Looking for healing in a migraine

Have you ever had a migraine headache? Rather, I am going to use the language I recently heard and believe: they are more accurately called “migraine attacks.” That sounds so much more fierce and banging difficult that a headache.

At first, I resigned these migraines as normal because they were hereditary. My own brain had made up that story since my mum had them, and I can remember in high school that every time the weather changed, I would get a headache. So, fast forward, it took me until my mid-fifties to realise that there was a such thing as barometric pressure mediated migraines. But no matter – they HURT like nothing I can describe. Once, when I got the visual disturbances called “scintillae,” it cost me my student private pilot license at a class two flight physical.

And I ramble. So, I was at an extremely low point in life in the early half of 2016 and migraines were coming hard and heavy several times a week, and I prayed to the gods Relpax, Maxalt, and Icepacks ceaslessly. Then a funny thing happened in June 2016 – I found Louise L Hay’s book “You Can Heal Your Life,” and also some affirming recordings on YouTube. On a bet, I undertook a 30 day journey to listen to these recordings once a day without variance for a month. Some days I listened twice or thrice a day. And then, it was in October 2016 I suddenly realised: I had not had one single migraine attack since April!

Delighted, I continued my health affirming routine. I did not take my life. I did not succumb to agoraphobia or enveloping depression. I went to the V.A. hospital and got treatment. My family rallied around me and bathed me with love. Life got better and better.

Until last night – I awoke at 02:30 WITH A FLIPPIN’ MIGRAINE!  I found a Maxalt and grabbed an ice pack from the freezer and fell back to sleep in great pain. Fortunately, when I awoke, albeit woozy from the pill, I was pain free. But really – what the heck happened?

At least I remembered the One Great Lesson: Look for the good in tragedy.

I have been off my positivity exercises.

I have been binging on Scandal and Supernatural on Netflix.

I have been complaining about things, most notably the White House enveloped Orange One.

Today was a day I reclaimed the Good.

Listened to Gregorian Change in 432Hz. Discovered a couple of books to read. Wept. Prayed. Smiled.

What if we did that consistently? What if we (and by we, I definitely include myself) looked for the good in hiding places like migraine attacks?

© Lizzie Bennett PhD RN

Lizzie Bthree_moons_medicine-1ennett is a Registered Nurse and Ordained Minister of some years. She is a thought and cognitive therapist and owns Three Moons Medicine™ as her private counseling and coaching practice, a blog, educational forum, Facebook page, and outreach to support others on their journey.

Resources (note: some affiliate links are present):

Three hours of Gregorian Chant on YouTube.

Stuck? Listen…

Feeling “stuck,” and unable to move forward is sometimes accompanied by the emotional sense of being “blocked,” too.

We can experience the feeling that life is on hold somehow, or that ideas have stopped flowing, or even a general hesitation to act or decide because you simply feel unsure or disconnected from Source.

When clients come to my reading table for some Angelic Guidance, or clarification, I am often guided to ask about what ideas or instructions have been received that are being ignored.

Have you had feelings like you should make a phone call, read a book, make a small change somewhere…. and yet ignore this no matter how many times it is repeated?

These small nudges can seem insignificant, and like annoyances, and thus end up ignored. Here’s something we tend to forget: when we are “in the flow,” we get the focused messages do this, then there is another step, and another, and so on.

And often this feeling of stuck-ness is because we are stuck. If we ignore this step, however small or scary, we won’t get the next step. See, we really ARE stuck.  And we can move on, but it takes effort and awareness.

What is it you are called to answer? To which you might need to say yes?

That. That’s your next step.

© Lizzie Bennett PhD RN

Lizzie Bthree_moons_medicine-1ennett is a Registered Nurse and Ordained Minister of some years. She is a thought and cognitive therapist and owns Three Moons Medicine™ as her private counseling and coaching practice, a blog, educational forum, Facebook page, and outreach to support others on their journey.

