Posts Tagged ‘MINDFULNESS’

Focus has helped me heal the most

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Think of things in your life that demand focus.

How would you describe your ability to focus?

For me, hitting a baseball at a professional level with 25,000 screaming fans tops my list.

This skill lay dormant for decades until PTSD erupted.

When therapy after therapy had little impact, a hybrid therapy, Acceptance and Commitment using meditation entered my life.

Now that external focus I had built, the ability to hit a round object with a round bat in milliseconds, needed to be turned inward.

All my friends laughed, a Type a driver, an anxious, hyped up jock was going to sit quiet and meditate.

Yes, it was awkward for a while, then my focus got stronger, thoughts faded and life changed.

Our ability to focus when our trauma thoughts and emotions visit us is key to surviving.

I could not let go, release my fears and abuse without the ability to focus and stay present.

It is the core of integrating trauma, healing for me.

It is the safe haven I can visit anytime, anywhere.

It seems mundane and powerless.

I have found the opposite.

When I can focus, nature comes alive, I see beauty and perfection and opportunity.

We know all to well how to feel abuse, anxiety, fear and panic.

How do you handle your intrusive thoughts and emotions?

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An important relationship that stays hidden!

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Many things we experience daily are overlooked, almost invisible in plain sight.

If I were to ask you to describe everything in a room, the two most dominant things would be overlooked.

Similar to this, we hardly ever consider the relationship with our mind even exists.

As a somewhat seasoned meditator, an old guy, I never knew the importance of my relationship with my own mind.

Being severely abused as a child, my mind did not wire properly from the start.

An abused child needs much more work to have a healthy relationship with their mind.

Worry, doubt, fear, shame, joy, happiness and anger spring forth from our minds.

Suffering and happiness are the extremes.

Meditation has taught me to let thoughts go, to resist the invisible prison negative thoughts and emotions surround us with.

The more I can stay present, focused, empty of negative influence, the greater chance for wellbeing and happiness.

Answer: The two dominant things in the room are light and the spaces between furniture and things.

Without light the room appears empty, without the spaces between objects it would be a storage unit.

We focus on all the chairs, tables, floor, and accessories, the two dominant things are invisible to us.

Think about your relationship with your mind.

Do you avoid and deny when trauma or emotionally awkward situations occur?

My mind needs more resilience, more self-compassion and more equanimity.

How about your mind?

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80% of Women do not like what they see in the Mirror

That’s Life by Mike Twohy

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“Among women over eighteen looking at themselves in the mirror, research indicates that at least eighty percent are unhappy with what they see.

Many will not even be seeing an accurate reflection.

Most of us have heard that people with anorexia see themselves as larger than they really are, but some recent research indicates that this kind of distorted body image is by no means confined to those suffering from eating disorders—in some studies up to eighty percent of women overestimated their size.

Increasing numbers of women with no weight problems or clinical psychological disorders look at themselves in the mirror and see ugliness and fat.

• According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, since 1997, there has been a 465 percent increase in the total number of cosmetic procedures.

• Women had nearly 10.7 million cosmetic procedures, ninety percent of the total. The number of cosmetic procedures for women has increased forty-nine percent since 2003.

• The top five surgical procedures for women were: liposuction, breast augmentation, eyelid surgery, tummy tuck and facelift.

Americans spent just under $12.5 billion on cosmetic procedures in 2004. Who benefits from the appearance expectations?

• The $38 billion hair industry.

• The $33 billion diet industry.

• The $24 billion skincare industry.

• The $18 billion makeup industry.

• The $15 billion perfume industry.

• The $13 billion cosmetic surgery industry.”

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Early shame experiences stored as Trauma?

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From Benne Brown:

“After studying Dr. Uram’s work, I believe it’s possible that many of our early shame experiences, especially with parents and caregivers, were stored in our brains as traumas.

This is why we often have such painful bodily reactions when we feel criticized, ridiculed, rejected and shamed.

Dr. Uram explains that the brain does not differentiate between overt or big trauma and covert or small, quiet trauma—it just registers the event as “a threat that we can’t control.”

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My two cents: I believe some emotions especially shame, enlarge our Trauma, our PTSD symptoms and the duration of our suffering.

My childhood trauma is the bed all other traumas in my life lay in.

My childhood trauma in fact, made me much more vulnerable for other traumas to happen.

Childhood trauma has crippled my resilience to handle betrayal.

Even now, if someone betrays me, they are done for life.

I have healed a couple of times but many behaviors and fears still operate.

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Benne Brown: It’s everything you have to deal with the rest of your life.

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“Experience: When I think of shame I think of being sexually abused when I was growing up.

I think about what that’s done to my life and how it’s changed everything.

It’s not just the abuse itself.

It’s everything you have to deal with the rest of your life.

It’s like you feel different from anyone else; nothing is ever normal for you.

Everything is about that.

I’m not allowed just to have a regular life.

That is the thing that made me who I am and so everything is stained by that.

That’s what shame is for me.

Emotions: Feeling labeled, dismissed, misunderstood and reduced.

Emotions might include grief, loss, frustration and anger.

Dig Deep: Have you ever been defined by an experience? Found yourself unable to get out from under a reputation or “an incident”?

Have you ever been unfairly labeled?

Have you ever had people attribute your behaviors to an identity you don’t deserve?

Have you ever fought to overcome something, only to find others less than willing to move past it?”

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the need to know that we are not alone.

