Introducing myself... and offering you a way to get a little more peace in your life.

By Dr GaryCA Latest Activity December 4, 2010 at 10:13 pm Views 6,214 Replies 4 Likes 5

Dr Gary


First, a quick introduction. I counsel individuals who are facing chronic conditions, as well as their family members and caregivers. I work with them on dealing with the emotions around their condition, making treatment decisions, communicating with healthcare providers, creating positive relationships, and other issues that arise. One issue that comes up a lot is stress management, especially during the holidays.

I recently posted a short article about meditation on another discussion board, and am posting it again here. I hope that, by doing so, I can offer you some ideas that might help you to get through the holidays – and beyond – a little, if not a lot, less stressed out. Peace on earth, right?

As you probably know, constant stress can affect us mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Who needs that? So… what are you doing about your stress?

Have you tried using relaxation techniques like mindfulness meditation?
You’re probably asking: “Don’t we have to get out of our minds, or at least the jumble of thoughts and feelings that we all carry with us, if we are going to have any peace? I can’t sneak away and pretzel-ize myself into a lotus position!” Actually, the benefit of meditation is to learn to be with – and not avoid – what goes on inside our minds as well as what goes on around us, and to be more aware of what’s important.

Meditation actually helps you to calm the inner clutter in your mind – fear, anger, jealousy – so that you can participate more fully in life, with compassion and understanding. With meditation, you train the mind to stop reacting. That can make all the difference in a moment of stress. And who doesn’t have moments of stress?

Start with a Body Scan. When you find yourself about to become overwhelmed do a mental scan to see what parts of your body you are clenching, like your fists or your jaw. Relax those muscles. This will send a message to your brain that you aren’t mobilizing for a battle and, chances are, you’ll feel some relief. If you can, try to step away for a moment.

Watch Your Breath. Literally. Breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth, start out by simply watching your breath. Soon, you’ll notice yourself breathing more slowly, calmly, and deeply. Count your breaths from one to ten. Then backwards. Then start again.

Don’t Fight Your Noisy Mind. Our minds never stop their activity. Don’t fight yourself! Let’s say you have a memory of something that happened during the day. Don’t push it away, but instead say something like: “Yeah, that guy really got in my way. One (breath in, breath out on each count). Two. Yep, I’m annoyed. Three. Four. I can’t control anyone else’s behavior. Five. Six. Oh yeah, I almost forgot. Life is good.”

Your mind may still be bang-banging for action. If you have to return to the source of the stress, remind yourself that you can be in the chaos but you still don’t have to be part of it. Tell your mind to quiet down. After all, meditation is a discipline.

Try the Three Minute Smile. Even in the middle of a crazy day, you can take a minute or so to take a mental vacation. Mentally leave the moment to hit the beach to feel the warm sun and smile at the friends you brought with you. And then hold that smile when you return to the real world.

Wake Up! Learn to relax when that urge to control takes over, and you’ll find that there is more to you, and the world, than you ever imagined. You may even feel as if you’ve been sleepwalking.

How are you handling your stress? Any ideas to share? Any questions or frustrations that we can help you with? Feel free to chime in!

  • Report Report as inappropriate
  • Share
    Email Email
    Print Print Twitter Twitter
    Facebook Facebook

Replies (4 replies)

Add your reply Reply Down
  • Beautiful Soul
    Beautiful Soul February 10, 2014 at 8:07 pm   

    I am so happy I found this site. I have been dealing with Epilepsy since I was 16 yrs old. Its been a long journey but, I m glad that I have finally been seizure free for the second time since being diagnosed. However, this time since (October ) has been by far the longest time. I have not had any recurring episodes as of yet. I believe I handle the seizures pretty good. My mother is the issue. She has not handled it well at all. She constantly blames my father and his family for me having the seizures. She keeps saying that if she had only known this before they got married then I would not be here. I keep telling her get its quite a bit late to have regrets. I'm 36 for goodness, come on. I get excited when I reach a goal of not having any seizures and she does not want to hear of it. So, I have my own party. Anyhow, I understand how it can be scary for a parent but, its really hard for the person who is having the seizures and there is no know cure for it. Help, How can one understand how to help others help you. I can't stand to be stressed out.

  • WarriorPrincess83
    WarriorPrincess83 December 17, 2013 at 12:11 am   

    This really helped me. I so needed to see this. I have been doing some of the techniques when I feel overwhelmed or feeling the symptoms of an anxiety attack coming a long.

  • momAmber
    momAmber November 26, 2013 at 6:50 pm   

    I also have experienced first hand the benefits of practicing mindfulness, meditation, acceptance, and the all-important concept of just being present in the moment. The more you allow yourself to be caught up in your own head, how the situation could be better, or how different your ideal would be, the higher your stress level goes. And stress just makes any chronic condition worse! Change what you can, let the rest go!

  • Aaleayha
    Aaleayha January 7, 2013 at 1:00 am   

    There are great benefits to meditation! Not only does deep breathing stimulate brain activity but it also stimulates digestion, healthy heart function and other things. Also thinking positively in the face of crisis, no matter how depressing the news, make it a habit and you won't have to force yourself to get through the day, I've learned. Having people you love surround you and support you is also a great way to feel strong and positive. I'm no doctor but these are things that have gotten me through the hard times :)

    Thanks for posting this!