Compassion Heart Meditation

This is a meditation that was adapted from Thich Nhat Hanh’s loving kindness meditation, found in Teachings on Love (see resources below).

Sitting comfortably, this three part meditation is quite powerful for your own self, any other person you bring to mind, and all living beings.

My personal practice was to record this in my own voice, on my smart phone. The second part of the meditation is one I use for a specific person, whomever I have chosen to visualize at the moment.

I’ll write more about each of the three parts in different posts, but I wanted readers to have the words from the American Holistic Nurses’ Association’s treatment of this meditation so we can use this as a basis for some advanced discussions.

PART ONE

May I be peaceful.

May I be happy.

May I look to myself with the eyes of compassion and love.

May I be safe.

May I be free from accidents.

May I be compassionate with my anger and gentle with my fear.

May I be spacious and compassionate to the depths of my true heart.

May I be whole.

May I be well.

May I be free.

May I be peaceful.

May I be happy.

PART TWO

May you be peaceful.

May you be happy.

May you look to yourself with the eyes of compassion and love.

May you be safe.

May you be free from accidents.

May I be compassionate with my anger and gentle with my fear.

May you be spacious and compassionate to the depths of your true heart.

May you be whole.

May you be well.

May you be free.

May you be peaceful.

May you be happy.

PART THREE

May all beings be peaceful.

May all beings be happy.

May all beings look to themselves with the eyes of compassion and love.

May all beings be safe.

May all beings be free from accidents.

May all beings be compassionate with my anger and gentle with my fear.

May all beings be spacious and compassionate to the depths of my true heart.

May all beings be whole.

May all beings be well.

May all beings be free.

May all beings be peaceful.

May all beings be happy.

 

Resources:

 

 

 

 

© Lizzie Bennett PhD RN

Lizzie Bthree_moons_medicine-1ennett is a Registered Nurse and Ordained Minister of some years. She is a thought and cognitive therapist and owns Three Moons Medicine™ as her private counseling and coaching practice, a blog, educational forum, Facebook page, and outreach to support others on their journey.

Laundry: Detox, Save $, DIY!

Laundry!

It’s a fact of life and one that’s not completely safe or even good for our bodies. Mother Earth Living offers a succinct and alarming chart that outlines a few of the chemicals that are present in laundry products from commercial sources. Some are known carcinogens that we bathe our clothing in, and then put onto our skin. And our skin absorbs many of these.

Even if it doesn’t seem like very much, each little change we make empowers us to take charge over our environments and live a bit more healthfully and safely each decision we make.

My personal choice is to keep things simple, and to keep things as least expensive as possible while avoiding toxins. For my HE washer, the washing mixture consists of:

  • 2 Tablespoons of Dr Bronner’s Organic and Biodegradable Sal Suds, and
  • 1/4 Cup (which is 3 Tablespoons) of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda

For the rinse cycle, I put in 1/4 to 1/2 cup of regular kitchen white vinegar, which I buy by the gallon. Even when I hang clothing to dry, this makes sure they’re as soft as possible, and this seems to keep the fabrics from pilling, too.

And, if I choose to machine dry I also don’t use dryer sheets – some of the worst offenders, chemically speaking. Instead, I use any cotton cloth (like an old wash cloth) and put 2 drops of lavender oil on it and toss it in. I have never had any discoloration with this, but can’t guarantee your experience, of course.

There are many other recipes online for making your own detergents, soaps, and dryer products – and I heartily urge each reader to find what works best for them. If cost is no problem, search out organics products like Charlie’s Laundry Soap.

Resources (click on image below):

 

 

 

 

© Lizzie Bennett RN

Lizzie Bthree_moons_medicine-1ennett is a Registered Nurse and Ordained Minister of some years. She is a thought and cognitive therapist and owns Three Moons Medicine™ as her private counseling and coaching practice, a blog, educational forum, Facebook page, and outreach to support others on their journey.

