Is your need for approval causing you pain?

Another great blog from MindBodyGreen. This struck me for two reasons: 1) I am very interested in Dr. Sarno’s belief that pain (even if there is evidence of structural defect) is likely rooted in emotional issues; and 2) this author says a strong need for approval can force the body into a constant fight or flight response which just happens to be how RSD/CRPS is often described.

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-14185/are-you-desperate-for-approval-why-it-could-be-hurting-your-health.html

” Sociologist Martha Beck says, “Pain is like a life coach in your body. It’s what made me a life coach because I started paying a lot of attention to what made me hurt and what didn’t. It turned out my body was trying to steer me away from a life that was absolutely wrong for me and into a life that was absolutely wonderful.” Approval addicts, no matter what your approval seeking personality type fear that survival = “fitting in.” Fitting in takes many different forms, for some it means not doing anything to rock the boat, for others it means being all things to all people, still others think it means to never ask for help. For me, it meant being the “best” at everything (which by the way is impossible). The bottom line is that when you have an irrational fear that your survival depends on external approval or at the very least not making people mad, bored or annoyed, you see other people as threats. You perceive social interactions as threatening and that sends the body into a near constant state of fight or flight. … There’s a name for this phenomenon. Psychologists call it rejection sensitivity.

In a nutshell, people who experience rejection become more sensitive to it. They’re more likely to interpret an ambiguous social exchange as rejection. It’s a tendency to feel deep anxiety in social situations that develops into a kind of paranoia about rejection. Our bodies are not set up to cope with chronic exposure to this a biochemical response to feelings of rejection and despair. So … this leads to “dis-ease” in the body. “

Meditation to rebuild gray matter in 8 weeks – a Harvard study

This is amazing and, as someone who practices meditation, it makes complete sense to me. We have more control over our physical health than we know.

http://www.feelguide.com/2014/11/19/harvard-unveils-mri-study-proving-meditation-literally-rebuilds-the-brains-gray-matter-in-8-weeks/

The study was led by a Harvard-affiliated team of researchers based at Massachusetts General Hospital, and the team’s MRI scans documented for the very first time in medical history how meditation produced massive changes inside the brain’s gray matter. “Although the practice of meditation is associated with a sense of peacefulness and physical relaxation, practitioners have long claimed that meditation also provides cognitive and psychological benefits that persist throughout the day,” says study senior author Sara Lazar of the MGH Psychiatric Neuroimaging Research Program and a Harvard Medical School instructor in psychology. “This study demonstrates that changes in brain structure may underlie some of these reported improvements and that people are not just feeling better because they are spending time relaxing…the participants spent an average of 27 minutes per day practicing mindfulness exercises, and this is all it took to stimulate a major increase in gray matter density in the hippocampus, the part of the brain associated with self-awareness, compassion, and introspection. McGreevey adds: “Participant-reported reductions in stress also were correlated with decreased gray-matter density in the amygdala, which is known to play an important role in anxiety and stress. None of these changes were seen in the control group, indicating that they had not resulted merely from the passage of time.”

Keep giving thanks. It might be good for your health.

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/11/27/thanksgiving-gratitude.aspx

No wonder it feels so good to be thankful!

“Besides sharing time with family and friends over food, the primary ingredient of the American Thanksgiving holiday is gratitude. While it’s certainly good to have an annual holiday to remind us to express gratitude, there’s much to be said for the benefits of cultivating the spirit of thankfulness year-round... One way to harness the positive power of gratitude is to keep a gratitude journal or list, where you actively write down exactly what you’re grateful for each day. In one study,3, 4 people who kept a gratitude journal reported exercising more, and they had fewer visits to the doctor compared to those who focused on sources of aggravation. As noted in a previous ABC News article,5 studies have shown that gratitude can produce a number of measurable effects on a number of systems in your body, including:

Mood neurotransmitters (serotonin and norepinephrine)
Reproductive hormones (testosterone)
Social bonding hormones (oxytocin)
Cognitive and pleasure related neurotransmitters (dopamine)
Inflammatory and immune systems (cytokines)
Stress hormones (cortisol)
Blood pressure and cardiac and EEG rhythms
Blood sugar

…People feel and express gratitude in multiple ways. They can apply it to the past (retrieving positive memories and being thankful for elements of childhood or past blessings), the present (not taking good fortune for granted as it comes), and the future (maintaining a hopeful and optimistic attitude).

Regardless of the inherent or current level of someone’s gratitude, it’s a quality that individuals can successfully cultivate further.”

mindfulness to improve RA (and other chronic) symptoms

http://news.yahoo.com/mindfulness-program-may-improve-rheumatoid-arthritis-symptoms-182402223.html

“A two-month program combining gentle yoga with meditation techniques, known as Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, seemed to ease tenderness, pain and stiffness among patients with rheumatoid arthritis in a new study. I think these findings are pretty consistent with other studies of mindfulness and chronic conditions,” said Mary Jo Kreitzer, who was not involved in the research… Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is a program developed decades ago at the University of Massachusetts to help seriously ill patients cope with pain, such as from advanced cancer or AIDS. But in recent years that program has been adapted and offered more widely to people seeking relief from pain and stress of many kinds. Mindfulness training involves the cultivation of nonjudgemental attention to unwanted thoughts, feelings and bodily experiences via meditation and may help ameliorate both psychological and physical symptoms of chronic disease,” write the study authors in Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.”