So, What Do You Do If You Have Chronic Pain?

Chronic pain is defined by its length (more than six months) and its resistance to conventional therapies. Acute pain is defined as 30 days or less. If you have chronic pain, there is help. Chronic pain syndrome is not the same as acute pain or recurrent acute pain. Acute pain is due to actual or pending tissue damage. Its duration is short and its psychosocial consequences are minimal. A person's perception of acute pain and behavior following the onset of acute pain are commensurate with the inciting event. Acute pain resolves as healing occurs. 
This presentation might be helpful in understanding the way pain mechanisms work in the brain. 
Working in conjunction with your physician is the best way to manage your pain. Once pain sets in for an extended period of time, the brain loses its equilibrium. People with chronic pain, a front region of the cortex mostly associated with emotion "never shuts up," Techniques like hypnosis, biofeedback, meditation, mental imagery and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) help quit the brain and retrain it. Take a look at this presentation for an overview of how this pain mechanisms work and can be altered.

Quitting Smoking This Year? Follow along the presentation.


With the right tools and approach, your chances of quitting smoking and staying quit are very much enhanced.

Do You Have FDD? (Fun Deficit Disorder)

I believe there is an invisible epidemic of FDD in our culture. No doubt our society is a hard working, creative and productive lot. However, why do we rank so low in time off for vacations in all of the industrialized nations?  Did you know we rank the lowest? Pretty scary to me. This not only creates a Fun Deficit Disorder, it may lead to LDD or Life Deficit Disorder. Production, achievement and hard work is a good thing, but at what cost? Since we are at the start of a new year, it would be a good time to plan out some "Bucket List" adventures before it is too late. If you define yourself by how busy you are, you will never have time for life. What is going to matter in the end is not how booked up you were, or the tally of tasks and reports you handled, but the experiences that let you know that the living you made yourself was actualized by creating wonderful memories. Psychologist Erik Erikson put it this way, "when you look back you'll want to know, did I get what I came for? What it a good time? Did I do what I wanted?"
It may be time to reclaim "time" to have the energy you need to nurture yourself and live fully. Simple put, how is your life balance?


  •   Adventure?
  •   Down time
  •   New experiences?
  •   Social time and activity?
  •   Creative moments?
  •   Family time?
  •   Marital enrichment?
  •   Physical development?

Are you having enough fun?Maybe, just maybe this graph on the left shows why people in other countries are happier and have more fun. They take time for it. 

(Graph from Sociology 101 Website)

Overcoming Test Anxiety

If your are frustrated or debilitated by test anxiety, you might feel helpless to overcome it, but that is just not true. By making use of proven relaxation techniques, you can develop tools to increase relaxation, focus, concentration, confidence and control over your anxiety. Like any stressful or pressured performance situation, learning to manage or eliminate anxiety is the key to achievement. With the right help and guidance, this is a very fixable problem.
Specific techniques for test anxiety before or during a test include:


  • Cognitive strategies (thought stopping and reframing)
  • Physical and mental relaxation
  • Mental rehearsal
  • Self-soothing strategies
  • Biofeedback
  • Deep breathing
Test anxiety is learned behavior. The association of grades and personal worth also causes anxiety. These feelings usually are derived from a variety of sources including a feeling of lack of control, poor preparation, downright fear, bad study habits, procrastination, low self-esteem and of course poor test review strategies.

You don't have to suffer from test anxiety. Help is available if you get the right perspective and skills to help you manage the symptoms by learning the tools involved in achievement and performance.
This is Melissa Cook, Licensed Professional Counselor, friend and colleague signing her newly published book, The Power of Validation. Karyn Hall, Ph.D. is the coauthor. The book provides an overview of how to raise an emotionally stable, confident and self-reliant children.

Melissa describes validation as the "recognition and acceptance that your child has feelings and thoughts that are true and real to them regardless of logic or whether it makes sense to anyone else."

Why not check out the book to find ways to develop your personal awareness of your validating and invalidating communication style in your family?

In particular, The Power of Validation gives you wonderful tips on being a validating parent. In Chapter 5, Melissa describes 6 different levels of validation. These are great tips to provide guidelines on derived from Marsha Linehan (1997) which demonstrate the different types of validation. You will get a real feel of being a "mindful" parent offering opportunities for harmony and competence as a parent. The book is chock full of ideas, exercises and opportunities to fine tune your parenting skills.