Think It Over

The first step to your splendid future is to envision it. Then, make it real by telling your story.   Lizzie Bennett PhD

How often you might breathe a little sigh…  a silent wish whispered to the Universe. And yet, how often you might then resign yours place in life to “acceptable,” instead of “this is the BEST EVER!”

Here’s a very plain, simple truth for you, and me, and all of us:

Nobody thinks in our heads but ourselves.

We might have beliefs that don’t serve us, we may not know that trauma experienced in life may hinder the way we see our lives and process thoughts, we may not know. We just are: ignorant. We live by assumptions, and the beliefs that others gave us.

And most of us don’t even know.

It’s easy to daydream and “wish,” and it’s also easy to delve further. How? It starts with you talking. To another compassionate human being. This is called telling your story. Your story defines your beliefs, it highlights assumptions you may not even know, it gets you to state and say what’s going on.

Not therapy.

This is full-on story medicine. And you and your story matter.

© Lizzie Bennett RN

Lizzie Bthree_moons_medicine-1ennett is a Registered Nurse and Ordained Minister of some years. She is a thought and cognitive therapist and owns Three Moons Medicine™ as her private counseling and coaching practice, a blog, educational forum, Facebook page, and outreach to support others on their journey.

Shocking Simple Hair Rescue!

I had heard recently about using baking soda and vinegar for hair care.

Say what? Yeah! I knew about the baking soda + vinegar method for drain cleaning already. Those things are usually available in my bathroom cabinet waiting for this very opportunity, which very seldom arises. But that was about the extent of my adventures with this combo.

When I moved from the Seattle area to Las Vegas for a few months, I experienced what I have to call “horse hair,” that was breaking, falling, out and really worrying me. I tried about 4 different kinds of shampoos both liquid and bar, and finally figured out the stone-hard water there simply would not (nor could it) rinse product out of my hair. I had never even known about water like this before. Add to this the almost non-existence humidity, which fluctuated between 0% to 30% when it rained, and this combination was spelling a quick “bye-bye” to my long, fine, blonde hair.

Queue my next move: out of the desert to San Francisco, the beautiful city by the Bay. Humidity! YAY! Softer water! I thought my adventures in hair stories was done, and to tell the truth, much of the breakage stopped. But still, some of the previously-damaged hair still fell out time to time.

Can you image the shock when I found that two simple ingredients both CLEANSE and SOOTHE my hair?

Not only have I learned to save money – but also time – because now I can go two to three days without washing my hair.

Enter my modified NO – POO status! (I really wanted to try the seductive simplicity of the “NO POO” movement, but with super-fine hair like mine, my previous attempts went about 4 days before I had to wash the oils out. So, I was a no-poo FAIL!)

Here’s the how-to! 

Baking Soda. First of all, I like to find and use baking soda that is just that. Plain and simple, without the addition of aluminum in it “to prevent caking.” That’s what I do, but you can choose whichever you like. (Baking Soda is also Sodium Bicarbonate, or Bicarbonate of Sodium, if you are searching for a brand that doesn’t have additives. See resources at the end)

“SHAMPOO”  The ratio for you to use to “wash” your hair is 1 part baking soda to 3 parts water. However much you need for your own hair – that’s up to you. You can mix it and keep in in a squeeze bottle in your shower (like *ahem* an empty shampoo bottle that you don’t use any more).

Just shake up well, and squeeze onto your wet hair in the shower and work through with your fingers until your scalp is well massaged and your hair has the mixture to the ends. Wait a minute or so and rinse out with warm water.

“RINSE”  You can use apple cider vinegar (ACV) for a great rinse. Grab an empty “conditioner” bottle that you don’t use any more, and mix 1 part of ACV to 3 parts water. If you want to put some fragrant essential oils in, feel free to – but you MUST do your own research to check for toxicity with medications you use, interactions with plastic bottles, or allergies you may have. Essential oils smell great, but be sure to check. I have found that a couple drops of lavender or rosemary works well for me.

