Reduce Painful Experiences

Are you feeling unneeded pain?

The Practice:
Reduce painful experiences.

Why?

Painful experiences range from subtle discomfort to extreme anguish - and there is a place for them. Sorrow can open the heart, anger can highlight injustices, fear can alert you to real threats, and remorse can help you take the high road next time.

But is there really any shortage of suffering in this world? Look at the faces of others - including mine - or your own in the mirror, and see the marks of weariness, irritation, stress, disappointment, longing, and worry. There's plenty of challenge in life already - including unavoidable illness, loss of loved ones, old age, and death - without needing a bias in your brain to give you an extra dose of pain each day.

Yet as on a prior JOT explored, your brain evolved exactly such a “negativity bias” in order to help your ancestors pass on their genes – a bias that produces lots of collateral damage today.

Painful experiences are more than passing discomforts. They produce lasting harms to your physical and mental health. When you’re feeling frazzled, pressured, down, hard on yourself, or simply frustrated, that:

  • Weakens your immune system
  • Impairs nutrient absorption in your gastrointestinal system
  • Increases vulnerabilities in your cardiovascular system
  • Decreases your reproductive hormones; exacerbates PMS
  • Disturbs your nervous system

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Reducing Stress with Mindful Eating

Our stress levels and our moods keep changing all the time. We feel that we can alter our moods by eating what we enjoy, mainly a craving for sweets settles in whenever we are upset or feeling stressed. You indulge in sweets and feel immediately satisfied, but this could also be followed by  a bout of irritability experienced due to a sugar crash following the binging.

 
Research in recent years tells us that just as eating certain foods have a certain impact on our moods , we need to monitor our food intake very carefully as this impacts our stress levels in a very major way. 
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Improve Your Mental and Physical Health With The Power of Laughter

Are you in need of a good laugh? Few things are more beneficial to a person’s overall well-being than laughter. In fact, the benefits of laughter extend to better mental health and is an indicator of better physical health as well.

 

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Finding the Light in the Cracks

This week, I found myself really trying to find the light in the cracks.


That’s not always an easy thing to do, especially if you focus your attention on the blame game coming out of Washington right now with regards to the government shutdown. I mean, really? Who cares? Just fix it.


To me, though, there was a lot of light to be seen this week. I saw the light shine through in the women’s marches that were held around the world on Saturday, and which continue today. People are using their voices to stand up for their rights, and for those of others, and that’s a powerful thing.


I also saw the light this week coming from voices like Olympian Michael Phelps, who bravely opened up to CNN’s David Axelrod about his battle with depression and thoughts of suicide. That sort of honesty and truth will hopefully help many people who are suffering from the same thing know that they are not alone.I also saw the light this week in the news about our president taking a test to assess his cognitive health. I was especially pleased that his doctor spoke about the test and even directed people to take it.

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A Better Answer to Chronic Stress

If an epidemic is defined as a disease that affects whole populations without having a medical cure, then the epidemic of modern life is stress. Itself not a disease, stress instead leads to a breakdown in the body's internal balance, or homeostasis, and from that point onward, if the stress isn't relieved, damage occurs from within. Ironically, most modern people in a developed country do not experience acute stress, the kind that triggers a full-blown fight-or-flight response. There is no battlefront, civil war, rampant violent crime, or struggle over food and water to contend with.

Our epidemic is silent and hidden, in the form of low-level chronic stress. The natural purpose of the body's stress response is to trigger heightened alertness and energy for a short period, a matter of minutes or at most an hour, when fighting or fleeing is a matter of survival. When stress becomes chronic, a "normal" way of life that people believe they have adapted to, stress hormones become a drip-drip in the background of the physiology, and over time, three stages of damage begin to appear:

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How We Are Feeding Our Pain Without Knowing

With the many obstacles we face on a daily basis, it is easy to fall victim to negativity and fear. The level of possible difficulty we may need to face in life knows no limit. Not assuming the worst case scenario can be difficult.

 
There are two major reasons for this. First, it is the job of the left-logic side of the brain to assess all possible outcomes in an effort to prepare us and protect us against what is to come. Secondly, it is a chance for our pain bodies to feed.

 

While watching this process in myself, I noticed that my mind brought several different negative outcomes and inspired fear and dread when I was faced with even simple changes and obstacles. I had to deliberately change the course of things if I wanted to be solution oriented.

 

As people we end up stewing over possible negative outcomes before seeing that the situation is working itself out. For the most part, things work out in the best possible way. Yet we will fall prey to this mechanism almost every time we are faced with change.

 

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Wondering What to do this Holiday Season?

The answer is simple: work on positive perceptions!

Positive perceptions of the mind enhance health by engaging immune functions, while inhibition of immune activities by negative perceptions can precipitate dis-ease. Those negative perceptions can also create debilitating, chronic psychological stress that has a profound and negative impact on gene function.

