Check Out Inositol for Holistic Anxiety Help

Inositol is in the family of B-complex vitamins (which are generally known for their calming effect). I’ve seen clients get anxiety relief and help with OCD by using Inositol.

As with all vitamins and supplements, always follow your doctor’s advice, and be sure to get a reputable, quality brand. Call me and I can recommend a great Nurse Practitioner to help you create a customized vitamin/supplement plan just for you.

How to Love Yourself

Every February as we celebrate Valentine’s Day, I write about the importance of loving yourself.

I have identified 10 great ways to be your own Valentine, 10 more great ways to love yourself, and even more great ways to love yourself

I have explained how loving yourself reduces stress and anxiety. And I have explored how to love yourself more by putting an end to being so hard on yourself and learning self-compassion

I have talked about how you can affirm yourself through your thoughts about your value, self-worth and self-esteem.

Yeah, but…. how??? 

And yet the most common question that I get is…

“Loving yourself? I get the concept but how do I DO that?”

Of course, truly loving yourself is deep introspective process. But you can always start by doing things that send an “I love you” message to yourself.

So, here is my favorite concrete way of loving yourself this February (and always of course): Give yourself a bag full of what I call…

“Loving Myself Gifts”

Step 1: The gifts

These are small items that are just fun things that you would enjoy. A few of the gifts I’ve given myself in the past include: colorful Post It’s, Sharpies, a sparkly key chain, an inspirational magnet, a small crystal, a stress ball, hand lotion…

Step 2: The wrap

These fun little gifts are then wrapped up individually. The wrapping makes them more special! This sends yourself the message that you are special and you are worth the time and energy of a pretty wrapping. Plus, it is always fun to open a present!

Step 3: The giving

Give yourself a gift any time you could use a little love.

Maybe it’s when you want to celebrate a great success and there is no one there to celebrate with you. Maybe it’s when you need to say to yourself: “Hey, you rock!” Maybe it’s when you set a goal for yourself and achieve it.

On the other hand, sometimes you need love even when you don’t feel like you deserve to be celebrated.

Maybe it’s when you messed up. Maybe it’s when you’re having a bad day. Maybe it’s when you feel everyone is against you. Maybe it’s when you are feeling anxiety.

Any time is the perfect time for some extra self-love!

Every time you open a gift tell yourself something kind and loving. Tell yourself you are amazing and deserving of each and every one of those gifts!

A Fun Twist

Sometimes buying and wrapping your own gifts takes out some of the anticipation because you know what is inside. Ask a friend to either buy and/or wrap the gifts for you! Make a trade and do the same thing for your friend! Exchange bags of Loving Myself Gifts!

Make it fun and enjoy how great it feels to love and appreciate yourself! You do rock!

Be Here Now – Mindfulness for Holistic Anxiety Treatment

This basic mindfulness technique can help when you are overwhelmed with the anxiety of having too many things to do.

As you walk through your day, give your brain a break from the anxiety by putting all your energy into the one thing you are doing now. Tell yourself “Be Here Now.”

Stop thinking about what’s next or what’s later or what’s on the To Do List. Start focusing more on the one thing you are doing right now. Keep your mind and your body in the present moment together. Be Here Now.

Got Pain? Heal Your Emotions – Part 3

[This is Part 3 in a series of articles about how to heal from chronic pain. Check out Part 1 and Part 2 if you missed them.] 

What do you notice in your body when you feel…

• Anxious?
• Angry?
• Happy?

Different emotions create different physical symptoms in your body. You know this intuitively and from your own experience. This demonstrates the fact that your mental/emotional state affects your body. [READ MORE about how physical pain and emotional pain are the SAME in your brain.]

Emotions are experienced in the brain

Neuroscience explains what is really happening. Your brain releases chemical proteins called neuropeptides with every emotional reaction. Dr. Candace Pert, an internationally recognized neuroscientist and pharmacologist, studied how each emotion has its own individual frequency and, simultaneously, releases a corresponding receptor active peptide.

That’s what is going on in your brain from a neuroscience perspective. What you notice is the result of those neuropeptides: you feel different sensations in your body depending on your emotional state.

Pain is experienced in the brain

We think of pain as the sensations we feel in the body. A sensation itself is pretty objective. You might have a hot or cold sensation, a burning sensation, an aching sensation, a muscle tension sensation etc. A sensation is a physical feeling you can describe.

So how is the brain involved?

Well, how does anesthesia work?

Anesthesia works by interrupting nerve signals in your brain. It prevents your brain from processing pain during surgical procedures. Your body feels no pain because your brain has been “manually shut off” by the anesthesia.

Without your brain, you don’t experience pain.

There is no denying that the brain plays a critical role in the body experiencing pain sensations.

Pain vs. Suffering

What is the difference? There is a big difference! Understanding this helps us understand how to reduce both pain and suffering.

Suffering is more subjective than just describing a physical sensation.

Suffering comes from your thoughts and your emotions ABOUT the sensations.

When you categorize or judge sensations, this is your brain adding interpretations ABOUT the sensations, such as thoughts about whether it is good or bad, and whether it is in or out of your control.