To use tilt back your head and distribute this throughout your hair, and massage a bit, then thoroughly rinse. I have heard to use cold water to rinse with, but in the shower, that clearly isn’t happening – and so far, I’ve not had any ill effects from not using cold water.

BLACK HAIR – Through some internet searches, it appears that this combo (or near to it) is great for Black Hair, if it’s not overly dry. Be sure to search for reputable blogs and sources, like blackhair 101 dot com

Feedback?

Did you try this? Do you have any tips or changes that you made that worked well for you? Any recommendations? Let us know, please!

Resources:

 

 

 

 

****NURSE’S SAFETY NOTICE****

Be absolutely sure to KEEP YOUR EYES CLOSED while using products, even natural ones, near your eyes until the vinegar and baking soda are thoroughly rinsed away. Some essential oils are not safe to use around your face – you must learn and use EOs safely.

© Lizzie Bennett RN

Lizzie Bthree_moons_medicine-1ennett is a Registered Nurse and Ordained Minister of some years and owns Three Moons Medicine™ as her private counseling and coaching practice, a blog, educational forum, Facebook page, and outreach to support others on their journey.

Relax! It’s Great to be Self-Centered For This Reason

Seriously. When was the last time you took the time for yourself?

Not as an afterthought.

Without guilt.

Unabashedly.

Planned and intentional.

Saying “no” to everything and everyone else.

For a time.

It’s true, we all hear or read or are aware that it’s important in an ever-changing life environment to have some “me” time, time to enter full and engaging relaxation.

Our doctors tell us “relax more, don’t stress so much.”  But they don’t say how.

Magazine give us idyllic images of feet buried in the sand at an ocean with sunny skies and adult beverages in far-off places. But they want our money.

We have classes and gyms. But we stress over time to get there.

 

I say:

Let’s learn the how.

And the why.

And the skills.

And find what we lost so long ago… mainly peace of mind.

 

Here’s a secret about relaxation: it is both very simple, and yet it is not easy. By learning and practicing a simply and do-able technique, we can individually experience calm and focus on a regular basis, which stills our body-mind-spirit-emotional Selves. Here is the place where we meet the Divine, the stilled space of One-ness.

Medically, we define relaxation in scientific language where the parasympathetic nervous system (think: “para” chute – gentle floating downward) takes the dominant role. This is important because this is where we experience the dissipation of stress, which contributes to an estimated 75% to 80% of all modern stress-related illnesses and conditions.

Florence Nightingale herself emphasized the importance of relaxation for her cadre of nurses. Patients rest was honoured with her instructions to reduce all noise around patients, not awakening them from their first sleep in the hospital unless in absolute necessity, have physicians and friends conduct any conversations away from the resting patient, and even reminding the nurses to mind the noise of the crinoline under their skirted uniforms. She wrote that “all hustle and bustle is peculiarly painful to the sick (Nightingale).”

It is also important to note that relaxation is amazingly connected to a stronger immune system. This branch of study in medicine is called psycho-neuro-immunology.  It’s called “PNI” for short. At the basis, we know that emotions are experienced in the body as neuropeptides that carry emotional messages to the body. It’s not possible to separate emotions (circulating as neuropeptides) from the physical body, and from here, I draw the importance of attending to the emotions of patients and clients.

Recognizing Stress and De-Stress

Many times we don’t even realize that we are stressed. We have become so habituated to a heightened stress response that we might come to think of it as our “normal.” Here are some of the generalized stress responses:

  • Cool extremities (hands and feet)because the blood flow is impeded by blood vessel constriction
  • Muscles tightening
  • Personal energy field becoming constricted
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased oxygen consumption (quicker, shallower breathing)
  • Racing thoughts
  • Increased sweating
  • Elevating blood pressure
  • Anxiety that seems out of place

Conversely, intentional relaxation:

  • Increases peripheral blood flow
  • Decreases heart rate
  • Decreases muscle tension
  • Decreases gastric acidity
  • Reduces sweat gland activity
  • Reduces blood pressure, especially in hypertensive people

A Simple Relaxation Plan: Breathing

We have certain breathing techniques that are well-accepted in practice today. The most common one I know of is the breathing techniques taught to laboring women and their coach or doula. We breathe every moment of life.

