How to Be Whole on Your Own and How This Strengthens Your Relationships

“Only through our connectedness to others can we really know and enhance the self. And only through working on the self can we begin to enhance our connectedness to others.” ~Harriet Lerner

Three decades ago, I married the man with whom I knew I would spend the rest of my life. We each had a rough childhood and had learned a lot about surviving, defending, and protecting ourselves. However, we did not know much about how to maintain a successful relationship.

We took numerous classes on communication, learned to fight fair, and filled our goodwill bank accounts with lots of positive actions. However, despite our best efforts, something was still missing.

There were times that the relationship felt smothering, and new types of problems kept arising. I got sick of saying “we” all of the time instead of “I.” Once when I was sick and slept in a different room, I was equally fascinated and worried by how much I enjoyed being by myself.

Yes, we had learned to reconnect, to repair our troubles, and to deepen our intimacy. However, we had not yet figured out the crucial step necessary for keeping your relationship healthy.

When it comes to love, we have two essential tasks. One, as most of us know, is to learn the skills and practices that allow relationships to thrive. The other lesson is less familiar to most people, but it is even more important. We must also learn how to love ourselves.

By self-love, I do not refer to the type of vanity that is fed by money, power, influence, a gym-toned body, and the admiration of others. What I mean is the kind of love that leads to self-care, not only of our physical health but also of our minds and hearts.

It’s the kind of love that creates for ourselves the time and space to develop and to use our talents. It’s the kind of love that frees us to discover and to foster our true purpose in life.

To become truly wholehearted in our loving, we have to look at when we have acted in a “half-hearted” manner and when have we been “closed-hearted.” Also, we have to examine when it is that we have responded in a “hard-hearted” way.

Our biggest challenge is to achieve the “whole” in wholehearted. In order to love anyone in a wholehearted way, we need to make ourselves whole first. We must integrate the two forces—the “me” and the “we.”

Let me be clear about the three things that are not wholeness:

  • A constant state of happiness
  • An ongoing state of acceptance, love, and balance
  • A perpetual feeling of well-being

Wholeness truly means accepting “the whole enchilada.” The hard, the sad, the mad, the scared, and the glad are all parts of you. The gratitude and the resentment together make you whole.

Your acceptance of all the pieces of yourself makes you whole. Here are five practices that can each help us find our wholeness.

1. Spend quality time with yourself.

I once heard someone say that spending time with yourself is the greatest practice you can do, and I didn’t understand at the time what the speaker meant.

While alone, I always felt like I was “by myself.” I mistook being alone for loneliness. It took me years to discover the pleasure of walking in nature, exploring an art museum, or hanging out at a farmer’s market loving my own company as much as with another person.

2. Each day, check to make sure your self-esteem is balanced by your self-criticism.

People sometimes mistake self-love for self-indulgence. Challenging myself when I am not living up to my own standards is important, but it must be done with compassion. Learning to love yourself despite your imperfections allows you to accept other people’s imperfections.

3. Find a practice that centers you.

Sitting in a lotus position and concentrating on breathing allows some people to find focus; there are also other practices like Zen meditation, walking meditation, Vipanassa meditation, and many more.

In addition, there are methods of centering that are just as powerful for self-reflection; dance, art, writing, and prayer are just a few examples. What they all have in common is that we can use them to check in.

4. Take an inventory of where you are right now. Explore it in your mind.

Body: Am I satisfied with the ways I nourish my body? How can I make even better choices? Examine your nutrition, exercise for strength, flexibility, endurance, and cardiac wellness as well as all of the other kinds of self-care you can practice.

Mind: Am I feeling fed, challenged, expanded, and interested? Am I growing?

Spirit: Am I satisfied with the definition I have for spirit? How can I get more in touch my spirit? Is there a place within me where I can find peacefulness, wisdom, and guidance?

Emotional: How am I coping with my current challenges? Is there a flow of different feelings, or do I find myself stuck on one emotion? Do I feel balanced?

Social: How am I connected with the people in my life (family, friends, partner, coworkers)? What’s working, and where do I want to make changes?

5. Develop a daily gratitude practice and begin by showing yourself appreciation.

Ask yourself about the victories you have had during the week. Acknowledge when you did something that was brave. Thank yourself for taking the time to feel gratitude.

As you explore these five techniques, you might discover others. You will find you already have wholeness inside; you just have to find the keys to open the door.

When we feel good about ourselves, we’re more likely to feel generous toward others; it’s a symbiotic relationship. We feel grounded and centered enough to take risks and to reach out to others. We feel safe by acknowledging our shortcomings and forgiving ourselves, so we are able to open up to our partners wholeheartedly.

About Linda Carroll

Linda Carroll—MS, is a writer, psychotherapist and a love/life coach specializing in relationship issues of all kinds for both singles and couples, assisting people in their life transitions. Sign up for a free 15 minute coaching session or her free newsletter at http://ift.tt/2bAT0cv.You can order her book Love Cycles; The Five Essential Stages of Wholehearted Love on amazon.

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The post How to Be Whole on Your Own and How This Strengthens Your Relationships appeared first on Tiny Buddha.

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7 Things Every Spiritual Person Seeking Purpose-Driven Success Requires

You’re reading 7 Things Every Spiritual Person Seeking Purpose-Driven Success Requires, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’re enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

purpose driven success

We live in a world where it is normal to settle for a lot less than we are capable of.  And when you are the weird one that decides to set your mind on a vision so big you are too scared to say it out loud, then you definitely need these 7 things.

1. Selective Hearing

There will be those who feel the need to tell you what they think, even though you did not ask for it.  Choose not to hear them.  there is a story of Vincent van Gogh being asked how he could expect to create great art when he only had one ear and he simply said – "I cannot hear you”.  That may be the stance to take when people choose to tell you why they believe that your dream is too big and too crazy.

2. A ready smile as you walk away

And if they are particularly persistent (usually family and friends), then you must have a ready smile as you graciously take yourself out of the room.  I belong to a family who definitely feel the need to give me opinions when I do not want them and I used to get very annoyed about it but now, I simply smile, say something inane like ‘That is interesting’ and I change the topic or walk away.

3. Intimate Connection to Source

Marrying my husband was one of those things that my family and some friends frowned heavily upon and at the time, I was 21, feeling overwhelmed with all the chaos that seemed to arise when I announced the fact that my husband of 16 years and I intended to be married.  the only thing that kept me sane in that time, was my connection to Source and my desire to follow the intuitive nudges in my hear.
I did almost break it off with him until I knew for sure what my higher power wanted because of every voice that was yelling in my head at the time, that was the only voice I cared about.
And to this day, I depend on this voice before taking any action.  This is my guiding light and for any spiritual person determined to win, you must cultivate a spiritual practice that enables you know when you are being guided divinely to the right path for you.

