Monthly Archives: July 2010

Mind Body Class #3

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The most amazing thing I learned last night at my third mind/body class was not on the agenda.  It came about from an off-hand remark made by the psychotherapist who is part of the trio of women conducting the course.

The topic that was on the agenda was an introduction to the Cognitive Behavioral Model used in breaking negative thought patterns that lead to emotional and physical stress.    In our discussion on various types of thought errors (catastrophic thinking, perfectionism, “all-or-nothing” thinking among many), the psychotherapist made an off-the-cuff comment on how intuitive healing was an interest of hers.    This piqued the curiosity of one of the class members who asked for a definition of intuitive healing.  The psychotherapist explained that intuitive healing occurs when the practitioner uses her or his intuition to detect energy blockages in a patient and recommend ways to overcome the blockage.

After a few minutes of discussion, I timidly raised my hand and asked if emotional and physical stress could be caused when individuals draw energy from other individuals’ energy fields.  She affirmed that this was true and that to fend off “energy vampires” (her term, not mine), we could use assertive dialogue with the individuals drawing our energy, or “visualize a bubble of energy around you to keep their energy from you.”

Okay…..

I wasn’t so much blown away by what she said.  I’ve read this before and to a certain extent I believe it.   But what blew me away was  the fact that I was listening to this explanation from a representative of a gigantic managed care organization.  This is the same organization that a few years ago would not recognize acupuncture as a legitimate  health care practice.  (At least my primary care physician didn’t think much of it).   This is the same organization that gives 15 minute doctor visits and has, up to now, solved most of my problems with a prescription.    There has definitely been a change in thinking… at least by a handful of practitioners.

One of the other facilitators quickly got our discussion back on track.  I’m not certain if it was because we were getting behind schedule or if she wanted to steer us away from any more discussion on this topic.

I have to say that this week’s class was everything but boring.  I am looking forward to seeing if next week will bring anything new… like aromatherapy?  Drumming?  Bellydancing for fun and well-being?

Hey, whatever works!

Lori G. (c) 2010

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Mind Body Class #2

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I went to my second Mind Body session last night.

We started with a mindful breathing exercise leading into a “body scan.”    A body scan is basically relaxing each part of your body starting at the head down to the toes in sync with the breathing exercise.

Then we spent the rest of our time discussing some of the physical things we can do to reduce stress and live more healthfully.  We discussed how foods affect moods with a focus on the dire effects of caffeine.   Yes, I drink way too much coffee  and I eat crap when I’m unhappy or stressed out.  This I already knew.

We also discussed the necessity of slow and mindful eating.  To illustrate her point, the facilitator passed around some raisins and instructed us to each take ONE raisin.   We were told to close our eyes and smell the raisin first, then slowly take a tiny nibble of the raisin.  She was trying to drive home the point that we need to eat more slowly and actually savor and enjoy the taste of each bite.   She suggested that at least once this week that we eat a “mindful” meal — not watching television while we eat, sitting at a table (not the coffee table like I do), and to taste everything.    Good point.  Actually, that may be one of the hardest things I do this week.

Then we went over the USDA’s “new and improved” food pyramid.  That brought forth quite a bit of discussion.  It seems that the feds want us to drink more milk — 3 cups a day.  THREE CUPS?   One man spoke up and pointed out that many people are lactose intolerant (in fact, nearly half the class appeared to be lactose intolerant).   The facilitators seemed surprised at that.  I’m not a nutritionist but even I knew that.   This gentleman pointed out that the government food pyramid changes every few years depending on which food manufacturers have sway in Washington at any given moment.  The milk producers must be in town right now.  I’m inclined to believe him.    I noticed that the participants seemed more knowledgeable about food and nutrition than did the facilitators.

We spoke at length about sleep problems.  I do everything wrong.  I don’t have a set bed time, I eat too late, I have a computer in my bedroom (electromagnetic waves will disrupt sleep).   And again with the caffeine.  Alright already.  I promise to cut back.

My action plan of last week was to walk at least 20 minutes 3 times per week and to meditate at least 5 minutes every night.  I managed the meditation, but I only walked about 10 minutes three times this week.   In light of that, I decided that I would not increase my walking commitment for this week’s action plan.  Instead I would stick with 20 minutes three times a week and make a better effort to do it.  I did manage my first 20 minute walk today at lunch.   I will try to increase my meditation to 10 minutes every night.  I will cut back on caffeine.  This morning I reduced my coffee from a grande to a tall.   And I am going to try to do a short yoga routine at least once this week.  The mindful eating thing?  I dunno about that.    Each week we are supposed to predict on a scale of 1 to 10 if we think our goals are achievable.  Last week I put an 8.  This week I put a 7.

I’ll give you a progress report next week.

Lori G. (c) 2010

Mind Body Class #1

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Last night, I started a Mind-Body course through my HMO provider.   My purpose in enrolling is to be better informed on how the mind and body affect each other and to become disciplined in the application of the practices that will bring about a balance between the two.

Yes, you might say I have been a bit unbalanced in this regard.  🙂

The course is two hours, every Tuesday night, for 8 weeks.    Last night, the three instructors (an RN, a psychotherapist, and a social worker) introduced themselves and had us do likewise.  We were also asked to  state our goals for the eight weeks.  (There were about 25 of us so it took a while).   I would say that about 80% of us were there because we could not get a good night’s sleep due to worry.  Most of us wanted to learn how to change our thinking in regards to various life-stressors.

We discussed the fight or flight reactions and how they affect our health.

We were taught how to breathe:  belly breathing, good — chest breathing, not-so-good.  I have to say that for the first few minutes of the exercise, I could not take a deep, lung-filling breath.  I needed to yawn to get a deep intake.   After a few minutes, it went better.

We were given some printed materials to study for the next week, about breathing,  along with a CD of relaxation music.   We were assigned a home practice of listing some small attainable goals for this week and then keep written log of our progress.

My goals for the coming week:  5 minutes of mindful breathing each evening, 20 minutes of walking at least three times this week, and completing the assigned readings for the week.

I have to admit that listening to the relaxation tapes last night before I went to bed got me seven hours of sleep with only one wakeup. That is progress already.

This class just might be a life-changer.  I look down the road and I don’t see some of my life situations changing, and, in fact, they may be getting worse.  This class may be the thing that keeps me together.

More to come.

Lori G (c) 2010