When we switch from unaware breathing to conscious breathing patterns, dramatic changes can occur in people with chronic pain, an awareness of body condition, and a feeling of union of the Self with All That Is.

There are basically four elements that are present to relaxation practices (Benson). Those are a quiet place; a mental device; gaining a passive attitude; and a comfortable position.  The “mental device” that is most effective is a single syllable word or sound.

The person relaxing should be free to adopt as passive an attitude as possible, without judging and not forcing any words or the relaxation technique or response.

Additionally, there will be stray thoughts that come to mind. The best technique is to simply ignore them, let them float on by.

Mindful Breathing

Being seated on a chair may be more comfortable than a yoga seated position on the ground – the goal is comfort, not compliance.

  1. To enter into the practice of mindful breathing, the person is invited to sit comfortably in a quiet place. Without controlling the breath, we enter into an observance of the breathing.
  2. With the eyes closed the person simply is aware of the breath. Just breathing and expanding the breath in and out at this time.
  3. Using the chosen single-syllable sound or word, simply breathe the word on the exhale, and in the mind say the word. Some words used are: SHAAAAHHHHHH.   PEACE.  LOVE.    Any word the person desires.
  4. Research shows that 20 minutes daily is ideal, and longer is even better. However, this should not be a barrier at all. Even two minutes is a great start.
  5. If the person does wishes, a device to count the number of breaths can be devised – using a mala, or a string with 25 knots tied into it, beads…. The possibilities are many.

There are many advanced techniques, but I have personally found that a simple breath awareness practice is foundational to many other techniques. In addition, there are advanced breathing techniques, most fully developed in the Pranayama techniques, which are easily found with an internet search.

Resources:

 

 

 

 

References:

Nightingale, F., Notes on Nursing, Commemorative ed. (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Co., 1992), 28.

Benson, H., Beyond The Relaxation Response. (New York: Time Books, 1984).

© Lizzie Bennett RN

Lizzie Bthree_moons_medicine-1ennett is a Registered Nurse and Ordained Minister of some years and owns Three Moons Medicine™ as her private counseling and coaching practice, a blog, educational forum, Facebook page, and outreach to support others on their journey.

 

 

Let’s Unblock Fear of Failure… and Success, too!

Many times we find ourselves fearing that our Dream will die with failure, and hope for the future dies along with that. But there will be failures. That is a fact of life and living. There remains the decision – will we go forward anyway? Will we look for other ways and opportunities?

We can recognize that sometimes roadblocks are a hint that we have veered off our path. We work too hard and meet roadblocks, nothing is “flowing,” and well, we feel stuck. Without even realizing it, thoughts creep in:

  • Why try?
  • Why go for it?
  • Why dream?
  • What’s the point?
  • Why keep trying over and over?
  • Eh, this wouldn’t have worked, anyway.

And yet: That inner push means that something needs to be done. It’s important that we expect the best to happen, and remember that the “how” is up to the Divine.

We each have things at which we excel, and which we love. And we find what they are, right on time. The take-away: we can’t let fear of failure stop us from trying again and yet again. We can always reframe our identity as a Divine Creation, rather than a profession or a goal. It’s much more unrealistic to think of a Divine Creation as a failure compared to a professional designation or a goal.

The very fear of failing can be given enough attention and expectation that the fear becomes the outcome goal, subconciously.  Thus thoughts of failure become a self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts. In congruence with the Law of Attraction, that to which we grant attention, emotion and belief is attracted to us as a reality, created by the Universe for us in response to our thoughts.