4. A Tough Mind

Many may have opinions but the one that will have the most impact is yours.  If you have a big vision, then you can be sure that you will have a certain amount of self doubt and fear inside of you.  You must train your mind to stay focused on the vision.  You must practice shifting negative thoughts and limiting beliefs out of your mind if you are to win.
If you struggle to remain positive about your chances of success, you must daily train your mind for success.  Write out that vision daily and keep it at the top of mind by rehearsing how you will feel when you finally reach your goals.  Refuse to accommodate or indulge doubts for long.  Catch them as soon as you can and replace them with something more edifying.

5. Resilience & Tenacity

There will be many setbacks.  I hate to say it quite so bluntly but there will be.  You will need to keep getting back up again and again and again.  The only way you will do this is by having a huge reason why.  Whenever I work with any of my clients, I check to see what their ‘why’ is because without a solid reason to do the tense work of building out a huge vision, they will not stay the course.  Everyone starts with optimism, the only ones who remain have tenacity and…

6. Relentlessness

I love this word!  One version of the dictionary defines it as ‘showing or promising no abatement of severity, intensity, strength, or pace’  Another one said ‘Steady and persistent; unremitting:’.  It sounds harsh, unforgiving and in some ways, it is.
Sometimes, being a spiritual person can seem weak.  It can seem as though you have to turn the other cheek and submit all the time.  And for some, that is exactly what it means to them.  But for those committed to designing a life they adore, you must be relentless.  You must keep pushing forward and yes, you must hustle ( a hated word in some spiritual circles).
The great thing for you is that you have divine guidance to support you, if you will listen, trust and act.  BUT YOU MUST ACT!

7. Tunnel Vision

Needless to say, you need to focus.  There will be many distractions, many reasons to quit, many had days and many great days and you will finally realise that you are a lot more powerful than you ever imagined.


Which of these 7 do you need to implement?
Rosemary Nonny Knight teaches spiritual people how to intuitively and deliberately design a life of fulfilment, freedom and abundance in all areas.  Download her book, PRAY. AFFIRM. RECEIVE – How to get clear, stay clear and take action to get what you want out of life, for free at http://ift.tt/2zLMVR6

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Pagan Community Notes: Martin Luther King Jr., Isaac Herrera, Wicked Grounds, and more

UNITED STATES —  On this day each year, the U.S. honors Martin Luther King Jr. Public schools, government offices, and many businesses are closed in order to recognize his work and sacrifice, as well as the staggering influence that his message has had on American society. Many Pagans, Heathens and polytheists across the country participate in local activities, both small and large, and privately in ritual to recognize Dr. King and his influence.

In honor of this day, we publish these timeless words written by King in 1963 in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail, which has since become the focal point of an artist’s 2018 meme: “I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

*    *    *

OKLAHOMA CITY — Isaac Herrera, age 24 and member of the Oklahoma Pagan community, was fatally stabbed Tuesday, Jan. 9 during a sexual encounter. According to the the police as reported in the Oklahoman, 18-year-old Brandon Newell admitted to the crime, saying that “he was having oral sex with the victim and at one point saw his knife laying there. […] He grabbed the knife and stabbed the victim in the throat because he felt like it.” Newell is currently being held in a Oklahoma jail without bail. He has not yet been charged.

Herrera’s family, friends, and community were shocked by the news, and a GoFundMe campaign has been launched to raise funds to assist Herrera’s mother with his final expenses. Isaac was known in several Pagan online groups as well as the local LGBT community. He was a theater student at Oklahoma City Community College. Friend Toby Halbert wrote on the funding campaign that Herrera was “a friend to all that knew him.” She said, “Isaac loved life and lived it to the fullest. Not letting his autism keep him from pursuing a career in acting. […] Our hearts go out to his entire family.” What is remembered, lives.  

*   *   *

SAN FRANCISCO — Wicked Grounds Cafe, the city’s “first and only kink cafe and boutique,” is at risk of shutting down. The cafe’s owners opted to try a Patreon account, seeking $15,000 a month to maintain the unique venue. Co-owner Rebeccalyn Mir Bilodeau, a Thelemite and Reclaiming witch, said  in a public Facebook post, “The Patreon is not to subsidize an unprofitable business model. It is to preserve this space within a profitable business model. Since that point, the community has been pour its funds into supporting Wicked Grounds.”

The local magical community has been a part of this push to save the cafe. Musician Lon Milo Duquette wrote, “The world’s greatest (and only?) Thelemite-run coffee shop is CLOSING unless you can help!” The campaign was more then successful. The cafe’s Patreon account now has pledges of $17,958 per month. They have raised their monthly need to $20,000 to support new kink educational projects and a relaunch of the podcast. The Wicked Grounds team wrote, “Thank you for helping us bring our brand of coffee, kink, and community to a much larger audience.” Mir Bilodeau says that, at this point, the cafe is “staying open for the long term.”

 *   *   *

TWH – Recent accusations against Isaac Bonewits sent shock waves through Pagan circles with people expressing a myriad of reactions from full support for writer Moira Greyland to skepticism that anything ever happened. Regardless of the deep diversity in the reactions to the news, discussions on consent culture have been rekindled in social media and beyond, including the need for leadership accountability and the building safe community spaces.

Three days after the TWH article was posted an alleged “Letter to the Pagan community” from Moira Greyland appeared in the comments section. Those words were posted by Megan Fox, a writer who focuses on family and parenting stories for conservative news outlet PJ MediaTWH reached out to Greyland directly to find out if the letter was indeed her words, and she did confirm. The letter begins, “Dear Pagan Community, I mentioned Isaac Bonewits in my book. I realize I have surprised you with my news about Isaac . . .” She then goes on to state that she knows other victims and to refute other recent claims. Greyland ends with, “If you want to know more about my story, read my book.” View her entire letter here.

