My therapist told me that it might be better to restrict myself to guided meditation that doesn’t involve trying to visualize. I used to really enjoy doing visualizations, but now I am plagued by negative images, the opposite of what I’m after, and cannot see the positive any more. This frustrates and upsets me. What should I do?
For National Meditation Month, we’re saluting three of my favorite teachers – pioneers who’ve made meditative practices more accessible, widely used and accepted by thousands of people.
The first tip of the hat is for Jon Kabat-Zinn, because he’s done so much to bring mindfulness to Westerners. He created a simplified protocol, related it to the practical goal of relieving stress, called it MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) and persuaded hundreds of academic researchers to test its efficacy. (I just searched “MBSR” on PubMed, and today, it delivered 404 studies, 64 of which were published in 2017 – and it’s only May.)
We got this question from a woman who says she cannot part with her things. So, in honor of Pack Rat Day, we’re posting her question and BR’s answer.
I’m a 56-year-old woman who cannot part with my things – old papers, my kids’ baby clothes, their old school projects, yellowed, ratty music programs, and even letters from people I barely remember. I listen to your tapes nightly in the tub and love them. Got any advice for me? Thank you, Ellie.
Compulsive hoarding, holding on to possessions to the extent that it negatively affects every aspect of your life, is called Hoarding Disorder, and if this applies to you or someone you love, it’s time to get professional help.
In her blog post, A 61-Year-Old Woman Suffers from Compulsive Hoarding, Cluttering her House, Belleruth explained it this way: “If left untended, it can get quite extreme, with more and more of your life constricted and disabled by it. There is a biochemical and neurological aspect to this condition.
“Some people have so much accumulation, they will only have a narrow path from room to room, because canyons have been created by floor-to-ceiling stacks of newspapers and magazines. Stovetops, sofas and tables are buried. Fire and health hazards are created. And of course, your social life is constricted too - you’re too ashamed to have people over to the house. So are your kids.”
Hi BR - LOVE (!) your CDs; thank you for your beautiful work. I have all your programs that your website’s search engine says relate to PTSD.
My question: a decade ago, I developed a phobia of spiders. (I’m getting chills and shudders, even as I write this.) Our beautiful new home in a new city was overrun with 'predator spiders' (huge, Amazonian creatures!) and about 20 different other species - hard to believe, but anyway - we moved.
I went to therapy for quite some time; no help. A few years ago, I was diagnosed with anxiety (no kidding :-) and am on meds. I am doing extremely well, but every time I see a 'beast' in the house (just the 'typical' critters of Spring) I go into full panic mode. This is only for spiders - no other bug produces the long-lasting panic in me.
The guy’s a rather unusual combination of active ingredients: a skillful, efficient, detail-oriented, operations guy; a talented marketer & social media maven; a wondrously speedy and masterful graphic designer; and one dazzle of a people manager.
He comes to us from the magical world of “Scale Up”, which is biz-speak for increasing the size, reach and scope of a company. His past positions have pretty much been in health, one way or another - mostly nutrition, wellness, and physical activity.
[Sidebar: He also sings professionally, rides a unicycle and juggles, too. I have not made this up.)
We got this question from a caring daughter-in-law to a Holocaust survivor heading into the end of her life with exacerbated symptoms of posttraumatic stress. She needs a simple, soothing narrative, delivered in a simple way she can operate herself. Does such a thing exist, her daughter-in-law asks. It does, we answer.
You could say it’s a revolution in the delivery of adjuvant mental health services - a shift that sneaked up on all of us in plain sight.
Mind-body therapies such as guided imagery, breath work, mindfulness meditation and various relaxation therapies are now available to everyone, providing anonymous, respectful, timely, self-administered self-help, at low or no cost.
People who can’t find or afford a therapist; or who don’t like the idea of going to one; or who need more than a 50-minute session, once a week; or who crave the autonomy of self-administered therapies; or who have panic attacks at 2 am and need something right then to keep them company until the sun comes up - all these folks can now get help by pressing PLAY, on their smart phones, iPods and MP3’s.
We got this question from a weary California therapist, who is struggling with her own discouragement, distress and disorientation following the November election, and whose clients are presenting her with the same issue.
Belleruth gives her some bullet points on preventing burnout and compassion fatigue under these circumstances. They have wide applicability – this is an issue for parents, educators, journalists, friends and managers, too.
I have a question about self-care and coping with stress as a therapist. Now and then we might meet with a client whose issue mirrors something we’re dealing with ourselves. We offer our support while maintaining our professional distance… but it doesn’t usually happen two or three times a week. It has been lately, especially here in California where so many of us are still struggling with the outcome of the November election.
Adults and children on the autism spectrum differ broadly, but nearly all struggle with anxiety, especially at changes in routine. Other challenges they face include compulsive, repetitive behaviors, sleep problems, overstimulated nervous systems and social difficulties.
Our audio programs can help with all but the interpersonal challenges. They make the biggest contribution as a powerful anxiety reducer and mood balancer.
We have combined some of our most popular guided imagery programs, the particularly soothing, calming ones that are most popular with adults and kids on the autism spectrum, into three different packs. We created packs for adults, teens and kids, and specially priced them at a whopping 23% off, to celebrate Autism Awareness Month.
A grateful mother sent us a note last year describing how her daughter, who was so anxious she was close to quitting school, got turned around by some guided imagery downloads on her smart phone. Read on:
My 19-year-old daughter Hilary has always had anxiety when facing pressure (social, tests, new activities). Therefore her Dad and I were not surprised when her first year away at a school less than 30 miles away sent her into major panic mode.
We had many conversations on why she shouldn’t quit school. The whole family got into the act. We were worried and worn out from these sessions.
The ability to mentally imagine the performance of movements is used in sports training and in physiotherapy, as a tool to enhance motor learning and rehabilitation.
It is been assumed that motor imagery activates the same brain areas as actual movement, and this is partially correct. Real life movement activates the left medial frontal areas (preSMA/SMA), prefrontal- and frontal areas, putamen and inferior parietal areas.