Tag Archives: amygdala

Catch Up Mondays: Mindfulness – Revisited

This was originally posted on August 6, 2012.  I have passed this book on and wish I had kept it for myself.  I guess I will order myself another copy.

About a year ago I saw Goldie Hawn featured on the Dr. Oz television show.  They were discussing a book she had recently written, “10 Mindful Minutes”.  Goldie Hawn had started the Hawn Foundation to support research into developing ways of helping children become healthy and eager learners who can reach their full potential.  A program developed by her foundation, MindUP is used by educators around the world to teach children how their minds work and how their thoughts and feelings affect their behavior.  It gives them tools to help deal with stress, negative feelings, calm their minds, remain focused and develop compassion and empathy for others to ultimately be happy themselves.  I ordered the book thinking it could be just as helpful for adults like me suffering with environmental illness and the depression and isolation it can cause.

The book arrived and I opened it up eager to start reading.  Just as quickly I put it down because I couldn’t stay focused.  I have learned that for me it is best not to force a book (especially one dealing with health and emotional healing) on myself.  When the time is right, I will pick it up.  All I could manage to read during the time were my mystery novels and biographies,  books that took me away from my life rather than forcing me to deal with it.

One night I was lying in bed too tired to be up, too awake to be sleeping and not wanting to watch a movie.  I attempted to sleep.  As I turned to lay my glasses on the night table, 10 Mindful Minutes was there where I had placed it months before.  I picked up the book and started reading.  I found it difficult to put down.

I learned that I needed to be more present in my life, practice mindful sensing (taste, sight, hearing and touch) and the importance of being positive.  I learned more about the brain and the “fight or flight” signals and how easily we can be hijacked by the amygdala in the brain.

The one thing that I know I need to do but am having a hard time getting started so that it becomes a routine is allowing myself ten mindful minutes where I sit and breathe and there are no other distractions.  It is probably the easiest thing to do but the hardest to discipline myself into doing.  Maybe now that I have said it and put it in writing, I can conquer it.

While the book is written with parents in mind for helping their own children grow and be a happier person, I think it is well worth reading for everyone.

Vets’ PTSD, heart disease risk linked

In yesterday’s newspaper I read an article from the Los Angeles Times taken from research published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.  The article talked about PTSD among veterans.  According to a three-decade-old research project among twins, it was discovered that vets with PTSD were twice as likely to also develop heart disease.

I wonder if the same statistics apply to others suffering from PTSD.  I know many of my fellow environmental illness friends suffer from PTSD.  Who wouldn’t suffer from post traumatic stress at seeing their lives disappear?  Who wouldn’t suffer from post traumatic stress dealing daily with physical illness or exposures or losing their personal belongings because of mold exposure?

Recently I learned more startling news with regard to those serving in the military.  One morning I was sitting in the kitchen eating breakfast with the news on.  It was a human interest type story relating to ALS (commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease).  The host was asking the husband of a woman about her illness and how long she had been diagnosed with the illness.  Surprisingly most people diagnosed with ALS are given a life expectancy of one to five years.  This woman’s amazing journey has last thirteen years, something unheard of by most ALS sufferers.  The host discussed if there was a known cause and the husband said they didn’t really have one.  There was only one FDA approved drug to possibly extend one’s life by 25%.  The most shocking thing I heard was that military veterans were twice as likely to develop ALS as the general public.  My question was why?  What makes those in the military different?  A few things came to my mind.  They often travel around the country and the world.   They are very possibly exposed to more toxic environments than the normal person.  Could chemicals and other toxins be a cause?  I don’t have the answer and apparently no one else does at the present time.  It just seems very strange that being a veteran could double your chances.

Mindfulness

About a year ago I saw Goldie Hawn featured on the Dr. Oz television show.  They were discussing a book she had recently written, “10 Mindful Minutes”.  Goldie Hawn had started the Hawn Foundation to support research into developing ways of helping children become healthy and eager learners who can reach their full potential.  A program developed by her foundation, MindUP is used by educators around the world to teach children how their minds work and how their thoughts and feelings affect their behavior.  It gives them tools to help deal with stress, negative feelings, calm their minds, remain focused and develop compassion and empathy for others to ultimately be happy themselves.  I ordered the book thinking it could be just as helpful for adults like me suffering with environmental illness and the depression and isolation it can cause.

The book arrived and I opened it up eager to start reading.  Just as quickly I put it down because I couldn’t stay focused.  I have learned that for me it is best not to force a book (especially one dealing with health and emotional healing) on myself.  When the time is right, I will pick it up.  All I could manage to read during the time were my mystery novels and biographies,  books that took me away from my life rather than forcing me to deal with it.

One night I was lying in bed too tired to be up, too awake to be sleeping and not wanting to watch a movie.  I attempted to sleep.  As I turned to lay my glasses on the night table, 10 Mindful Minutes was there where I had placed it months before.  I picked up the book and started reading.  I found it difficult to put down.

I learned that I needed to be more present in my life, practice mindful sensing (taste, sight, hearing and touch) and the importance of being positive.  I learned more about the brain and the “fight or flight” signals and how easily we can be hijacked by the amygdala in the brain.

The one thing that I know I need to do but am having a hard time getting started so that it becomes a routine is allowing myself ten mindful minutes where I sit and breathe and there are no other distractions.  It is probably the easiest thing to do but the hardest to discipline myself into doing.  Maybe now that I have said it and put it in writing, I can conquer it.

While the book is written with parents in mind for helping their own children grow and be a happier person, I think it is well worth reading for everyone.