Saturday, September 12, 2015

Are you looking for an Elixir?

On a recent trip to a Farmer's Market in Asheville, NC, I I saw this bottle of "Pain Relieving Liniment."  I began to think about how often many of us are looking for the magic elixir to cure us from our ailments. Managing pain can take many forms. There are "pain doctors" who provide painkillers, injections, blocks and much more to manage acute symptoms of pain. Once you run the gamut of medical procedures, including surgery without relief, it may be time to consider the plethora of mind body techniques available. Cognitive behavioral psychology can offer ways to manage pain from the inside out. Techniques such as Biofeedback, Mental Imagery, Relaxation, Hypnosis, Yoga, Stress Management and specialized diaphragmatic breathing and now Virtual Reality (VR) have proven to  be extremely effective in providing relief. Conditions of chronic pain, phobias, PTSD, burn victims and anxiety disorders are now being managed without opiate or narcotic medications. If you are continuing to look for the "magic pill" to manage your problems, it may be time to change your approach. 
Take a look at this fMRI brain scan showing what happens in the mind when using VR to treat a burn victim. What this shows is that refocusing the mind, changes the circuits in the brain. Therefore, these mind/body techniques actually make changes in the brain by "growing neurons." These circuits become stronger with practice. Once you become adept at using these tools, they even work better. Take charge of your own recovery from your condition by utilizing a combination of these techniques that work for you. 

Sunday, September 6, 2015

What happens when you complain?

Complaining comes at a cost. When we complain, our brains release stress hormones that harm neural connections in areas used for problem solving and other cognitive functions. (click on the blue section to review the article). So, actually, complaining is harmful to our health. Once you go negative, it is hard to recover because emotions get triggered, which then strengthen the neural connections in your brain to increase distress and release of powerful stress hormones. This also happens when we listen to someone else moan and groan. Jon Gordon, author of The No Complaining Rule states that complaining, "It’s as bad as secondhand smoke," "It’s secondhand complaining." Just as smoking is banned in most offices, complaining should be banned.
What is a possible remedy? Don't listen, don't engage and leave when gossip or toxic language begins to appear. So, the residual feelings DO NOT magically disappear. Finding a good friend that looks for the good in people, shows positivity, expresses gratitude is the best way to keep ensure you do get caught up in conversation that can be harmful to you. It is difficult avoid negativity with the world conflict that is so present in our lives. If you find yourself whining, pay attention to the impact on your emotions and the reactions from others. There is a fine line between getting something off of your chest and perseverating on it. Consider how you feel when someone drones on and on about fears and problems. It is very draining and destructive. 

Why Worry? Recently, a reprint of the book  Why Worry  by friend and prolific author, Eric A. Kimmel was recently released. Gayle and ...