Archives for Chronic Pain - Page 2
As children, we can’t help but get in touch with creativity, we’re starting to learn how the world works, everything comes from a beginner’s mind. As we begin practicing and repeating things, the brain eventually figures it out and moves onto the next thing. Eventually, our curiosity for most things fades away as life begins routine and we miss out on the possibilities around us. That is why I’m always impressed and inspired when I find someone who uses creativity as a modality for healing. Today I wanted to bring to you a former New York television executive Deb Eiseman, who after suffering debilitating chronic pain after a car accident found healing through creativity. Her life has now been transformed from one riddled with chronic pain to feeling happy as an artist and designer. She contends that it was through finding her creativity that she was healed. Can we do the same? Elisha: Can you tell us what role finding that little $2.98 water color set played in your healing?
We’ve all heard the common adage that “It is what it is,” telling us that whatever is happening is simply the reality of the current experience. But that's not the whole truth. The Now Effect adds, “It is what it is, while it is.” This speaks to a larger reality that whatever is here is also impermanent. This saying can enrich our lives, helping us move through the difficult times with more grace and also illuminating what's precious in life before we miss it. Here’s how…
If you’ve been following recent news in the mindfulness world, you may have heard about a recent study by David Creswell out of Carnegie Mellon University that showed the wonderful effects of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) as a reduction on perceived loneliness in healthy older adults age 55-85. Loneliness is something that most of us experience from time to time, caused and exacerbated by stress, anxiety, depression, addiction and trauma, but you may not have known how staggering the statistics truly are. A recent survey taken from the AARP showed over 44 million people are lonely and longing to connect with another living, breathing human being. There’s a difference between being alone and lonely. The Buddhist Nun, teacher and author of "Taking the Leap," Pema Chodron writes:
Here is a post I wrote a couple years ago that I wanted to revive as it's increasingly important in the context of the fervor that is surrounding mindfulness as a wonderful antidote to stress, anxiety, depression, addiction, trauma chronic illness or as the seed of empathy, compassion, happiness and just a better life. The following story shows us how even with the best intentions, it's easy to fall into a trap of using meditation in a way that keeps us stuck in the perpetual cycles we're wanting to heal.
Whether we're in the midst of a storm of anxiety or depression or we've come out of the storm but are in fear of relapse, strong uncomfortable emotions can seem like the devil's spawn that we try our best to ward off against. For many of us there is a fear that these strong emotions will be overwhelming and lead us back into the great abyss of depression or another round of intense anxiety. However, it is in this very struggle of non-acceptance or non-acknowledgment of this feeling that our misery becomes compounded. Although our minds believe they are doing the best thing for us, their acts are often driving the exact habitual mind traps we're trying to neutralize. What's another way?
A number of years ago a story came out of renowned national violinist Joshua Bell playing in a DC Metro stop during rush hour. By the end of his playing a few people were there standing around but everyone else was rushing by. Watch this 2-minute video and then we can look at how our brains are wired to miss the wonders of our lives that could very well be the secret to happiness and resiliency.
I often write about the demanding and criticizing voices in our heads because they are so amazingly prevalent and I figure just about anyone can identify with that and almost all of us need support with them. Every day these voices arise out of habit, telling us "I can't do that right," "I'm never going to achieve that," or "I'm not good enough." More often than not we indulge and get overwhelmed by these limiting beliefs or as Thich Nhat Hanh says," we water the seeds of our own suffering." The end result is we end up hating ourselves. But what if these voices were trying to help us in some way? That may sound crazy, but really, consider it for a moment. What if these negative and limiting voices were looking after our best interest?
A while back I wrote the blog Neuroplasticity, Gratitude, and Your Mental Health: Food for Thought and thousands of people viewed it and were reminded of the really powerful effects of counting blessings over burdens. This made me think of two critical elements that can help shape our happiness and success.The first is proactively looking at what it is we actually want in life. The second is looking at a key element that can help prime our minds toward the happiness and success we are looking for.
At this point the mental health benefits of a mindfulness practice are fairly well established. However, cultivating a more mindful life isn’t often easy - there are many obstacles at play. The places we work and the people we surround ourselves with are likely not trying to put mindfulness at the forefront of their lives. We’re also looking for that perfect quiet time to sit, stand or lie down and practice intentionally, paying attention to the present moment with fresh eyes. Sometimes we get restless, agitated, bored or begin to doubt ourselves that we can ever truly be mindful and so we reactively avoid it. The following is a quote by the 15th century Indian poet Kabir that I love to bring up again and again because it gets underneath these obstacles and drops us into mindfulness.