When we expect failure, it can blind us to recognizing when success appears. Due to a phenomenon called “Cognitive Dissonance,” we can experience a mismatch when what we expect – even subconsciously – shades what we perceive – even to our detriment of not recognizing successes along the way. Put simply, it’s a mismatch between what we expect and what happens. Another example could also that we recognize the success, but it feels foreign, and we push it away, using the mismatch as a basis for actual fear of success.

Here are some other bases for fears of failure and success:

  • Guilt – if we succeed we don’t deserve it; someone else is deprived if we prosper; or we don’t deserve to succeed in the first place.
  • Shame – based on the belief that we have something wrong with us, and we have a dread or dread of others finding out.
  • Undeservingness – can be from low self esteem, or being told we are worthless.

Remember the identity as a Divine Creation?  This means we were created with the attributes of wholeness, worthiness, and completeness. And then life happens. We can find ourselves resenting others’ successes or what they have – this can create a foot-hold for guilt, which blocks out Joy. We can forgive ourselves for what we have done, or believe we have done. we can know that feeling ashamed and behaving shamefully are two entirely different things, and both can be forgiven of ourselves. When we practice judgemental attitudes or statements, we are projecting our own fears or insecurities on others, and this indicates we may harbor fears unknown.

So, we can see that fear of success is also as limiting as fear of failure. It can stop us from even trying! We might experience fear of success so that don’t try. We might have fear of responsibility, or being known as an authority, or a Public Figure, We may experience distractions like housework, magical thinking, binging on TV shows, over analyzing, feeling a sense of overwhelm… all which serve to keep us stuck instead of working on our goals and dreams.

It helps to focus on the one thing that needs to be done, right now, to move forward; like breaking up a huge project into one bite-size piece at a time. If you are an introvert, maybe you can start by writing that blog post you’ve been thinking about. If you are extrovert, perhaps it’s time to do a Periscope, FB Livestream, or make a presentation locally.

We can all cultivate a partnership with the Divine, and receive guidance and heed that over our own ego-based plans, worries, and fears. It has been a valued experience through human history that in the “letting go” of ego-centric control, we realize that in each moment, we are just fine, and that all is well at a soul level, just on the other side of fear. We can be confident in going forward one step at a time. We can be secure in our knowledge that we do not need the whole plan at once. It’s enough to simply do what’s in front us to do, right now, and move on when the next step presents itself.

Thus, we can recognize self-sabotage for what it is: a well-hidden trap that glitters us with well-contrived intentions and reasoned excuses, but very little chance of action or success. And, it hangs over us like a fog, this doing of nothingness.

But: when we take the steps be congruent with our purpose and our passion, we do not feel contrived or limited – for now we polish our gifts and live our purpose. This is success – not money, status or power: but a realization and joy in doing, service, and living purposefully.

© Lizzie Bennett RN

Lizzie Bthree_moons_medicine-1ennett is a Registered Nurse and Ordained Minister of some years and owns Three Moons Medicine™ as her private counseling and coaching practice, a blog, educational forum, Facebook page, and outreach to support others on their journey.

 

 

 

10 Thinking Mistakes & What You Can Do Right Now

One of the most effective keys to accessing the thought patterns we have hidden away is to become familiar with distorted thought processes, and realize that you have the same patterns as other people. Many times we wonder why we don’t feel as happy or understand things the same way as other people, and unless we move forward to find out why this is, we could get to feeling detached from others and, well: “stuck.” It’s thought that the more rationally we can think, and look at those unexamined beliefs and things we tell ourselves, the more positive an emotional life we have, and we have more positive behavioral experiences, too.

Changes in the way we think is a concept called “Cognitive Behavioral Therapy,” or CBT for short. It assumes that our thought processes might be distorted from many factors, and result in thought patterns that can influence how we see the world around us, and how we view our own selves, too.  Distorted thoughts are common, and often these irrational thoughts can result in unhappy or distorted emotional states and reactions like conflicts in our relationships, anxiety, poor self-esteem, and even depression.

