Tags: health, mental-health
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)
Tags: Behavioral Pain Relief, Chronic Pain, Holistic Health, Integrative Medicine, mental-health, mind body medicine
One of the biggest challenges for people who live with chronic pain is the ambiguity of not knowing if or when the pain will lessen or end altogether. We all appreciate seeing the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, and most of us prefer for the journey to be as brief as possible.
In many life situations, we can ensure the tunnel is finite and that we travel through it at an acceptable rate of speed. With chronic pain, however, clients don’t necessarily have the opportunity to alter the duration of their distress.
This perceived lack of control over their situations can lead some clients to feelings of victimization, hopelessness and despair. Here are some strategies that have been invaluable to me personally, since I’ve lived successfully with chronic pain for decades, as well as in my work with clients:
When clients are inundated with sensations of pain and discomfort that seem to be endless, it’s easy for them to slip into the role of victim. If medical interventions have failed to bring about sufficient relief, clients can plunge even deeper into despair.
Sometimes, even the smallest positive and decisive actions can help to reverse any negative feelings. There are always interventions clients can pursue that will help tip the balance and turn the sense of victimization into one of victory.
Help your clients to seek out areas in which they can make some decisions that will likely lead to successful outcomes, such as choosing to increase their level of knowledge about their condition, embarking upon a gentle exercise regimen, or making an appointment with a physical or occupational therapist.
Break down challenges into bite-sized pieces.
It’s easy for clients to become overwhelmed when faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges. When chronic pain limits one’s ability to tackle large projects, suggest that the client break the project down into smaller tasks that can be achieved at his or her own pace.
For example, instead of attempting to clean out the entire garage, focus on one corner first. When clients accomplish these smaller goals, it can boost their confidence and help fuel their desire and resolve to continue moving toward a larger goal.
Indulge in positive sensory experiences.
Chronic pain can wear people down – even those who are well-versed in mindfulness and other coping techniques. That’s why it is vital to ensure clients experience some pleasurable moments each day.
I always recommend dedicating the time to creating positive sensations that can at least temporarily compete with any distressing symptoms. These enjoyable feelings can involve any of the senses and can be something as simple as relaxing in a warm bath or enjoying foods that delight the taste buds. Encourage clients to practice mindfulness and really savor the moment when engaging in these gratifying activities.
Don’t let pain define you.
Chronic pain can take a toll on self-esteem as limitations become more evident and affect clients’ daily lives in ways they never expected. It’s important to encourage self-esteem building exercises to help clients nourish a self-concept that is separate from pain and suffering.
Our clients are dynamic and resilient beings who happen to live in bodies that may not be working properly. But that doesn’t mean that the essence of who they are is broken. Helping clients to make that distinction between their consciousness and the shell that contains it can be quite empowering.
Make peace with your body.
While people who suffer from chronic pain may not like the idea of residing within the confines of bodies that hurt, it’s still important to make peace with their bodies in order to live rewarding lives. And to take it a step further, clients must move beyond simply accepting their bodies and make the decision to nurture them.
Living with chronic pain is a challenge that requires the mind and body to work together in a harmonious manner. Encourage your clients to listen to their bodies and to meet their physical requirements, even if they conflict with what a client would rather be doing. It may not be the most exciting choice to forego an activity during a flare-up of pain or to eat a more healthful diet, but these body-affirming decisions will help ease your client’s symptoms in the long run.
These strategies for living a vibrant life despite chronic pain should complement the work you’ve already completed with your clients and will provide them with some tangible, practical tactics they can implement immediately.
The Mind Body Medicine Network, LLC is dedicated to bringing you the BEST clinical webinars in Mind Body Medicine in the World. In this spirit, please join us for our next clinical webinar on how to “Control the Migraine,” with Bonnie Groessl, MSN, APNP. This 90-minute webinar will take place on Sunday, July 29, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. EST/6:00 p.m. CST/5:00 p.m. MST/4:00 p.m. PST. This live and interactive webinar will be recorded if you miss the live event. For registration for the webinar/recording, please click HERE.
The “Control the Migraine” webinar will provide you with the techniques and strategies to help you or your patients/clients to significantly bring much needed relief to migraines. Start enjoying life more with less pain. This webinar has the power to change and heal the lives of those that suffer through migraine headaches. Click HERE to get started living with less pain and more relief! (Written by Tina Tarbox, M.S.. Tina will be presenting our February 2013 webinar on significant steps to alleviate chronic pain and illness.)
Ed Glauser, M.Ed., N.C.C., LPC
Mind Body Medicine Network, LLC
Tags: Behavioral Pain Relief, Chronic Pain, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia, Holistic Health, Insomnia Treatment, Integrative Medicine, mental-health, mind body medicine, Sleep Health
The United States faces an epidemic of fatigue with 60 million people suffering from insomnia and 23 million people suffering from obstructive sleep apnea.
