Anxiety and Panic

Mothering with OCD: You Can Call Me Crazy if You Want To

Day One: They say my soul is troubled and I imagine it stumbling through an alley somewhere, barefoot and drunk with no idea how to get home. “But beautiful,” they add, and I imagine it with lipstick. Maybe eyeliner too -- something bold and daring. Something that really accentuates.

It used to chase me in my dreams, my mental illness. It still does, if I’m being honest. Me in a red-hooded cape running through a forest as fast as I can (which isn’t very fast at all, if I’m being honest). It laughing maniacally behind the trees, always behind me, no matter which way I turn: The Big Bad Wolf, strong and powerful. Branches break underneath my feet as I run them over; they slow me down and give me pause. I know the monster from my nightmares will catch up with me. It’s only a matter of time.
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General

5 Hidden Benefits of a Good Massage

Aside from the fact that a good massage makes you feel better, what are some of the other benefits to this practice? As a longtime advocate for massage, I decided to delve into its not-as-well-known aspects to see what else it offers beside a well-spent hour on the table. What I discovered are the following five hidden benefits of a good massage.

Massage loosens muscles

Being in physical therapy for a recent low back pain episode means I’m working muscles that have not seen regular activity for some time. That results in soreness that proves I’m doing things right, but it’s also a little uncomfortable.
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Inspiration & Hope

Childhood Trauma: Focus on Validating Feelings

When you’re a child and you suffer abuse, whether it’s physical, sexual, or emotional, you make it your mission to find out if this is normal. You wonder if other kids experienced the same things.

It’s easier to doubt your perception than it is to accept the fact that you are living in a dangerous situation. If you knew that to be true, you’d have to do something about it. You’d have to talk to a teacher, a school counselor, or a police officer. You’d have to expose something that brings you great shame and pain. You’d have to face your abuser. Even though you’re only a child.
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Depression

Letting Go of a Depression Cure Can Set You Free

I keep going back to this quote by Vivian Greene when it comes to learning how to live with my chronic illness: “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass… It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”

In fact, every morning I drink out of a mug with that quote on it to remind myself of Vivian’s wisdom: IT’S NOT ABOUT GETTING TO THE OTHER SIDE. With chronic illness, the important exercise is to get out the rain boots and start stomping in the puddles -- to not let the downpour stop you from living.
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Health-related

A Letter to My Body After Surgery

“I’m nervous. I’m pretty much always nervous,” I repeatedly told every doctor and nurse who asked me how I was doing before my surgery.

When you're 32 and your pre-op nurse describes you as healthy, it doesn’t dispel all the thoughts that fill your head as you stare at the drop ceiling tiles at the surgery center. “Is this real? How is this my life? What am I doing here?” Those are the kinds of thoughts that usually precede a panic attack for me. But I breathed deeply and stayed in the moment. “Soon this will be over,” I told myself, “and then you can finally eat something today.”
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General

Hear This Loud and Clear

When you were growing up, did you ever ask or hear the question, “If you could do without one of your senses, which one would it be?” It is a complex and disturbing query. As a human being you rely heavily on your senses (along with your intellect and emotions) to navigate life. Our senses have been called intelligences, minds, perceptions, sensations, sense organs, sensory skills or deficits, s, and physical sensations.

Like many people who enjoy the vast musical offerings during the summer months, I too love outdoor concerts. There is something special about feeling the warmth of a summer’s day or sultry summer evening while listening to wonderful live music.
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Mindful Listening and Body Language

"The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers." ~ Thich Nhat Hanh
Interviewing Stanford University Cultivating Compassion Training facilitators Margaret Cullen and Erika Rosenberg about their experience of motherhood for my mindfulness4mothers program was a restorative process in itself.

Even after two full days of leading us in a discovery of the power of compassion and kindness toward ourselves and others, they were able to listen with gentle care and interest.

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Brain and Behavior

Getting to Know Your 3 Brains: Part 4


Read more about getting to know your three brains: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

The word “trigger” refers to anything that sets off the three brains to the point where you become aware of a thought, feeling or body sensation. In the exercise from the last post, you brought up a memory that “triggered” a feeling, thought or physical sensation. In other words, the memory evoked some experience for you.

Triggers can be external or internal. External triggers originate from our surroundings. An example of an external trigger is my mother’s criticism. As a result of her judging my outfit, let’s say, I am triggered to experience anger, sadness or shame. Since my mother is in the environment, this is an external trigger.

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Habits

Watching TV with Your Sweetheart May Boost Your Happiness

I’m very interested in the role of TV-watching in our happiness. After all,  after sleeping and work, it’s the biggest consumer of the world’s time.

So I was interested to see that new research suggests that for couples who don’t have lots of mutual friends, watching the same TV show (or reading the same book or going to the same movie) can help both people feel that they inhabit in the same social world.

It turns out that couples who have lots of mutual friends tend to have the strongest bonds, and for those who don’t have a lot of mutual friends, having “shared media experiences” helps them to feel connected.
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