The more we are aware of these thought patterns, the more we are equipped to identify them, disrupt and change unhealthy patterns, and shift our thinking in a more positive direction that can elevate our enjoyment of life and others.

Medical doctor and psychiatrist David Burns wrote a book called “The Feeling Good Handbook,” in 1989. He made a list of the 10 most common “cognitive distortions” available to us so we can self-asses, recognize, and (if we desire) change our thoughts and the way we perceive things. As a registered nurse practitioner of cognitive support therapy, I fully support self-help, but I also support seeking out health care providers (therapists, nurses, physicians, health-care licensed life coaches) who can support you when you feel like you would benefit from talking through things with another person. Sometimes guidance through these times can help a lot.

To use the list extracted from Dr. Burns’ work here, realize you are in the club of being a human, and all of us have some variance in the ways we think and the thoughts we hold – in short, you are not alone! Read through the list and descriptions, and you’ll be able to identify one or some that you find apply to you. These are only patterns of thought, and when we’re aware of patterns that don’t suit us, we can make decisions to change if we like. The table is on the next page for you:

1 All or nothing thinking We see things in black or white categories. If a situation falls short of perfection, we might see a total failure. An example: A man is on a diet and has a spoon of ice cream, and tells himself: “Well, I’ve blown my diet for today,” and then gets so upset that he eats the rest of the ice cream.
2 Overgeneralizing Viewing a single negative event as a never-ending pattern. “That car repair was three times what they said it would be! All car mechanics are dishonest and they always will be. I hate car mechanics.”
3 Mental filtering Picking out a negative detail and dwelling upon it. Often called “awfulizing,” or “catastrophizing,” it can build up to an unlikely conclusion. Here’s an example: “I got a bad grade on my test. I’ll probably have to drop out of college for this. I’ll never have a decent job and will be a loser that can never make it on my own.”
4 Ignoring the positive Rejecting positive experiences, as if they don’t count. “It was nothing,” or even being unable to receive praise: “Oh, you’re just saying that because you have to.”
5 Jumping to conclusions Reading the minds of others, or predicting negative outcomes without evidence. “He went off to bed without saying anything. He’s angry with me for working late again.”
6 Magnification Exaggerating the importance of mistakes or inappropriately minimizing the significance of one’s own assets. “My performance tonight was horrible – I’ll never get the lead part.”
7 Emotional reasoning Assuming that one’s emotions reflect the way things are. “I feel worthless – I must be worthless.”
8 “Should” statements Ineffectively attempting to motivate one’s self with “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts.” “Good employees should ways come to the office early, and be willing to stay late without question.”
9 Labeling Name calling; labeling oneself “a loser” if a mistake is made, for example. Making a leap from one instance to an entire category – like “She’s blonde, what do you expect? They’re airheads.”
10 Personalization Blaming one’s self as the negative cause of a negative event – as in seeing events that happen only in relationship to one’s self: “My kid failed that test. It’s probably all my fault because I have to work.”

Table 1

It’s important to understand that the distortions in thought (cognition) listed on the table are no all-inclusive. As important as the awareness of these thought patterns, is the understanding that each person is entitled to their own thoughts and feelings. We are not looking at what is “right,” or “wrong,” in examining cognitive distortions. Instead, we are assessing whether these processes and patterns are effective or ineffective in our lives.

As we become more aware of the qualities of thoughts and how they affect our development and life experiences, more will be known. However, once you have become familiar with the patterns on this list, you can use this knowledge to change your thinking.

In order to give you a framework to begin looking at thoughts and beliefs in a systematic way, we can use the chart on the following page to identify (the first three columns) and then challenge that thought or belief if we want to by using the fourth column.

 

Challenging Cognitive Distortions

“Cognitive Distortion” is a term from cognitive-behavioral therapy that refers to biased ways of thinking about one’s self and others. Most people experience these to varying degrees. Unfortunately, we can also experience problems in behavioral or emotional states. When we can identify and challenge these “automatic thoughts,” we can experience increased psychological health and wellbeing, and even more rational behavior. To use this journaling tool, be sure to refer to Table 1 for a list of ten common thought distortion patterns.