In other news

  • In light of conversations generated by Greyland’s book, author Yvonne Aburrow launched a new change.org petition titled “Code of Conduct for all Pagan events and organizations.” Aburrow, who is the co-editor of the anthology Pagan Consent Culture, wrote, “There’s no single organisation that this is aimed at, which is why it is a pledge and not a petition to a specific body. It’s up to all of us to get a safe and welcoming Pagan community, because we are a network of small groups and events.” The petition has garnered 161 signatures to date.
  • Aburrow’s co-editor Christine Hoff Kraemer will be offering a class in consent culture this spring through Cherry Hill Seminary.
  • Organizers of the conference Heathen Women United have posted a call for papers. The 2018 annual event, which will be in its second year, is a “multidisciplinary conference” that “aims to bring together scholars and non-scholars, who engage with the juxtaposition of historical and modern approaches to and practices of Heathenry, with an emphasis on women’s voices past and present.” The 2018 event will be held July 6-8 at the University of Central Lancashire in Preston, Lancashire.
  • A new online conference hosted by Land, Sea, Sky Travel is starting this January. The digital conference, called “A Year With Our Gods: an Online Polytheist Conference,” will be hosted in eight installments over an entire year around “the holy days, equinoxes and solstices.” The first conference day will focus on Brighid and Imbolc, and will run from 10:30 a.m. – 8:30 p.m. Eastern time on Jan. 27. The keynote speaker is Morgan Daimler, author of Pagan Portals: Brighid. Other participants include author Lora O’Brien, priestess Gemma McGowan, Julia Water, and Mael Bridge. Registration is open.
  • Florida Pagan Gathering (FPG) announced that the event will be returning to St. Petersburg. Organizers said that, in order to “remain at Retreats by the Lake [they] would have to raise rates significantly.” They opted to move back to Boyd Hill Nature Preserve, which will reportedly come “with lower costs across the entire event.” Due to the move, the dates for its spring event have changed to April 25-29. 

Tarot of the week with Star Bustamonte

Deck: Crow’s Magick Tarot by Londa Marks, published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.
Card: minor arcana, page of cups

The page of cups speaks to noticing and heeding signs and messages from the divine, the universe, or our own higher self. Term it however you like, but pay attention and “go with your gut.” Doing so is liable to save you time, energy, and grief.

Source: http://wildhunt.org

5 Ways to Keep Going When Life Feels on Hold

“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” — Johann Wolfang von Goethe

Silence. Not a word.

Another day is over. The news you were waiting for didn’t arrive.

Everyone else around you keeps moving. They know where they’re going.

You don’t. You watch the days go by and think of all the things you could have done. You feel like you’re wasting your time.

It seems pretty pointless. You’re not where you want to be.

Sometimes we have to wait. You left one job, but the next one is not yet here. You want to go back to the soccer field, but your injury is not yet healed. You’re stuck in a city you just want to leave behind. Or you just simply don’t know what to do next.

In May, my husband and I moved across the world from Germany, my home for over twenty-five years, to Canada, his home country. We had already applied for permanent residence for me months before we came.

Give it a few weeks and it will arrive, we thought. Then I could start looking for a job. Start my career. Move forward.

Weeks became months. August came and I was still hopeful. I checked the mailbox every day. Maybe today we would hear something. But still nothing.

The heat of summer started to fade and I became more anxious. I was expecting to hear the big news any day, but the leaves turned colorful and pumpkins popped up in the stores and I still hadn’t received my permit.

Over the course of a summer and a fall, I was watching my friends moving forward. Applying for new jobs, preparing for interviews, getting promoted. Friends from Germany I graduated with were starting their careers. Some of them started a family.

I was waiting. And the longer the waiting continued, the more anxious I got. As a twenty-seven-year-old graduate, I felt like I had no time to waste.

Even more, I was ready to work. Apply what I’ve learned. Improve my skillset. Learn new things. Contribute to a cause. Be part of something. Instead, I had to wait. I felt slowed down. Left behind.

But as fall came, something in me started to change slowly. I started to come to terms with my circumstances. My situation hadn‘t changed; I had. I realized that there were five things that, with the help of my husband and family, helped me turn this waiting period around.

1. Stop Feeling Sorry for Yourself.

This first point is crucial.

Some mornings you might not even want to get out of bed. What for? Even if you do, you feel no motivation to get anything started or done. What’s the point?

It might seem like life has hit the pause button, but life is still happening. And it is still up to you what you do with your circumstances.

So focus on what you can do. Live. Right now. Every day. Don’t make this all about the wait. Make it about you. Then there is really no reason to feel sorry at all.

2. Watch Your Mouth.

Words are powerful, even if they aren’t said out loud. The way you think and talk about your situation will determine how you feel about it.

In the evening, when my husband asked me what I did that day, I quite often said, “Nothing, really.” Of course I had done a lot of things every day. What I really meant was: “I did a lot of things, but they don’t count.” They didn’t count in my head because it wasn’t what I wanted to do. It’s not what I though I should be doing.

Silly, I know. And my husband would call me on it, which eventually changed my language. And that eventually changed my perspective on things.

Share your crappy feelings with people. Be honest with them. But make sure these are people who help you. Who challenge you. Who don’t let you sit in it.

Guard your thoughts when you are alone. Don’t allow yourself to sit in your negative feelings. Put a visual reminder on your desk. A quote maybe. Write it on your bathroom mirror. Have a copy of it in your wallet.

You might not be where you want to be in the long run, but that’s life. It takes time. As long as you are on the right path, every step counts. And if you don’t know where your path is going, you were just given the perfect opportunity to find out!

3. Don’t Make Excuses.

It’s easy to find reasons not to do things. Especially when you’re waiting. Because what you really want is just around the corner. The present is just a weird in-between-space.

Wrong. Now is the time to try new things. To step out of your comfort zone. To discover new passions and gifts.

In the past months, I taught myself more about cameras and video editing, I took a guest blogging course, I started to take on a few creative projects around the house, I connected to new people in the city, and I explored my new home.

Some of it might help my career. Some of it was purely for enjoyment. But everything I did helped me to learn—what I enjoy, what I am good at, how I want to live my life.

So pick one thing you want to do. A creative project. A class. Your own book. Start it. Commit to it. Don’t be scared that it’s going to take you a lot of time. Let it take you out of your comfort zone. You don’t have to know yet where it’s going to take you.

4. Don’t Compare.

So you’ve tried all of the above. You’ve done good work. You feel great.

But then you start comparing yourself to the people around you. Friends, family, coworkers.

Of course, you pick the ones who aren’t in a similar situation. Those who know exactly what they want. Those who just did the big move out of the city. Those who just got a job.

Don’t. I know it’s hard, because it feels like it’s being rubbed in your face: you’re not there yet. And the whole cycle of feeling sorry for yourself, negative words, and cheap excuses starts again.

Be happy for these people. Remember that one day, it’s going to be you. It’s just going to take a few extra steps. That’s fine. Because until then, there are plenty of opportunities and lots of life to live.

One thing that helps me is to stay away from certain people and groups on social media. I don’t blame people for posting about all the awesome things that happen in their lives. I just know my weak spot. I know I instantly compare myself. So I unfollowed a bunch of people to avoid it, for my own sake.

