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Monthly Archives: May 2014

  1. Americans Hit the Road to Celebrate the End of a Long Winter

    Americans Hit the Road to Celebrate the End of a Long Winter

    According to the American Automobile Association (AAA) travelers are expected to hit the roads, rails and airways this summer in numbers not seen since 2005. My guess is that this has something to do with the end of a long, brutal winter in most parts of the country. Around here there is a lot of excited buzzing about vacations.

    Looking at this photo of traffic, it’s difficult to think of platitudes, but the one I like to remember is, “It’s the journey that brings you happiness, not the destination,” by Dan Millman, from The Way of the Peaceful Warrior.  Of course, in this context, the vacation itself is part of the journey. In fact, all life is a journey, and according to Millman, if we rush through it without being in the moment, the sad thing is not that we die, but that we never lived.

    That philosophy can be translated to vacations. Sometimes, the sad thing might not be that they have to end, but that so much allotted time is spent in planes, cars, trains and busses or waiting for them. What would it take to make more of the traveling at least a little more enjoyable?

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  2. Another Happy Tape User after Total Knee Replacement Surgery

    Dear Belleruth,

    After many years in the war, I am leaving Walter Reed and moving to the Midwest!  My children are there and it’s time for a big change.  

    I recently had a total knee replacement - 3 weeks ago - and used the pain and the pre-surgery guided imagery, and played the music during the surgery.  

    I am so far ahead of schedule in healing! I had minimal pain and soared out of the hospital after an overnight stay.

    I suppose it makes a huge difference to be already fit, eating well and not obese.  But I thought you’d like to hear from another “happy tape user” as we used to call it.

    Best wishes,

    [Ed. Note: We truly hope our elated friend has not spoken too soon – weeks of rehab is no day at the beach for most people who’ve had total knee replacement!]

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  3. She Can’t Tolerate Medication – What to Do for Anxiety, Panic & Traumatic Stress?

    Hi there, Belleruth!
    I heard you speak at a meeting for employees at our place of business, where we participated in a guided imagery session following a violent and tragic incident.

    I have been diagnosed with PTSD and anxiety disorder and, quite honestly, have been battling anxiety all my life (which is very frustrating).

    My question is this: my doctor suggested I start taking Celexa (an anti-depressant in the medication class called SSRI’s, or serotonin reuptake inhibitors) to help treat some of my symptoms, which I did with a lot of reluctance. 

    Needless to say, within about 12 hours after taking the medication, I had the absolute worst panic attack I've ever had.  I have heartburn and nausea, dilated pupils, feel edgy and moody.
    I absolutely will not take another anti-depressant.
    Are there any other solutions to PTSD and anxiety?  Any help or input would be so much appreciated!!!
    Thank you!
    Donna K.

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  4. Aromatherapy Massage & Reflexology Found Equally Effective for Cancer Patients

    Researchers from the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust in London, UK, compared the efficacy of reflexology vs. aromatherapy massage for ameliorating stated symptoms of concern in cancer patients.
    Adult oncology patients in this non-blinded, randomized study were randomized to either four aromatherapy massage or four reflexology sessions. MYCaW scores were taken at baseline and completion; VAS relaxation scores were gathered pre and post-sessions.

    Measuring instruments consisted of unpaired t-tests for the primary outcome; analysis of variance tests for repeated measures for VAS (relaxation); descriptive statistics (means and 95% confidence intervals) and content analysis for patient comments.

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  5. Why Guided Imagery Works So Well for Sleep

    Audio Sample

    Hello again, everyone. 

    In combing over the feedback we get, it became clear very quickly that we get the most mail from grateful people who’ve used our sleep imagery.  In fact, over the years, Healthful Sleep has bumped Weight Loss as our top selling guided imagery recording, whether that’s in tape, CD, download or app format.

    One soldier, who had been able to use it to help him sleep downrange, and now that he’s home, for insomnia and fear of nightmares, expressed curiosity about why it worked so well for him.

    I think the answer is two-fold.  For the hyper-alert state that’s buzzing around in the primitive, survival-based structures of the brain, the nonverbal stuff – the soothing music and calming voice tone, not to mention the images of safety and support - signal that it’s okay to relax.