Chronic pain comes with a whole history of previous pain, negative experiences and problems. Memories of past pain and fear that it will never go away create very strong thoughts and emotions.

Despite the many difficulties of chronic pain and past memories of pain, your mind and your emotions cause additional suffering when you are spending time focusing on the negative and focusing on “problems” or “catastrophes.” 

It’s NOT all in your head

This does NOT mean pain “is all in your head!”

If you’ve had chronic pain, you have likely had someone suggest it was all in your head. Nonsense!

The term “psychosomatic” pain doesn’t mean that pain is “all in your head” and it doesn’t mean your pain is not real. It is very real. But it does mean that real physical symptoms can be the result of your brain and neurochemistry as well as your thoughts and emotions.

The Good News?

If your brain and emotions and neurochemistry can contribute to real physical pain, then you can also harness the power of your mind to relieve physical pain.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Pain

Research shows that when your attention is focused on pain, it is perceived as more intense. To reduce suffering, you can learn how to redirect the attention which your mind automatically has given to the pain.

You can also learn to change your thoughts and judgments about the pain (which add to suffering) such as:

• Good vs. bad
• Pleasurable vs. pain
• Wanted vs. unwanted
• In your control vs. out of your control
• Temporary vs. permanent
• Acceptance vs. resistance
• Positive vs. negative

Fears and anxiety and hopelessness about reducing pain are very common human responses. But they add more suffering. Anxiety, anger, fear and catastrophizing can be more detrimental than the pain itself.

Is it time to consider healing negative feelings, learning how to change negative thoughts, or perhaps dealing with unprocessed emotional trauma?

I’d be honored to help you on your healing journey. And holistic treatment for anxiety which includes cognitive behavioral therapy is highly effective!

 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for Pain

Chronic pain is a huge problem, experienced by approximately 30% of the population. It is defined as pain that does not go away as expected. Whereas acute pain is a normal sensation that alerts us to possible injury, chronic pain is different and may persist for months or longer.

Chronic pain can cause feelings of discomfort, soreness, tightness, or stiffness, and experiences of pain such as shooting, burning, or aching.

Chronic pain commonly leads to other problems, such as:

          • anxiety, fears and catastrophizing
          • fatigue, which can cause a loss of motivation
          • sleeping problems, followed by withdrawal from activities due to an increased need to rest
          • grief and loss due to new limitations caused by the pain
          • irritability
          • depression (with bad or low mood)
          • loneliness and isolation

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for chronic pain is now recommended by the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC). The Mayo Clinic says that every progressive pain treatment should include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for chronic pain is a form of counseling that teaches people how to change negative thoughts and behaviors, change their awareness of pain, and develop better coping skills.

The perception of pain is in your brain so working with a neuroscience-based therapy like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can directly reduce physical pain by addressing thoughts and behaviors that fuel it.

According to WebMD.com, among the various methods of pain control,
CBT is often one of the most effective:

“In control group studies, CBT is almost always at least as good as, or better than, other treatments…Plus, CBT has far fewer risks and side effects than medications or surgery.”

How Does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Help?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy helps provide pain relief in several ways:

          1. CBT changes the way you view your pain, including thoughts,
emotions, and behaviors related to pain.

          2. CBT increases your control over your mental and emotional states, which have a direct effect on pain levels

          3. CBT improves coping strategies, which gives you a greater sense of control, and increased time periods of pain relief.

          4. CBT can also change the chemical response in the brain that makes pain worse. Pain causes anxiety, and anxiety creates a chemical reaction in the brain which is inflammatory. Anxiety treatment with CBT reduces anxiety

          5. CBT reduces the sense of helplessness that often comes with chronic pain, while increasing problem-solving and action-taking. I always give “homework” to help clients take action, make changes, and make the most of the work we do together in our sessions.

What Will I Learn with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy will be customized for you! Everyone’s situation is unique but here is an idea of the sorts of things that might be included:

          • Attention: Learn how to shift your focus or distract from pain. Research shows when attention is distracted from pain then the pain is actually experienced as less intense.

          • Anxiety: Learn how to manage anxiety about the pain itself, and about other things in your life. Reduce catastrophizing and fight or flight responses in your brain. Research shows that anxiety treatment that resolves the root cause of anxiety actually changes brain chemistry and reduces pain.

          • Control: Learn that there are things about the pain that are actually in your control. Research shows pain intensity is reduced when pain is perceived to be controllable.

          • Interpretation: Learn more accurate ways to monitor and interpret pain sensations. Research shows that the more you try to monitor pain, the more pain you experience.

          • Negative feelings toward pain: Learn how to better manage emotions. Research shows that anger, sadness, and fear become a loop: pain creates those emotions but those emotions also increase pain

          • Negative thoughts: Learn how to change automatic negative thoughts and change cognitive distortions common with chronic pain. Research shows that changing these kinds of thoughts can provide as much (or more!) pain relief as medication.

          • Behaviors: Learn which behaviors increase and decrease pain. Research shows coping behaviors have a big impact on pain intensity and functional abilities.