5. Keep Moving.

You know that exercising keeps you healthy. It makes you strong and helps you stay in shape. But it also improves your mood and your sleep. It reduces stress and anxiety. It helps your brain to function better.

You, of all people, want a functioning brain. For all the reasons listed above. That’s why you need to move your physical body in this period of waiting.

Find the way to workout that works best for you. I used to run a lot, so I bought myself a new pair of runners. When I am overwhelmed with my situation, I put them on and run it off.

It can be as simple or fancy as you like—just do it. Sign up for a gym class. Join a soccer team. Go for long walks. Do yoga with the help of some YouTube videos.

Of course, this point will look differently for you if you’re waiting is caused by a physical injury. You’re doctor and physiotherapist have probably told you already what exercises and how much of it will help your body to recover.

In any case, commit to exercising. Make time for it. Stick with it.

You Can Do It

Waiting sucks. Especially when there is no end in sight and you’ve done everything you can.

But changing the way you approach this waiting period can make all the difference.

Imagine achieving a goal taking one step every single day.

Imagine learning a new skillset that will help you when you can finally take the next step.

Imagine discovering a new passion that will determine the way your life is going.

Start by trying one of the steps above tomorrow morning when you get out of bed.

Try a different step every day. Keep those that work and lose those that don’t.

You can make this period of waiting in your life a personal success!

This post is courtesy of Tiny Buddha.

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Top Brain Foods to Help Boost Your Child’s Brain Power

A balanced, healthy diet is good for both your child’s body and their brain. Eating the right foods will improve their memory, concentration and brain functionality.

The brain absorbs quality nutrients from the foods we eat. In this article, we are going to reflect on quality foods that will boost your kid’s brain power:

Fire Up Their Brains With High Tyrosine Proteins

Giving them high tyrosine proteins such as eggs, soy and seafood will truly supercharge their brain power.

Eggs

Powerful sources of protein that ensure memory development, they are loaded with veggies. Eggs contain Vitamin A, folate, and iron- all of these are essential for growth, repair of cells. Thus, encourage your kids to be eating eggs regularly.

Soy

Soy foods promote healthy and strong bones. So, encourage your kids to take daily soy foods such as soybeans and tofu. Soy foods contain lecithin, and health researchers have confirmed that it boosts brain function and memory.

Seafood

Regular intake of seafood will ensure your child’s brain development. Recent research from the Association for Psychological Science says that kids that eat seafood have better intelligent quotient than those that don’t consume some of these polyunsaturated fats. Other benefits are that they can protect against dementia when they’re much older.

Moreover, encourage your kids to eat oysters, unless they are allergic. Oysters are rich in zinc. Lack of zinc may negatively affect the brain development of your kid. Choose seafood that is rich in omega-3 fats because they protect your kid’s brain from memory loss and declining mental skills.

Safeguard Their Brain With These Antioxidants

Giving your kids these antioxidants like carrots, broccoli, wholegrain, and spinach will improve their brain function and memory because they contain Vitamin C and beta-carotene.

Any diet rich in fruits and vegetables will result in a higher intelligent quotient than giving them a diet with a higher amount of salty and sweet snacks.

Build Brain With These Healthy Fats

Health experts confirm that healthy fats such as flaxseed oil, albacore tuna, canola oil, walnuts, and wheat germ help to promote a child’s brain function and can enhance their alertness, clarity, and memory.

Vitamins & Minerals–Brain Building Blocks

Giving your kids foods rich in vitamins and minerals will enhance your kids brain power, and also limit their risk for depression, dementia, and neurological disorders.

Vitamins and minerals are essential for cognitive development. This means if your kids don’t get enough vitamins and minerals, they may experience lower intelligent quotient.

Eating the following foods will surely enhance your kids learning power:

Broccoli
Brussels sprouts
Shrimp
Cod
Chicken breast
Salmon
Scallops
Eggs
Beef

And so on. Regular intake of all these will help them to reach their ultimate potential.

Hydrate Their Brains

Children need water or proper hydration to function at an optimal level. Their brain cells need water to operate; if they don’t get enough hydration, their brain cells will lose efficiency.

Your brain is an essential aspect of your body, and it contains about 85% of water. This means that taking enough water will boost its thought and memory processes.

Balance Fuel Supply With Fiber

Regular intake of fiber will make your kids full and boost their brain functionality. Make sure the foods you give your kids daily contains some elements of fiber.

Taking a diet rich in fiber will help them to avoid constipation and as well reduce the risk of obesity, certain types of cancer and risk of heart disease.

Was this article helpful? Share your thoughts in the comment section. We would love to read them!

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Depression: An Illness, Not a Choice

I am not proud of it.

A few weeks ago and for the first time in many decades, I unpredictably dipped into a depression that, to put it mildly, kicked my ass. Haha, I’m joking.

Actually I’m not.

For the most part, throughout my life, my mental health issues have stemmed from severe anxiety and agoraphobia, with moderate depression rearing its ugly head only every now and then. But not this time. This one was more than ugly, it was hideous. Blue days, black nights — the whole shebang.

According to the Mayo Clinic, depression is a “mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest … You may have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities and sometimes you may feel like life isn’t worth living …More than just a bout of the blues, depression isn’t a weakness and you can’t simply ‘snap out of it’ … Some people may feel generally miserable or unhappy with and without really knowing why.”

When I was younger, I was intolerant of my unusually sad thoughts. And as the definition describes above, I often felt unhappy but I had no clue why. I believed that depressed people, including myself, used feeling down-in-the dumps as an excuse to give up and not be accountable in life. Or worse, that they simply wanted attention. In other words, I believed being depressed was a choice.

Last week I watched the 1957 film Gunfight at the OK Corral with Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster. Douglas plays Doc Holliday; an ex-dentist turned rogue gunslinger and avid gambler. He is wanted by bounty hunters and lawmen everywhere. Doc Holliday is also dying from tuberculosis. His character is coughing incessantly, gasping for breath and needing periods of bed rest. Despite his illness, he is feared by everyone and does his share of killing bad guys throughout the film.

There is a memorable scene when Holliday is playing poker at a saloon. The poker table he is sitting at is right in front of a window. At the same time a gang of rough riders are shooting up the town. Gunshots and people screaming and yelling can be heard outside. Bullets fly past Holliday shattering lamps, liquor bottles and boring holes in the walls of the saloon. The frightened card dealer is trembling for his life as he ducks from the screaming assault of bullets. He begs Holliday to end the game and take cover. But Holliday does not flinch, blink or move a muscle despite the blizzard of lead whizzing by his head. Holliday says stoically, “Just keep dealing. I’m not breaking this run. Hit me!”