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Benne Brown:

“Empathy seeking is driven by the need to know that we are not alone.

We need to know that other people have experienced similar feelings and that our experiences don’t keep us from being accepted and affirmed.

Empathy helps us move away from shame toward resilience.

Sympathy, on the other hand, can actually exacerbate shame.”

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Shame and Fear From Benne Brown

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From the book: “I thought it was just about me” (but it isn’t)

“When I asked women to share examples of how they recovered from shame,

they described situations in which they were able to talk about their shame with someone who expressed empathy.

Women talked about the power of hearing someone say:

• “I understand—I’ve been there.”

• “That’s happened to me too.”

• “It’s OK, you’re normal.”

• “I understand what that’s like.”

Like shame itself, the stories of resilience shared a common core.

When it comes to shame resilience, empathy is at the center.”

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Hyperarousal Signs of PTSD

From https://blackbearrehab.com/mental-health/ptsd/signs-and-symptoms-of-ptsd/

“Some signs of post-traumatic stress disorder have to do with the brain and body’s hyperarousal in the wake of a traumatic threat.

Because the brain interprets the traumatic event as a present danger, natural fight-or-flight reactions become engaged – and sometimes prolonged during re-experiencing of the event.

In combination with general hypervigilance that so often accompanies PTSD, these signs of hyperarousal can amount to an exhausting and stressful experience for the survivor.

Insomnia is one PTSD symptom that is associated with hyperarousal. Many survivors with PTSD have significant difficulty falling asleep and staying in a deep sleep throughout the night.

Due to persistent fears, some individuals with PTSD also sleep with the lights on, making it difficult to obtain a restful, REM-level of sleep.

Irritability is another symptom of hyperarousal, where survivors become prone to angry outbursts over slight issues.

This may impact relationships and job performance. Many survivors also experience short-term memory difficulties, making focus, expression, and cognition a struggle.

Others experience constant hypervigilance, seeking to interpret virtually any slight physical or psychological cue and assess the possibilities of further danger.

Finally, many survivors experience a strong “startle response,” which causes the person to suddenly panic and even run, shake, or scream when unexpected sensory input occurs, such as unwelcomed touch, loud noises, or unexpected visual events.”

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Flashbacks and Panic: Signs of Re-experiencing Trauma in PTSD

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From https://blackbearrehab.com/mental-health/ptsd/signs-and-symptoms-of-ptsd/

“Everyday occurrences can “trigger” memories of the traumatic event. When the brain becomes reminded of the trauma, survivors of PTSD may re-experience the event itself, as if it were occurring in the present.

Flashbacks cause the survivor to have a waking, conscious and often sensory experience of the traumatic episode, usually accompanied by visual or auditory immersions.

Intrusive thoughts can also represent the re-experiencing of trauma, as the survivor’s natural efforts to switch mental focus or block the experience fail. Another sign of re-experiencing trauma in PTSD is extreme psychological stress when triggers occur.

He or she may even experience physical sensations of re-experiencing, such as muscles freezing, profuse sweating, racing pulse or heartbeat, yelling, or running away when psychological or physical cues trigger the traumatic event.

Finally, persistent nightmares represent re-experiencing the trauma and in some cases, nightmares that cause the survivor to relive the event can be as traumatic as flashbacks.

Trauma Avoidance Signs of PTSD

Many survivors will avoid locations, people, or even topics of conversation that remind them of the traumatic event itself. Trauma avoidance signs of PTSD include an aversion to emotions, cognitions, or conversations about the traumatic experience, avoidance of places that cause reminders of the trauma and avoidance of hobbies or activities due to all of the fear surrounding the trauma.

Dissociative symptoms also can set in during the brain’s attempts at avoidance, including sensations of depersonalization (“out-of-body” experiences) and derealization (feeling detached from the world), as well as general emotional detachment and social alienation.

Many PTSD survivors also find themselves detached from positive feelings, as the brain attempts to build an emotional wall, leaving them with feelings of “emptiness” or “flat” demeanors. Many PTSD survivors will also begin to ascribe to the belief that they will not live a full life due to their near-death experiences, causing a host of lifestyle issues as they may avoid long-term planning around jobs, careers, relationships or families.”

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“Gone” watching sensory events leave our bodies!

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This concept (Gone) is a core training from a mindfulness program (https://unifiedmindfulness.com/core).

I have used a version of this concept in my mindfulness group.

We bring awareness to a sensory event in our bodies, noticing one part of our body is extremely relaxed or sensing a firm tightness in the solar plexus.

Gone” is the process of watching sensory events as they leave our bodies.

Instead of dealing with external stimulus, we focus on our own sensory stimulus intently.

For me, we expand that awareness to noticing when an agitation or a relaxation starts, stays a while, then witness it leave.

This concept of “Gone” uses no thought and focuses on knowing our body sensations intimately, as they flow through us.

The lesson is clear, sensory things are impermanent.

Our core is solid, not transparent like sensory events.

Anger lights up my solar plexus, accompanied by tensing and tightening of my muscles, followed by adrenaline joining the party.

This is a great opportunity to take a step back and observe.

Leave the external reason for your anger alone, it is our internal sensory world we want to discover.

Feel this sensory event with a curious mindset.

Can you focus, watch this upset leave your body?

It happens everyday without any awareness on our part.

Many of the answers are right below our judgment and indifference.

The premise is, if we have sensory clarity, the external world becomes much easier to navigate.

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