment to 20 minutes of exercise that moves energy in your body and mind. A good 30-minute walk is ideal. Morning light or late afternoon light is also ideal while exercising.
  • Historically we tend to repeat our patterns. Connect yourself everyday to being aware of tracking your habits and patterns.
  • Track how your attitude may be contributing to building up fatigue and stress.
  • Releasing the stress during the day contributes to how well you can rest, relax and sleep at night.

Key 5: Allow: Invite and allow guidance that you are learning with an open mind. The attitude of “allowing” provides a receptive way of learning and retraining our patterns thus experiencing self-regulation. Inviting the practice of mindfulness can open your life to acceptance and cultivate relaxation. This invitation can increase your ability to be more aware and living gracefully “in-the-moment.’

Key Points to Remember:

  • Begin everyday with an attitude of gratitude and acceptance.
  • Allow time to get out of bed with ease and relaxation.
  • Take a moment to remember your dream. Simply take notice of the dream. Do not try to figure it out. Be grateful for any dreaming. Cultivate an attitude that all dreams are healthy.
  • Begin your day with a ritual that helps you to remember maintaining an open-spacious attitude will support your mental and physical health throughout the day.
  • Allow time to pace your energy throughout the day, this creates a healthy pattern of not “pushing your energy” throughout the day and into the night.
  • Allow deep breathing throughout the day. Extend your exhalation to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system for increase relaxation.
  • Allow others to have their opinions, judgments and attitudes; they are going to have them anyway. Allow space for what has historically created contraction or judgment for you.

Key 6: Knowledge: Empowerment comes through knowledge. Become your best personal advocate for better sleep. Focus on a natural integrative approach that includes creating healthy lifestyle patterns and habits. Know that there are many ways to reclaim your sleep! Do not give up, and explore all possibilities.

Key Points to Remember:

  • Review articles that provide knowledge of integrative and allopathic approaches to sleep.
  • Review research findings on evidence-based integrative approaches. Notice how the study has been funded. This helps to determine if the study is objective or biased.
  • Be open to exploring new sleep ideas that support healthy lifestyle practices for improving sleep. Stay away from gimmicks with a quick fix promise.
  • Review all possibilities with your healthcare provider.
  • Remember that sleep medication is best used on a short-term basis.
  • Go to bed earlier than usual, and get up early to reset your natural rhythms.
  • Learn new eating habits that reduce sugar, fried, and processed food. Learn why your body and brain requires healthy whole low carbohydrate food choices.

Key 7: Believe: Believing is a very powerful healing attitude. Research findings reveal that our beliefs and expectations influence the effectiveness of healthcare practices and treatments, supporting our ability to heal faster. Your body is always at work establishing a sense of internal balance. The body’s innate intelligence can lead you back to balanced, natural sleep rhythms.

Key Points to Remember:

  • Believe in the intelligence of your circadian rhythms; honor your rhythms with practices and habits that support them.
  • Maintain healthy bedtime and awakening routines to support your natural rhythms.
  • Believe in your ability to heal with the support of your inner and outer resources.
  • Believe in your ability to get back to a healthy sleeping pattern.
  • Awakening in the middle of the night is not something to worry about. Believe that your body can get back to sleep.
  • Know that when you are chronically sleep-deprived, your judgment can be impaired, mood may become depressed and energy can become depleted. Believe that you can restore your health by being mindful about how you are experiencing and living your daily life.

Key 8: Remember: Remember that you can learn how to reclaim deep sleep and dreaming. There may be a number of issues keeping you awake. There are many ways to effectively address your sleep issues.

Key Points to Remember:

  • Review your attitudes and ideas about sleeping; explore any conditional sleep attitudes and beliefs that you can modify.
  • Conditional sleep attitudes and beliefs may include ideas about what you think you cannot sleep without (e.g., alcohol, the sound of music).
  • Remember that sleep is natural; the more you normalize ideas around sleep, the more relaxed you will become.
  • Remember to take the drama out of sleep, and recall how to live with the daily cycles of daytime and nighttime.
  • Practicing kindness during the daytime will lead to more peaceful nights, including the nights that you awaken with worry about getting back to sleep.
  • Remember that you are not the only person awakening during the night; many people wake up and then go back to sleep, which is a natural process.

Join us on Sunday, October 21st at 7:00 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. for a FREE Beta Test experiential webinar on “The Circadian Rythms of Sleep Recovery,” with Linda Cammarata, RN, RYT to explore the Eight Keys to Natural Sleep Recovery through hatha yoga, qigong, mindful autogenics, breath work, and guided meditation.  Click HERE for more information and to register today!  