The doomed Doc Holliday does not care if he takes a bullet. He knows his illness will eventually kill him, so he chooses not to move. His fate is already sealed.

Depression can be similar. When it’s acute you don’t give a hoot. You don’t care what happens to you. The problem is most don’t get to choose like Doc Holliday.

When we are depressed, we don’t choose our thoughts — depression chooses for us. That is chilling. It’s as close to the bottom as you can get.

Another character who is desperate and suffering from an incurable disease is Walter White in the highly successful TV series Breaking Bad. White bravely and honorably chooses to make sure his family is taken care of financially before he expires from cancer. Granted he chooses a life of crime, which I am not condoning, but he is oblivious to the consequences of the law, as Doc Holliday is oblivious to the bullets.

The difference again is that both characters choose — same desperation, different cognitive process. Plus, Doc Holliday and Walter White are really dying. When you’re depressed it only feels like you are dying.

I realize now why I have always related to characters that have nothing to lose. It’s because I feel less alone when I put myself in their shoes. I know the feeling. Their resigned perspectives comfort me.

One of my teachers in middle school told me that depression was an attitude. It was a spineless way of surrendering to the fight. It was an option. I believed him just as I believed everything adults told me when I was a child. Unbeknownst to my teacher, hearing that cemented much of the shame I carried about my emotions for years.

The truth is until you experience it yourself, until you know what it’s like to not care if you get hit by a bullet or stricken with a fatal illness, the deep reality of depression is too profound for the untried mind to grasp.

So, I treated my depression with every tool that I had. The most vital one was reaching out to others because I knew I couldn’t do it alone. However, twenty years ago and beyond I would have simply invalidated my hopelessness as a faulty weakness and would not have taken steps to get well. I would even have chastised myself for “letting this happen to me.”

Although I am not Doc Holliday or Walter White thankfully, or anyone with nothing to lose, I can still commiserate with the utter desperation. When I say desperation I don’t mean being afraid. I mean the existential malaise of having temporarily lost your purpose in life and not knowing how to get it back. In other words, the lack of desire to thrive.

German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer once defined his own antidote for the existential malaise of depression: “A happy life is impossible; the best that a man can attain is a heroic life”

Thank you, Doc Holliday and Walter White.

Source: http://ift.tt/2jgn2Ba

Why You Shouldn’t Give Up on Your New Year’s Resolutions

The time honored tradition of making New Year’s resolutions is deeply rooted in our modern culture. Perhaps because it is a new year, we feel it’s a good time where we can also be renewed. We can change. We can become a better person.

Somewhere between 40 and 50 percent of people make New Year’s resolutions (American Medical Association, 1995; Epcot Poll, 1985). But how many people actually keep at least one of their resolutions?

Contrary to popular opinion, most people who make New Year’s resolutions keep at least one of them far longer than is believed. For example, this article in U.S. News & World Report wrongly claims that 80 percent of New Year’s resolutions fail. But it cites absolutely no research in making this claim (a claim that has now since been repeated by others).

According to the psychological research, however, you’re actually pretty likely to still have kept your New Year’s resolutions after 6 weeks.

In one study (Marlatt & Kaplan, 1972), researchers found that at the end of 15 weeks, 75 percent of the people said they were able to keep at least one of their resolutions. But 62 percent of women and 50 of men acknowledged breaking at least one of their New Year’s resolutions, according to their own self-report.

In a more recent study, Norcross et al. (1989) reported 77 percent of people studied kept their resolutions for at least one week. After a month, that number dropped to 55 percent, and after six months, only 40 percent were still keeping their resolutions. After two years, that number dropped to 19 percent.

In a 2002 study (Norcross et al.), researchers found that after six months, 46 percent of the people they studied had kept their New Year’s resolutions.

And compared to people who don’t make New Year’s resolutions but still wants to change their behavior? You’re 10 times more likely to actually be successful in changing those behaviors you’ve resolved to change. That’s a pretty astounding number, and one that is far more persuasive than any other statistic.

Making a resolution sets you up for eventual success, even if it doesn’t happen in the first year. Most people who fail to keep their resolution the first year they try will continue making the same resolution in subsequent years (Norcross et al., 2002).

How to Keep Your Resolutions

Researchers have found that in order to be successful in keeping a New Year’s resolution, you need to be ready and willing to change. Resolutions forced on you by guilt or for other reasons won’t stick. You also need to feel that you have the ability and skills needed to keep your resolution. (Norcross & Vangarelli, 1989).

For instance, if you’re looking to eat more nutritional food, you need to actively research and understand why some food is not as good for you than other types of food. Then you would begin tracking your own nutritional intake to ensure you’re benefiting from your knowledge and commitment.

Porche (2014) recommends that if you want to keep your resolutions, you create an actual plan of action:

Plans of personal behavior change should include a broad goal that identifies the expected state, that is, in respect to health-related goals, the expected outcome or result of the activities. Once a goal is established, it is best to divide the goal in to SMART objectives. These SMART objectives, once accomplished, ensure that you [are] closer to establishing your goal. SMART objectives are:

Specific,
Measurable,
Action-oriented,
Relevant &
Time bound.

You can break up each goal into smaller, achievable objectives on a weekly or monthly basis. The key is that the more each objective meets these 5 characteristics, the more easily you’ll be able to measure and achieve change.

Let’s look at a concrete example. In one study (Norcross et al., 2002), researchers found that weight loss, taking up a regular exercise program, and quitting smoking were the three most common resolutions. For weight loss as the goal, we would set a small, achievable number in a specific time period — say 5 lbs. in 2 months. To achieve this goal, you would need to find specific, measurable ways you could reduce your calorie intake every day (or every week).

That’s what programs like Weight Watchers help a person do, to become far more mindful about their daily calorie intake at every meal and snacktime. Because calorie counting can be difficult and time-consuming, Weight Watchers assign simple point values to different foods. A person enrolled in Weight Watchers sets a daily point limit, and can eat foods up to that limit each day. Since your Weight Watchers daily points total will be lower than your traditional calorie intake, you will usually lose weight over time adhering to the program.

This is far more likely to work than the general goal of, “I want to lose weight in 2018.” How much weight? Over what period of time? What actionable steps are you taking to achieve this goal? You see what I mean?

Articles that provide additional suggestions for helping to keep your New Year’s resolutions include:

Good luck in sticking with your resolutions this year! You can do it.

 

References

American Medical Association. (1995). New Year’s resolution survey.