          • Body Relaxation and Calming: Build a custom toolbox of techniques such as mindfulness, goal setting, breathwork, muscle relaxation, sleep improvement, imagery, meditation, neurofeedback and more. Research shows the effectiveness of such tools in calming the nervous system and interrupting pain signals in the brain.

I’d be honored to help you on your healing journey. Give me a call and let’s see how I can help.

Anxiety, Sleep and Changing the Thermostat

Getting a good night’s sleep is critical when working to reduce anxiety. As the temperatures outside change with the season, check your thermostat for sleeping time. 62 to 68 degrees is ideal for a good night’s rest.

Mindful Belly Breathing MP3

Mindful Belly Breathing Technique -From Less Stress Now CD

Two MP3 Files:

Instructions

15 min. meditation

 

 

Close Your Eyes

I challenge you to close your eyes for 1 minute. Set a timer and close your eyes.

Within a minute you are likely to take a deeper breath. Within a minute you are likely to loosen tension somewhere in your body. Closing your eyes reduces sensory input (which stimulates the nervous system) so for one minute your nervous system can relax. You can’t multi-task with eyes closed, which can actually feel freeing.

Give yourself permission for a one minute pause.

Got Pain? Heal your Emotions – Part 2

This is Part 2 of my series of articles exploring the connection between emotional healing and physical healing.

Check out Part 1 if you missed it.

My Story – Healing Pain/Frozen Shoulder

In 2014 had a life changing experience of healing my own physical pain.

I had been experiencing severe shoulder pain for months. Despite trying many different treatments and seeing many different doctors and healing practitioners, the pain was worse than ever in the weeks right before I was scheduled for a 10-day Vipassana meditation course.

Right before the course, my doctors diagnosed frozen shoulder and advised that I not attend the course because keeping my shoulder immobile while meditating would cause more pain and more problems.

I ignored that advice.

My pain sensations were excruciating for the first 4 days. Vipassana meditation teaches a specific technique that works with sensations in the body. I kept patient and persistent with the meditation technique.

By the 5th day, I was amazed to find my pain was no longer there.

Poof. Gone. No more shoulder pain. No more frozen shoulder. And it never came back. And no doctor could ever explain why.

The human mind is where anxiety starts, and where emotions start (the limbic system is the part of the brain regulating emotions), and where pain starts.

Quieting my mind and my emotions, released the pain from my body.

7 Types of Pain Often Linked to Emotions

• Headaches and migraines
• Neck and shoulder pain
• Back pain
• Stomach pain
• Menstrual pain
• Pain in the extremities
• Widespread pain including fibromyalgia

* Source: Kim Saeed, Author, Researcher, Educator

Thoughts ⇒ Emotions ⇒ Pain

Remember that neuroscience research shows that the same neural circuity is activated when you experience physical pain as when you experience emotional pain. 

Because the neural circuitry is shared, when either type of pain is experienced your brain has the same chemical response as well. This chemical response is primarily excess release of stress hormones (mainly excess cortisol and adrenaline known to cause inflammation as well as anxiety).

Dr. David Hanscom, MD and author of “Back in Control” believes the primary cause of chronic pain is Unconstructive Repetitive Thoughts (URTs).

He concludes that these Unconstructive Repetitive Thoughts cause the sustained release of those stress hormones which cause physical pain.

What You Can Do

Chronic pain is one of the most difficult things to deal with. It can make you feel very out of control.

One of the hardest parts about chronic pain is that often no one can find the specific source of the pain, or a concrete explanation. Friends, family and even doctors don’t believe you or tell you it’s all in your head.

So, what to do?

#1 – Learn about your emotions and emotional healing

In addition to seeking physical pain relief or treatment, this may be the time to explore how your emotions may be contributing to your physical pain.

Sometimes that means looking at your current emotional state and the emotionally challenging or stressful things in your life right now.

Sometimes it means looking at past emotional experiences that have not been dealt with (recent ones or even adverse childhood experiences).

Sometimes it means looking at unhappiness in current relationships – a big cause of emotional and physical pain.

#2 – Change your thinking with CBT

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a short-term, goal-oriented process focused on problem-solving. Through the process, you learn to understand and manage your thinking (cognitive), feelings (emotions), and actions (behavior).

CBT can help people feel more in control of their pain, and teach new coping skills. It can help you change the way you view your pain and help you function better, with pain interfering less with your quality of life.

Changes in your thoughts actually change the chemical response in your brain (cortisol, adrenaline, dopamine, serotonin) that can make pain worse. When you think better, you will feel better. 

In multiple ways, changing your thinking process can help you regain more control of your life despite the pain.

#3 – Learn Mindfulness

Mindfulness research shows that it can help you cope with pain by:

• Decreasing repetitive thinking and rumination about pain
• Decreasing emotional upset about the pain
• Increasing a sense of acceptance of the present moment
• Increasing the relaxation response and decreasing stress

Tapping to Release Unresolved Emotions

Tapping brow

Tapping chin

Tapping collar

 

Unresolved emotions can be contributors to both anxiety and chronic pain.

 

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT or Tapping) can help you release unresolved emotions from your energy system.

Learn more about Tapping.