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Chronic Illness Q&A with Dr. B.

Dr. Larry Berkelhammer

Dr. Larry Berkelhammer

The purpose of this blog and the entire website is to provide evidence-based information on how to live with self-care mastery. It is for all medical patients, caregivers, and advocates who want to learn how to collaborate with physicians to optimize health. It is also for those living with a debilitating medical condition who want to learn about the power of the mind to effect physiological changes, including ideas and practices that allow the mind to be the catalyst for healing.

I post to this blog three times per week. Monday posts are relevant published articles. Wednesday posts are videos of webinars or interviews. Friday posts consist of questions about living better with chronic health challenges, and my answers to them.

Here is this week’s question:

THIS WEEK’S QUESTION:  How does simply asking the question: What am I practicing, eliminate unwanted thoughts and feelings? 

ANSWER:   Here is how it works:

The reason this simple mind training practice works is because all that is needed is the awareness itself. In other words, once you are fully aware that you are practicing and reinforcing unwanted thoughts and behaviors, you then have the choice to do something different. That choice is not available as a possibility until you are able to become aware of your thoughts and feelings.

Here is an example from my own life. I have often awakened feeling a little depressed. Once I become aware of the feeling, I immediately tune in to my thoughts. It then becomes clear to me that the depressed feelings are associated with unhealthy thoughts of the type that create depressed feelings. At the moment I have that awareness, I immediately am then able to choose to put my mind elsewhere.  I cannot change my mind until I become aware of my mind. But the awareness of my thoughts and feelings allows me to choose to engage in different thinking and behavior.

Although this practice is simple, it does require an a priori awareness of thoughts and feelings, and it also requires enormous commitment to live with intentionality and mindfulness. However, simple versions of mindfulness practices are explored in my book In Your Own Hands: New Hope for People with Chronic Medical Conditions.

This website is offered as a free public service, supplying information that has been found helpful to certain people living with chronic health challenges. No treatment is offered on this website. The advice is general, and may or may not apply to your individual situation, and is not a substitute for psychotherapy or medical treatment.

What questions do you have about how to live better with chronic health challenges that are related to the relationship between states of mind and health?

Just scroll down and type your question in the comment box below. I will post a reply to your comment, but your specific question may not appear in this column. When I get a certain number of related questions, I pick one that covers them all and I answer that one.

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