Epcot Poll. (1985). Resolutions not kept long by most Americans. Lake Buena Vista, FL: Walt Disney World.

Marlatt, A.G. & Kaplan, B.E. (1972). Self-initiated attempts to change behavior: A study of New Year’s resolutions. Psychological Reports, 30, 123-131.

Norcross, JC, Mrykalo, MS, Blagys, MD. (2002). Auld Lang Syne: Success predictors, change processes, and self-reported outcomes of New Year’s resolvers and nonresolvers. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 58, 397-405

Norcross, JC, Ratzin, AC, & Payne, D. (1989). Ringing in the New Year; The change processes and reported outcomes of resolutions. Addictive Behaviors, 14, 205-212.

Norcross, JC & Vangarelli, DJ. (1989). The resolution solution: Longitudinal examination of New Year’s change attempts. Journal of Substance Abuse, 1, 127-134.

Porche, Demetrius J. (2014). After the resolution: Sustaining the change. American Journal of Men’s Health, 8, 97.

Source: http://ift.tt/2jgn2Ba

The Most Powerful Way to Help Someone Through Emotional Pain

“When you can’t look on the bright side, I will sit with you in the dark.” ~Unknown

I walked in for my monthly massage and immediately sensed something was off.

A layer of desolation hung in the air like an invisible mist, ominous and untouchable, yet so thick I felt as though I could reach out and grab a handful in my fist, like wet cement, oozing out between my fingers.

I’d been seeing the same masseuse once a month for three years, repeating the same routine each time. I wait in the hallway just outside her rented studio, a large walk-in closet size room in a building filled with hundreds of similar rooms, each rented to private individuals running their small passion businesses. Across from her, a wax studio. Down the hall, a hair salon.

The building houses the manifested dreams of men and women who finally had enough of the daily nine-to-five grind, fired their bosses, and defiantly forged their way into their own businesses, renting space big enough for their hopes yet small enough for their start-up pockets.

The appointment started unlike any other. When her door’s closed, it means she’s with another client, so I sit in the hallway, in one of the two wobbly wooden chairs the building provides for each tenant, and wait.

When the door opens and the previous client leaves, we greet with hugs and smiles, expressing mutual joy in seeing each other again. As she closes the door, I take off my clothes and lie on the table face down, exchanging small talk about any happenings since we last saw one another.

Except this time, on this fateful day, the door opened and I was greeted by an overwhelming sense of sorrow spilling out of the room with a vengeance, as if it had been trapped for decades.

Standing in place of my masseuse friend was a lifeless, hollow shell of a person with empty zombie eyes. I hardly recognized her.

Jen (not her real name) was clearly not her usual self.

I’ve seen her in several bad moods throughout the years but this was beyond moods, and bad was too kind a word.

Like me, Jen’s an introverted, sensitive soul, and neither of us have tolerance for inauthenticity or meaningless chit chat. We had long established that she didn’t have to be “on” around me, that she was allowed to take off her professional mask and I my client mask and we could simply be ourselves with each other, neither of us having to endure the torture of polite pleasantries if we didn’t feel like it.

One of my pet peeves is society’s constant pressure and expectation to put on a happy face and pretend everything’s okay while inside things are desperately broken.

So I said “hi” and walked in, neither expecting a return “hi” nor receiving one. She closed the door behind me and tears suddenly welled in my eyes as I undressed, as if sorrow no longer had the means to escape through the open door and found another way out by hitchhiking my tears.

I wanted to respect the present moment, even though I didn’t understand it, so I stayed silent and lay on the table, face down, as I’d always done.

Ten minutes in, between deep long strokes on my back, I heard a soft, almost inaudible, “I lost the girls.”

Jen had been pregnant with twin girls. I remember the day she told me. She could barely wait for me to get through the door before blurting out, “I’m pregnant!” She and her husband had been trying to get pregnant for a while and finally, she was not only pregnant, she was pregnant with twins!

And now, she wasn’t anymore.

I sunk into the massage table as the enormity of what she said dropped into me. And then, I started to get up and tell her that she didn’t have to massage me. We could talk if she wanted, or she could take the extra hour to herself, I’d still pay her. She gently nudged my shoulder back down and said she needed to work; it kept her mind from self-destructing.

She told me that her soul had been emptied along with her womb, and there was nothing left, let alone tears, inside her.

I had enough tears for both of us so I told her I’d cry, for her, her girls, and her loss. For the next forty-five minutes, as she released my knots, I released tears, wails, and guttural sobs. It came and went in waves and I became acutely aware of the rhythm of her breathing as it converged with mine and became one.

Between waves, there were moments of talking.

Like with me, she had met many of her clients with the exciting news that she was pregnant, and like with me, she also had to tell them she was no longer pregnant. Client after client, spread out over weeks, she had to repeat the same story over and over until every client who knew had been caught up.

It was a devastating loss for her, and one she had to retell to each client, all hearing it for the first time, all with similar questions and the same sympathetic side tilting heads in response.

She said her days have been filled with well-intentioned but stale advice like “everything happens for a reason,” and “they’re in a better place now,” and “you’ll get pregnant again.”

She told me each time she heard these statements, it felt like another jab in her weary stomach. She didn’t care about getting pregnant again, better places, or higher reasons. When a mother’s unborn babies have been ripped away from her, no reason could ever make it right.

She wasn’t in the headspace to feel better or think of a brighter future, she simply wanted to be acknowledged for the pain she was going through now, but no one had remained with her in the pain. They had all tried to make her feel better, which only made her feel worse.

In our own discomfort of feeling painful emotions, we try to help others not feel theirs. It’s difficult for us to see someone we love suffering, and naturally, our first impulse is to try to make it go away, whether it’s through reason, logic, distraction, faith or any other means.

We feel helpless, so we desperately reach for what we know, what we’ve been taught, and what others have done to us in our own moments of suffering. We offer trite words that deep down we know won’t help but we hold onto the hope that they will anyway because we don’t know what else to say or do.

The more powerful choice is to simply be with someone, accepting and embracing the painful moment as is, without trying to fix or make it better. It goes against our natural urge to want to help, but often, this present moment acceptance of the deep emotions flowing through a person is exactly what they need to help them move through it, in their own time.

As powerful as it is to shine a light for someone who’s ready to emerge, it is equally powerful to sit with them in the darkness until they’re ready.  

After the session, Jen told me she felt relief for the first time since it happened, as if a weight had been lifted from her. She hadn’t realized it, but with each client, friend, and loved one who tried to make her feel better, she felt a mounting sense of pressure to feel better, as if there was something even more wrong with her for not being able to.