Again, the URL to register for the FREE Beta Test webinar is:

Written by Linda Cammarata, RN, RYT (For more information on Linda’s approach to Natural Sleep Recovery, please go to her website at

Emphasizing the Body in Mind/Body

October 1, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Posted in Insomnia, Migraine Headaches, Mind Body Medicine, Pain Management, Pain Relief, Sleep Health, Stress Management | 2 Comments
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Mind/body techniques take into consideration that the body is the historian.  The body holds information that perhaps the mind wants to forget.  In its determination to keep us honest, the body nags at us in the form of anxiety or gastrointestinal problems, head aches or muscle tension until we pay attention.  Talk therapy provides mental relief and sometimes the body lets go, too.  But mind/body interventions can add another dimension to our work.

How?  Good question.  Many of you may recognize that the attitude of separation of mind and body is passé.  And so you may already have sought training in interventions that keep “the body in mind” like Somatic Experiencing, EMDR or Hypnosis.  Others of you may have been trained in approaches to therapy in which mental health is considered mental.  In either case, there are some simple but powerful and easy-to-learn ways to help people reverse the physiology of stress.

Talk therapy is the most reasonable place to start.  We converse with our patients and they guide us so we can guide them through their anguish and confusions.  By bringing cognitive understanding of life’s problems to awareness, and by building on their resources, there can be great relief from suffering.

But the body may not fully let go, even when there is great mental relief from our work.  In addition, we need to consider that given all of the stress in life, we are all likely to arrive at a place sooner or later where our coping skills fall short of the demands of a stressful situation.  Whether left-over residue or new stressors, with mind/body techniques we can use the mind to trick the brain (body) to let go of stress—often with very few words.

We can learn ourselves, and then we can teach patients that the body, which can be as uncomfortable to live in as the mind, is our ally.  We can show them how to honor the body’s demand for recognition.  We can teach them tools which bring balance and homeostasis to the body-mind.  The key reason to learn mind/body skills is so we can set our patients up to feel a deeper, perhaps more permanent relief from suffering.  Of most importance is our patients get to feel in the driver’s seat of their own lives.  To feel empowered with mind/body skills is to have the power to heal as needed.  And what can be more satisfying for us as therapists than to empower our patients?

Think of it this way:  Coping can be broken down into two categories:  “Problem-solving coping” is a cognitive, left brain approach to dealing with adversity.  Cognitive behavioral therapy is famous for matching solutions to problems.  So is seeking social support, discharging emotions into a journal, exercising and various healthy distractions such as humor or creative projects.

But another category of coping has been measured to provide empowerment in a statistically significant way.  It has been called “letting-go coping.”  This is different from problem-solving coping because it is about “being” rather than “doing.”  “Letting-go coping” takes the patient under the turbulence—into their body.  These techniques have in common focus on the breath.  Conscious breathing helps us use our breath to enter our body.

Yogic breath work, the field-tested Relaxation Response™, guided imagery, the Labyrinth™, Mindfulness, Self-Hypnosis, Creating Affirmations—and more—will round out your repertoire of offerings to your patients, especially if talk therapy stalls.  Join me in a two-day training seminar in New York City, co-sponsored by the Mind Body Medicine Network,  LLC. You will learn how these approaches have evolved from the context of cutting edge brain science and how to apply these techniques in various circumstances.   For more information on our two-day training seminar in New York City this coming November 16th and 17th, please go to the homepage of the Mind Body Medicine Network, LLC at

Helen Adrienne, LCSW, BCD

Psychotherapist, Clinical Hypnotherapist,

Practitioner of Mind/Body Therapy

Author, On Fertile Ground: Healing Infertility

Clearing a Space – “Discover Your Inner Sanctuary in the Midst of Life’s Stressors”

August 30, 2012 at 2:20 am | Posted in Insomnia, Mind Body Medicine, Pain Management, Pain Relief, Sleep Health, Stress Management | Leave a comment
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Joan Klagsbrun, Ph.D.
Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Stress is a significant contributing factor in 80% of visits to Primary Care Physicians and accounts for an inordinate amount of suffering, illness, chronic pain, fatigue, and personal and professional setbacks. Joan Klagsbrun, Ph.D., a Licensed Clinical Psychologist in private practice in the Boston area will be sharing a 90-minute webinar through the Mind Body Medicine Network, LLC on Sunday, September 9th at 7:00 p.m.  EST on “Clearing a Space – A Brief Focusing Practice for Cultivating Resilience in Your Clients (with particular attention to patients in crisis or coping with illness).”  Through this effective and evidence-based modality that can be used by clinicians or by the lay public, one can metaphorically find and place aside each stress-producing concern, and put it outside the body –bringing relief to body, mind and spirit.


The practice of ‘Clearing A Space’ is a method of finding and placing aside each stress-producing concern that is currently being carried by the body. it can be utilized by therapists as way to center and connect with oneself before seeing clients and it can be used with clients as way to begin a session of therapy.

One by one, each stressor is acknowledged, named, and visualized as being placed aside. This practice then invites you to imagine how your body would feel if you could truly be released from all these problems and concerns. For a few moments you get to experience who you would be—and how your life would want to go–without the weight of your issues.