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How Hobbies Can Improve Mental Health and Mental Fitness

It seems in today’s busy lives we are overwhelmed with never ending responsibilities from work and family. It’s rare that we prioritize time for ourselves to decompress and find an outlet doing something that we enjoy. Setting aside time for fulfilling activities seems more important than ever. In this busy world we live in, we need to take care of ourselves, otherwise, eventually, we won’t be able to manage our other obligations. This is where hobbies come in. Hobbies are a great outlet for improving mental health and decompressing from the day’s chaos. Dedicating time to a hobby can also help you add efficiency to your schedule and structure to your leisure time.

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Saving Someone from Suicide

September is Suicide Prevention Month and it is coming to a close but suicide prevention shouldn’t stop in September.

 

Recently, I watched the Netflix series: 13 Reason’s Why, created by Brian Yorkey and a slew of other talented directors, producers and writers, including Selena Gomez. It was based on the original novel written by Jay Asher about a teenage girl who commits suicide.

 

The series follows each character (high school students) throughout their days, but not in a way that glosses over what teens really face on a daily basis. Instead, it forces the viewer to take a deeper and often uncomfortable look inside what really happens during what can be the most difficult years of our lives. The heavy topic of suicide and the intricate details that lead up to that point of no return were emotionally transpired onto film and while the series received some slack for its graphic depiction, I applaud everyone involved with this project for the rawness and truth that was portrayed.

 

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Body Dysmorphia


In this week’s vlog, I answer a question from a former Boot Camper about body dysmorphia and explain how it relates to your Bright Line Eating journey. 

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Recovery Survivors Share How They Found Healing from Anxiety and Addiction

Those who suffer from severe anxiety will tell you that life can be a constant battle. Chronic anxiety has a way of making even the smallest stresses of everyday life overwhelming.

 

Finding ways to cope with anxiety is often a challenge, and some people turn to drugs and alcohol in an attempt to make life feel more manageable. But substance use can quickly turn into substance abuse, and it can worsen the toll anxiety takes on a person’s life.

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Living with Anxiety

We all have secrets.

I have a closet full of them. One of which is living with anxiety.


But you would never know by glancing my way.

We hide behind layers and layers of ourselves out of fear. Fear of rejection, judgment, and not being accepted for who we truly are. So, day by day we filter out this or that. Contort and twist. Until we look into the mirror and no longer recognize the person staring back.

I'll never forget the first time it happened or any other times that followed.

 

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This Is An Astonishingly Easy, Affordable, and Effective Way to Treat Depression Naturally

Around the world, 350 million people report suffering from depression. And by the year 2020, depression may be the second leading cause of healthy years of life lost (behind only to heart disease). But a new study gives hope to sufferers of this devastating condition.

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Something to Focus On Other Than Your Lips, Eyes and Thighs

I don’t care what you wear or don’t wear. I don’t care about how much you spend on makeup and/or fillers. I don’t care if you’ve had plastic surgery or want to in the future. I don’t care if you’ve been divorced, dropped out of work to raise your kids, or worked like a lunatic your entire life.

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We Need to Talk About Mental Heath and Entrepreneurs

Would it surprise you to learn that entrepreneurs have a higher risk of depression than the general population?

A study by the University of California explored the mental health of entrepreneurs to a comparison group.

What they found was astounding — 49% of entrepreneurs have a mental illness/history compared to 32% of the control group.

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We All Have Mental Health Issues. Here’s Why It’s Okay.

Not too long ago, I was speaking with a friend when he said to me, “You know, every single person — yourself included — has mental health issues.”

At first, I was surprised by his statement. Dare I say that I was even insulted by it. But as I reflected more on what he said, I realized that he was right.

Every single one of us does have mental health issues. Every single one of us has a mind and we all need to think about the health of it.

That’s why I think the conversations that Prince Harry and Prince William ignited this week are so important and groundbreaking.

I love that Prince Harry bravely told the world that grief had wreaked havoc on his life and that it was his brother who encouraged him to get help, which he did. I’m grateful that Prince William also used his platform to talk about how shock, grief and trauma live on in your body and your mind long after a traumatic incident has taken place, leaving you with post-traumatic stress issues and other mental health challenges.

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Is Feeling in Control an Illusion?

Why do we eat certain foods even though we don’t plan to?

How come getting into exercise is easier some days than others?

What makes us feel like our self-improvement efforts are depriving at times while at other times, nourishing us?

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People Pay Lots of Money to Feel This

“Doctor, I feel like I’m dying.”  A lot of people come to the ER with variations of anxiety disorders.  Of course, you might be anxious because you really are dying from something, so we have to keep our eyes open. But more often than not, it’s just the anxiety that has hooked them.
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