She hadn’t been conscious of the constant pressure until it was gone, in our session, when she was finally allowed to feel exactly as she’d been feeling and was fully accepted in her pain.

Stepping out into the hallway and turning back for a long melting hug, I sensed the profound shift in her energy, vastly different from when I had walked in an hour ago. She was still wounded but there was an element of acceptance in her pain, a faint glow of light within the darkness.

This sacred, healing light only comes as a result of fully embracing the darkness. It can’t be forced, manipulated, or pushed into existence.

This is the true power of accepting our own deep pain and sitting with someone in the dark as they feel theirs.

About Tree Franklyn

Tree Franklyn is a best-selling author and emotional empowerment coach who teaches soul-centered empathic women how to manage their deep, overwhelming emotions so they can reconnect with who they truly are and start creating the life they want. Download a free copy of her Ultimate Emotional Survival Guide for Empaths and Sensitive Souls here.

Get in the conversation! Click here to leave a comment on the site.

The post The Most Powerful Way to Help Someone Through Emotional Pain appeared first on Tiny Buddha.

Source: https://tinybuddha.com

The Most Powerful Way to Help Someone Through Emotional Pain

“When you can’t look on the bright side, I will sit with you in the dark.” ~Unknown

I walked in for my monthly massage and immediately sensed something was off.

A layer of desolation hung in the air like an invisible mist, ominous and untouchable, yet so thick I felt as though I could reach out and grab a handful in my fist, like wet cement, oozing out between my fingers.

I’d been seeing the same masseuse once a month for three years, repeating the same routine each time. I wait in the hallway just outside her rented studio, a large walk-in closet size room in a building filled with hundreds of similar rooms, each rented to private individuals running their small passion businesses. Across from her, a wax studio. Down the hall, a hair salon.

The building houses the manifested dreams of men and women who finally had enough of the daily nine-to-five grind, fired their bosses, and defiantly forged their way into their own businesses, renting space big enough for their hopes yet small enough for their start-up pockets.

The appointment started unlike any other. When her door’s closed, it means she’s with another client, so I sit in the hallway, in one of the two wobbly wooden chairs the building provides for each tenant, and wait.

When the door opens and the previous client leaves, we greet with hugs and smiles, expressing mutual joy in seeing each other again. As she closes the door, I take off my clothes and lie on the table face down, exchanging small talk about any happenings since we last saw one another.

Except this time, on this fateful day, the door opened and I was greeted by an overwhelming sense of sorrow spilling out of the room with a vengeance, as if it had been trapped for decades.

Standing in place of my masseuse friend was a lifeless, hollow shell of a person with empty zombie eyes. I hardly recognized her.

Jen (not her real name) was clearly not her usual self.

I’ve seen her in several bad moods throughout the years but this was beyond moods, and bad was too kind a word.

Like me, Jen’s an introverted, sensitive soul, and neither of us have tolerance for inauthenticity or meaningless chit chat. We had long established that she didn’t have to be “on” around me, that she was allowed to take off her professional mask and I my client mask and we could simply be ourselves with each other, neither of us having to endure the torture of polite pleasantries if we didn’t feel like it.

One of my pet peeves is society’s constant pressure and expectation to put on a happy face and pretend everything’s okay while inside things are desperately broken.

So I said “hi” and walked in, neither expecting a return “hi” nor receiving one. She closed the door behind me and tears suddenly welled in my eyes as I undressed, as if sorrow no longer had the means to escape through the open door and found another way out by hitchhiking my tears.

I wanted to respect the present moment, even though I didn’t understand it, so I stayed silent and lay on the table, face down, as I’d always done.

Ten minutes in, between deep long strokes on my back, I heard a soft, almost inaudible, “I lost the girls.”

Jen had been pregnant with twin girls. I remember the day she told me. She could barely wait for me to get through the door before blurting out, “I’m pregnant!” She and her husband had been trying to get pregnant for a while and finally, she was not only pregnant, she was pregnant with twins!

And now, she wasn’t anymore.

I sunk into the massage table as the enormity of what she said dropped into me. And then, I started to get up and tell her that she didn’t have to massage me. We could talk if she wanted, or she could take the extra hour to herself, I’d still pay her. She gently nudged my shoulder back down and said she needed to work; it kept her mind from self-destructing.

She told me that her soul had been emptied along with her womb, and there was nothing left, let alone tears, inside her.

I had enough tears for both of us so I told her I’d cry, for her, her girls, and her loss. For the next forty-five minutes, as she released my knots, I released tears, wails, and guttural sobs. It came and went in waves and I became acutely aware of the rhythm of her breathing as it converged with mine and became one.

Between waves, there were moments of talking.

Like with me, she had met many of her clients with the exciting news that she was pregnant, and like with me, she also had to tell them she was no longer pregnant. Client after client, spread out over weeks, she had to repeat the same story over and over until every client who knew had been caught up.

It was a devastating loss for her, and one she had to retell to each client, all hearing it for the first time, all with similar questions and the same sympathetic side tilting heads in response.

She said her days have been filled with well-intentioned but stale advice like “everything happens for a reason,” and “they’re in a better place now,” and “you’ll get pregnant again.”

She told me each time she heard these statements, it felt like another jab in her weary stomach. She didn’t care about getting pregnant again, better places, or higher reasons. When a mother’s unborn babies have been ripped away from her, no reason could ever make it right.

She wasn’t in the headspace to feel better or think of a brighter future, she simply wanted to be acknowledged for the pain she was going through now, but no one had remained with her in the pain. They had all tried to make her feel better, which only made her feel worse.

In our own discomfort of feeling painful emotions, we try to help others not feel theirs. It’s difficult for us to see someone we love suffering, and naturally, our first impulse is to try to make it go away, whether it’s through reason, logic, distraction, faith or any other means.

We feel helpless, so we desperately reach for what we know, what we’ve been taught, and what others have done to us in our own moments of suffering. We offer trite words that deep down we know won’t help but we hold onto the hope that they will anyway because we don’t know what else to say or do.

The more powerful choice is to simply be with someone, accepting and embracing the painful moment as is, without trying to fix or make it better. It goes against our natural urge to want to help, but often, this present moment acceptance of the deep emotions flowing through a person is exactly what they need to help them move through it, in their own time.

As powerful as it is to shine a light for someone who’s ready to emerge, it is equally powerful to sit with them in the darkness until they’re ready.  

After the session, Jen told me she felt relief for the first time since it happened, as if a weight had been lifted from her. She hadn’t realized it, but with each client, friend, and loved one who tried to make her feel better, she felt a mounting sense of pressure to feel better, as if there was something even more wrong with her for not being able to.