 

Thoughts

(write out the repetitive thought, or belief that you find)

Feelings

(list any emotions you feel when you think these thoughts)

Cognitive Distortion Patterns

(Write down the pattern you identify from the list, or closest to it. Sometimes there might be more than one)

Alternative Rational Response

(write your thoughts on a more rational response to your distorted thought process)


Reference:
 Burns, David D., MD. 1989. The Feeling Good Handbook. New York: William Morrow and Company

© Lizzie Bennett RN

Lizzie Bthree_moons_medicine-1ennett is a Registered Nurse and Ordained Minister of some years and owns Three Moons Medicine™ as her private counseling and coaching practice, a blog, educational forum, Facebook page, and outreach to support others on their journey.

 

 Click on each image for this Resource:

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Part 3: Why you NEED a Nurse Advocate

Part 3: The Sacredness of You

Part 1 of this series addressed the scope of practice and the skills that independent registered nurses (RNs) bring to conversations and interventions. Part 2 was a look, albeit someone a sterile and clinical one, at the basis of private registered nurse practice – the nursing diagnosis and how it can be a key part to show progress and points along the continuum of exploring one’s personal story and being supported in goals, progress, or the holiness of telling the Story to another Human Being. Now, for the final Part 3, I would introduce the characteristics and necessity of a healing, holistic conversation.

There is a thing called “therapeutic conversation,” which evokes one person in need, and another person attempting to fix or treat that person. To me personally, even in my decades of RN practice, this seemed to be “off,” somehow. Uneven. And yet, it was the norm for practice that focused on the medical establishment providing for, or doing to – rather than – walking with, creating with, and witnessing.

The art and science of this style of conversation means that the nurse is not a diagnostician or trying to fix, but instead – supporting and helping to create a place of discovery. Discovery of power, healing decisions, and helping others to recognize their own transcendent decision-making options.

The skills an RN who practices holistically must develop to create Holistic Communication instead of only Therapeutic Communication include advanced awarenesses. We go beyond defining and prescribing and creating the therapeutic millieu.

The nurse begins by accessing a centeredness and a caring-healing relationship awareness instead of clinical practice. The nurse acknowledges the Infinite, and the Sacred Nature of Being that each person simply is. Heart Centering is a key process in which the nurse connects to being and sets aside concerns and thoughts and instead focuses on love and compassion. (Interestingly, Institute of Heart Math has conducted research that shows this creates a coherence in the electromagnetic energy field and increases IgA and mental clarity!) Grounding is intentional calming of the mind and an inward focus on the flow of energy which provides the nurse and client with self-awareness and connection to the other person. Once grounding is done, an Intention is created which is the human capacity closely related to consciousness and aligns the divine purpose and highest good for this meeting of humans. Once preparation such as this is accomplished, the nurse is willing and able to present him- or herself in a caring, transcendent (heart open, loving) presence to promote a caring-healing interaction.

So, in conclusion, it is through extensive knowledge-gathering, practice, and feedback from peers and mentors that a Holistic Nurse has achieved skills to bring both the best in clinical judgement and in heart-open communication to every conversation. This holistic nurse does not intend to fix or advise, but instead to hear, and through reflective practice, create an awareness of personal power, personal choices, and supported creation of intentions and actions by the individual.

Reference:

R. McCraty and others, The Coherent Heart: Heart-Brain Interactions, Psychophysiological Coherence, and the Emergence of System-Wide Order (Boulder Creek, CA: HeartMath research Center, Institute of HeartMath, 2006.)

© Lizzie Bennett

Lizzie Bthree_moons_medicine-1ennett is a Registered Nurse and Ordained Minister of some years and owns Three Moons Medicine™ as her private counseling and coaching practice, a blog, educational forum, Facebook page, and outreach to support others on their journey.