We often feel stress as an undifferentiated, overwhelming burden. By identifying each stressful situation that we are carrying in the present moment, at first experienced as an indistinct murky sense in the body, we can discover the particular strands that make up our stress “knot.” The whole mass seems to weigh more when it is tangled together. Simply naming and untangling the elements allows us to get a little distance from the issues, and to find a sense of aliveness and well-being that lie beneath our current problems.


Focusing, a mind body practice from which Clearing A Space evolved, came out of research done by Carl Rogers and Eugene Gendlin at the University of Chicago.  The object of their research was to ask the question, “When is psychotherapy effective, and when is it not?”  They found, that the effectiveness of therapy was not directly related not to the therapeutic method, nor to the skill of the therapist, but to the client’s ability to discover answers within himself. Successful clients, it was found, waited until they got an internal, body sense of a problem or issue, and then “listened” to the answer that unfolded from this body sensation. Those clients who accessed their implicit bodily experience– their’ felt sense’– were more likely to benefit from psychotherapy than those who did not.

Gendlin, intrigued by this result, developed a systematic way to teach individuals how to get a body sense of a problem. Focusing is basically a formalization of the process that “successful” clients naturally use in psychotherapy.

Although Focusing was originally developed to help in the resolution of problems, Gendlin found that for Focusing to be most successful, it was initially helpful just to identify each concern and not try to solve the problem it posed. (Gendlin, 1979) Each concern is labeled and then “placed outside the body.”The individual imagines taking that issue and placing it at the right distance away from her body. Each succeeding issue is treated in the same way, until there are no more issues left. The end result is that the Focuser achieves a “clear space” inside the body. This technique of “Clearing a Space” became formalized as the first step in the Focusing method.

Over time, it became apparent that Clearing A Space had value in its own right. The “clear space” a person created by naming and letting go of each issue or problem is an active, fully conscious state. It differs from other meditation or relaxation states in that the individual  does not have a narrow field of attention. It is an active rather than a passive state, developed not by diverting one’s attention, but by at first paying full attention to what is in the way of feeling all clear inside.


Remembering and visualizing a time and place where you felt relaxedat peace or had a deep sense of well being.  I have found it helps to begin by remembering positive memories and experiences as resources for reducing stress.

Naming the Stressors We often feel stress as an undifferentiated burden. By entering the present moment, and identifying each stressful situation that we are carrying, that is contributing to this indistinct, unpleasant, and murky sense in the body, we can learn to perceive the particular strands that comprise this stress “knot.”

Separating the Stressors The whole mass of our troubles seems to “weigh” more, and be less manageable, when they are tangled together. Simply naming and “untangling” the elements that make it up,  allows us to get a little distance from our mind-body burdens.

Putting The Stressors “Aside” The client finds and places aside each stress-producing concern that is currently being carried by the body.  One by one, each stressor is acknowledged, named, and visualized as being placed aside or released from the body. After letting the stressor go, the focuser is then asked to notice any change in her body. Typically, a sense of lightness, diminishment of tension, and overall relief is the result. One sets down each of these issues, until there are no more issues left.

Noticing the Background Sense and placing it aside The background sense is like the wallpaper in our minds… that flavor or mood we carry right beneath our thoughts and feelings. It often brings great relief to bring attention to the background sense, name it, and  imagine placing that aside as well.

Dwelling in the “Cleared Space” Once the present-time stressors have been “cleared,” the individual is asked to spend 30 seconds or a minute in her “cleared space.” This step of the practice often results in a state of wellbeing, spaciousness, and sometimes a change in perspective or awareness.

Finding the symbol (a word, phrase of image) that captures the experience of the cleared space By finding a handle for the experience, there is often a sense of being connected to one’s whole self—body, mind and spirit. This often gives rise to an experience of balance, centeredness, clarity and unity. An explanation for this experience is that it enables the left and right brain to become integrated—linking the right brain’s’ felt sense ‘ and the left brain’s verbal account, thus allowing the maximum information to flow freely between the hemispheres.

Clearing a Space is a wonderful brief and yet powerful tool to have in your tool kit, both for your own self-care, and to share with clients. It gives you an active way to achieve a sense of well being, spaciousness and peace; it integrates body mind and spirit; it teaches us to have a compassionate relationship to our issues, and it helps us to take a few minutes to dwell in a larger space where we are not constrained by our problems and limitations.  What a good use of 10 minutes!

Enjoy learning, applying and mastering this brief focusing technique with Dr. Klagsbrun during our interactive 90-minute webinar on Sunday, September 9, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. EST. For details, please register at  Even if you can not make the webinar, you are welcome to register anyway, and be sent a video recording of Dr. Klagsbrun’s presentation.

(Written by Joan Klagsbrun, Ph.D. and Ed Glauser, LPC)

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