She hadn’t been conscious of the constant pressure until it was gone, in our session, when she was finally allowed to feel exactly as she’d been feeling and was fully accepted in her pain.

Stepping out into the hallway and turning back for a long melting hug, I sensed the profound shift in her energy, vastly different from when I had walked in an hour ago. She was still wounded but there was an element of acceptance in her pain, a faint glow of light within the darkness.

This sacred, healing light only comes as a result of fully embracing the darkness. It can’t be forced, manipulated, or pushed into existence.

This is the true power of accepting our own deep pain and sitting with someone in the dark as they feel theirs.

About Tree Franklyn

Tree Franklyn is a best-selling author and emotional empowerment coach who teaches soul-centered empathic women how to manage their deep, overwhelming emotions so they can reconnect with who they truly are and start creating the life they want. Download a free copy of her Ultimate Emotional Survival Guide for Empaths and Sensitive Souls here.

Get in the conversation! Click here to leave a comment on the site.

The post The Most Powerful Way to Help Someone Through Emotional Pain appeared first on Tiny Buddha.

Source: https://tinybuddha.com

5 Ways Mindfulness Can Relieve Your Chronic Pain

You’re reading 5 Ways Mindfulness Can Relieve Your Chronic Pain, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’re enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

As scientists prove the many benefits of daily mindfulness practice, more Westerners are getting interested in meditation. A recent study found that 8 percent of Americans meditate on a regular basis. Although meditation is one of the most popular mindfulness practices, any exercise that forces a person to pay attention to the present moment could be considered mindfulness – other popular mindfulness techniques include yoga, journaling, and even long walks in nature. The benefits of all mindfulness exercises are the same: better sleep, increased vitality, reduced stress, and, believe it or not, less physical pain.

Mindfulness: A Cure For Chronic Pain?

That’s right, many chronic pain patients have found relief from years of suffering by practicing mindfulness on a consistent basis. It might seem odd that consciously sitting with our pain could reduce it over time, but hundreds of studies now prove daily mindfulness practice changes how the brain perceives pain.
If you’re suffering from a chronic pain condition, you should consider practicing some form of mindfulness every day. Need more convincing? Well then, read the five reasons mindfulness can help relieve physical pain listed below. By the end of this article, you should be thoroughly convinced of the healing power of mindfulness.

1. Learn To Change Your Mind

One way mindfulness benefits people with chronic pain is by helping them see their pain from a new perspective. As you become more aware of your thoughts and feelings, you’ll be able to notice a negative thought pattern and change it quickly. With years of mindfulness practice, you’ll start to notice your subconscious mind actually starts generating positive thoughts and emotions.
You could also consider supplementing your meditation practice with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT practitioners work with you to recognize unbeneficial thoughts and emotions, analyze why they arise, and, eventually, change them.

2. Easing your Anxiety With Mindfulness

Let’s face it, chronic pain can be stressful. It’s no wonder a majority of chronic pain patients also suffer from mental disorders like anxiety and depression. Thankfully, mindfulness meditation has been shown to help people cope with the stresses chronic pain puts on their lives. By sitting with your anxiety and accepting it without judgment, you’ll find that your mental worries slowly melt away. MRI scans have shown that meditators have less pronounced “fight or flight” centers in their brains. As you decrease your anxiety, you’ll find that it’s far easier for you to manage daily tasks.

3. Mindfulness Strengthens Your Intuition

Repressed emotions can manifest as physical pain symptoms. One of the best ways to release these deep emotions is by consistently practicing mindfulness. In addition to watching your thoughts during meditation, journaling and/or talk therapy are great ways to get at the root of what’s causing your pain. People who practice journaling on a regular basis have been shown to have stronger immune systems, less depression, and increased emotional intuition. Whatever form of mindfulness you practice, you’re sure to gain a better understanding of how your subconscious mind is contributing to your physical pain symptoms.

4. Mindfulness Brings You To The Present Moment

Researchers at UC Davis believe one of the main reasons meditators have lower stress levels and their experience of pain is because mindfulness meditation removes two of the main triggers of anxiety: dwelling on the past and worrying about the future. It’s true that mindfulness practice brings us into the “timeless present.” Most people believe they’re in the present moment, but oftentimes our minds are somewhere in the future or the past…or even on the moon!
Try it for yourself: follow your breath and see just how many subconscious thoughts rise to the surface. This is what Buddhist monks call the “monkey mind.” With dedicated practice, however, you’ll find it easier to let yourself relax in present moment awareness.

5. Less Reactivity Improves The Quality Of Relationships

Unfortunately, one major source of stress in the modern world comes from relationships. Instead of providing emotional support in difficult times, relationships with family, friends, and romantic partners tend to add anxiety to our lives. Luckily, mindfulness practice can teach us valuable listening skills necessary for healthy relationships. Since mindfulness practice stresses the importance of non-judgmental acceptance of the present moment, you will naturally develop more patience and become a better listener. With a heightened sense of your inner life, it will become easier for you to read the emotions of others from a non-judgmental viewpoint. This will make you far better at forgiving others for their faults and resolving conflicts.
And believe it or not, numerous studies suggest that there’s a huge correlation between a person’s ability to forgive and his/her pain symptoms. By learning how to be more open to others through mindfulness practice, you’ll easily reduce interpersonal stress with all those around you.

Tips To Get The Most Out Of Mindfulness

Before embarking on your mindfulness journey, you should know that the best way to accrue benefits from mindfulness is to practice it every day. It’s far better to practice for 15 minutes every day than to practice all-day sessions only on the weekends. It’s a great idea to set a time and prepare a quiet space for daily practice.
Thankfully, there are numerous apps you can download that will remind you to practice. A few great mindfulness apps available for free include Calm, MINDBODY, Smiling Mind, and Insight Timer.
People with chronic pain might want to consider purchasing the Curable app. This app uses mindbody therapy techniques, including guided mindfulness meditations, to help address your chronic pain symptoms.
Also, chronic pain sufferers should incorporate other mindfulness practices in addition to meditation for better results. A few other easy mindfulness techniques include going for a relaxing walk every day or listening to soothing music. If your psychosomatic symptoms are debilitating, you might want to consider seeing a psychologist who specializes in chronic pain.

Incorporate Mindfulness Into Your Life Today

Nobody who commits to mindfulness practice regrets it. There’s no doubt that mindfulness has incredible healing potential for people with a wide variety of psychological and physical symptoms. Within a few months of daily practice, you’ll be amazed to see the change in your mood and sense of well-being.

You’ve read 5 Ways Mindfulness Can Relieve Your Chronic Pain, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’ve enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

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