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  6. Simple Ways to Make Every Day Earth Day

    “In your heart is the future of our planet. You can make a difference through passion, compassion and love.”—Emmett Miller, from Healing Our Planet

    One of the best ways you can take part in healing the planet is to develop a deep appreciation for it, as a living entity. If you love something, it is difficult to consciously do anything to harm it. If you have not initiated a relationship with our living planet, try it and see for yourself the wonder that surrounds and supports us at all times.

    One exercise you can try involves just looking at the sky. When you go outside, look at the sky and slowly turn around in a complete circle, noticing that it is always there, all around you. Some days it is bright blue. Other days it is gray, with bits of orange or yellow peeking through, and sometimes it is pale blue, with fluffy clouds. Once in a while, it displays colors and patterns, like a moveable painting, but it is always there, all around you and above you. Once you do this, you might find yourself noticing the sky a lot more often, and you will not be as likely to miss the gift of a fire-y sunset display or a star-studded night sky.

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  7. May is National Meditation Month, a Time for Beginning

    May is National Meditation Month, a Time for Beginning

    “If your mind is empty, it is always ready for anything, it is open to everything. In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's mind there are few. ” ― Shunryu Suzuki, from Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind.

    I had a coffee mug with a slogan that read, “Don’t just do something, sit there.” I bought it on my first trip to a Zen center in California, where I learned the phrase, “There are two words that describe Zen-not always so.” That’s where I also learned that meditation is so simple that it’s difficult. You just sit there. How hard it that? The trick is you just sit there. You don’t think, you don’t worry, you don’t mentally complain how stuffy the room is, you don’t fidget, sleep, daydream, chew gum or think about what the monks are making for lunch.

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  8. Reduced Depression a Possible Key to 12-Step Success

    Investigators from San Diego State University/University of California looked at whether, for dual diagnosis veterans with substance dependence and major depressive disorder, 12-Step success with alcohol and drug use might be mediated by reductions in depression. 

    Veterans (209) with this dual diagnosis (chemical dependency and depression) were enrolled in this controlled trial, randomized to either Twelve-Step Facilitation (TSF) or Integrated Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (ICBT), delivered in out-patient groups for 6 months, with support from medication.

    Twelve-Step attendance and affiliation, depression severity, percentage of days drinking and percentage of days using drugs were assessed at baseline and at months 3, 6 and 9.

    Greater 12-Step meeting attendance predicted lower depression and mediated the superior depression outcomes of the TSF group, explaining 24.3% of the group difference in depression.

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  9. A New Variation on that Age-Old Kid Refrain: You Are Not the Boss of Me!

    I’m not sure you could call this video clip from the Ellen DeGeneres Show inspiring, but it’s pretty hilarious.  This little 3-yr-old is making the case to his mom to let him have a cupcake. The substance of his argument is that Grandma lets him have them.
    He’s buttressing his ask with a dazzling display of swagger.  I’d love to meet the person who’s been modeling this behavior for the little dude.  Or maybe not...
    In any case, it’s wildly comic to see this behavior in a little squeezer, but this mom, who’s sort of holding her own here, may need a team of parenting coaches in the future, just to stay a half-step ahead of her little litigator as he gets older.
    Seriously, if you do nothing else today, check this out - guaranteed comic relief.

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  10. O, The Joy of Tossing Clutter!

    Hello again.

    Lately I seem to be having a lot of conversations with friends about clearing out clutter. Must be spring! Or entry into a post-child rearing, de-nesting phase.  Most people I talk to really want to do it.  They feel oppressed by the stuff surrounding them.  I think it actually creates a kind of constant, subliminal stress.
    But they also feel overwhelmed by the enormity of the job.  After years of inadvertent accumulation, let me tell you, it can be a pretty daunting prospect.

    When I was getting ready to sell my big, old, Charles Addams-esque house in Cleveland Heights (designed for relentless entertaining from when my husband was a grad school dean), I was taken firmly in hand by my real estate agent and told that clean surfaces, open spaces and orderly closets would be the sine qua non of unloading that gigantic sucker.
    Now, mind you, this was a huge house with lots of hidden spaces.  You could stash something useless away (for later? forever? for what?) and forget you ever had it, because you’d never see it again. The living areas would still look pretty good.  I had boxes on the third floor and in the basement that hadn’t been opened since our last move from Washington DC (where I had unopened boxes from the move before that from Watertown, MA...).  You get the picture.

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