Poor sleep causes people to suffer mentally, emotionally, relationally, vocationally, physically and medically. Sleeplessness also leads to significant health problems with lasting personal, economic and social repercussions.
For example, insomnia sufferers are 73 percent more at-risk for anxiety and 69 percent more at-risk for depression. These disorders are even more pronounced for the elderly, with over 50 percent of the elderly experiencing some form of insomnia. Further, poor sleep health is associated with obesity, diabetes, viral infections, cardiovascular problems, cancer, increased pain, memory loss and impaired judgment.
Here is a three-tier plan for restoring a deeper, more rejuvenating sleep as you were meant to naturally live and sleep. You can learn more about the three-tier plan by participating in the 90-minute webinar “Effective Clinical Self-Regulation Strategies for Restorative Sleep Recovery.” This webinar will be broadcasted live for the first time Sunday, June 24th at 7:00 p.m. EST. Click on the following link to learn more and register: www.mindbodymedicinenetwork.com/Webinars.html.
The three-tier plan for restorative sleep is designed to return “Golden Slumbers” to your life. The three-tier plan consists of taking care of your (1)Body, (2)Mind, and (3) Bedroom.
This three-tier plan has been researched, honed and tested by Rubin Naiman, Ph.D., with the University of Arizona’s Center for Integrative Medicine. (UA-CIM). Dr. Naiman is one of Dr. Andrew Weil’s integrative sleep health colleagues at UA-CIM.
Dr. Naiman is the mentor to the new Integrative Sleep Health Certification program being offered through the Mind Body Medicine Network, starting with the June 24th webinar on “Effective Clinical Self-Regulation Strategies for Restorative Sleep Recovery,” with Linda Cammarata, RN, and Ed Glauser, LPC.
Below is a brief outline of the three-tier plan along with a few helpful tips for each tier that will alleviate sleeplessness, increase self-regulation, and lead to restorative and rejuvenating Golden Slumbers.
(1)Attending to the Body:
- Lifestyle changes– Learn how to pay attention to natural sleep-awake rhythms and sleep scheduling. Learn how to incorporate exercise and good nutrition into a healthful lifestyle. Learn how to regulate caffeine and alcohol consumption. TIP: Exercise three to six hours before bedtime and commit to 30 minutes of exercise a day.
- Medical– Learn how to identify, understand and regulate physical conditions, symptoms, pain and discomfort. TIP: Achieving optimal sleep can increase pain thresholds by 200 percent.
- Medication – Learn how to understand medication side affects, ineffectiveness with long-term use, and the effects from reduction and elimination of sleep medications TIP: Increasing adenosine in your brain enhances sleep drive throughout the day.
(2) Attending to the Mind:
- Cognitive Behavior Therapy– Learn how to understand and control your irrational and negative thoughts and behaviors. TIP: Use positive sleep thoughts to fall into a gentle, deep sleep
- Values and Beliefs – Learn how to apply it for a meaningful experience TIP: Use restorative sleep to repair cells and gain a fresh perspective
- Spiritual/Religious Practice – Learn how to use it to restore at a deep level TIP: Surrender and let go to your higher power and/or to nature.
(3) Attending to the Bedroom:
- Physical Environment – Learn how to create a calm and restful environment to increase sleep scheduling. TIP: Keep your bedroom cool, dark, quiet and clean. Also, calm your mind by clearing your nightstand.
- Subtle Environment – Learn about chemical and energy influences on sleep. TIP: Avoid chemicals in mattresses, overly dramatic television before bedtime, late night computer use, and lighting from electronic devices including your alarm clock. You may even get to the point of not even needing an alarm clock and wake up naturally at your scheduled time.
- Social Environment– Learn how to improve sleeping with a partner or pet. Tip: Use the healing power of touch, nurturance and love to relax.
Learn how to restore Golden Slumbers to your sleep health by taking part in the Mind Body Medicine Network’s 90-minute webinar on “Effective Clinical Self-Regulation Strategies for Restorative Sleep Recovery.”
The webinar takes place on Sunday, June 24th at 7:00 p.m. EST. For more information on the MBMN webinar and to register, click on the following link: www.mindbodymedicinenetwork.com/Webinars.html.
Lastly, you may want to listen to Golden Slumbers by the Beatles as you work toward your own restorative sleep and realize your own Golden Slumbers is once again at peace and no longer under attack.
Ed Glauser, M.Ed, N.C.C., LPC
Owner & Clinician
Mind Body Medicine Network, LLC
“The BEST Clinical Webinars in Mind Body Medicine in the World. Period.”